06 January 2019 / Team News

No Cup run for Emlyn


This was a game of two completely contrasting styles of play with East meeting West in this WRU Cup match. Bargoed arrived at Emlyn with a massive, heavy pack of forwards and played to their strength up front as they pounded away at the home side throughout the match, relying on the boot of outside half Josh Prosser to put them into attacking situations close to the home line. Emlyn on the other hand with Teifion and Dan Davies back in their three quarter line looked to move the ball wide as often as possible to run the Bargoed forwards across the wide expanses of Dol Wiber. It made for an entertaining game and the half time score of 21-22 to the visitors showed what a close contest it was. Indeed if the red and whites had just been able to convert to glorious opportunities in the second half the scoreline would have been a lot closer.

It was the visitors who started the game positively and opened the scoring with a penalty kick from Prosser, after some two minutes. From the restart the boot of Prosser placed them back in the Emlyn twenty two metre area but it was the home side who responded to the challenge and scored first. Centre Andrew Owens made a lovely break from inside his own twenty two, linked with the ever supporting scrum half Mike Jones. The visitors managed to halt the attack on their twenty two and the Emlyn forwards quickly re-cycled the ball through a couple of phases and it was Jones who spotted a gap close to the ruck to dart through and score under the posts for full back Shaun Leonard to convert.

Inspired by this score and in near perfect conditions for running the ball Emlyn increased their lead a few minutes later. Their number eight Gareth Thomson, who had an excellent match, broke through the Bargoed defence and linked with outside half Siôn Edwards. Showing great awareness Edwards passed the ball back inside to the supporting second row Haydn Baldwin who charged over for a try under the posts converted by Leonard.

Bargoed have not been one of the leading clubs in Wales for a number of seasons not to respond to the challenge Emlyn had thrown down. When the red and whites were penalised for offside at a ruck they immediately opted for the kick to touch five metres out. With their pack outweighing the Emlyn eight by probably three stones a man the outcome was obvious and the catch and then drive score was attributed to hooker Lewys Lippiett.

Undaunted Emlyn’s reply came quickly and had the large crowd on their feet cheering an excellent score. From a scrum on the Bargoed ten metre line a perfectly executed backs move saw blind side winger Dan Davies enter the line, break through the Bargoed defence and time his pass to his fellow winger Llyr Jones perfectly. The flying winger is in a rich vein of form and need no second invitation to outstrip the defence to cross in the corner for a try superbly converted from the touchline by Leonard. A feature of the game was the excellent kicking out hand by Leonard who continually relieved the pressure on the home line with some siege gun relieving kicks.

Emlyn proved to be their own worst enemies as time and again referee Jason Morris penalised them allowing Bargoed to kick for touch and pressurise them Emlyn line. There was an inevitability about proceedings as it was only a matter of time before Bargoed closed the gap on the home side. Hooker Lippiett crossed for his second try of the game converted by Prosser. They took the lead on the half hour mark and it followed a similar pattern to the other two scores. The only difference this time was that Emlyn managed to halt the first two drives but Bargoed centre Darren Humphries latched on to the third one and crossed for a try converted by Prosser to give them a one point lead.

Emlyn retaliated and worked their way up field and were awarded a line out some five metres out from the Bargoed line. The home forwards set up what looked to be a perfect catch and were driving purposefully towards the visitors line when the maul was collapsed just short of the line. Referee Morris penalised Bargoed and yellow carded flanker Rogers for collapsing a maul. But yet again, for the second consecutive game the man with the whistle did not think the offence merited a penalty try !!

The second half saw the visiting forwards controlling possession and territory and Emlyn were forced to defend for long periods of the half. To their credit they managed to hold Bargoed at bay until the twentieth minute when Bargoed winger Ashley Norton crossed for a try converted by Prosser. Opportunities for Emlyn were few and far between as the visitors tightened up their defence but Emlyn did have two glorious chances to score. The best one came from a scrum when the ball was moved wide to outside centre Teifion Davies. Davies looked to be back to his best form, reminiscent of his play a couple of seasons ago, and he drifted past his opposite number on the outside took play into the Bargoed twenty two, unfortunately his inside pass to a number of supporting players was missed by them all, allowing Bargoed to counter attack and take play back up to the Emlyn twenty two in an exhausting passage of play by both sides.

The other chance again came courtesy of a break by the forwards and some fine passing out of contact took play into the twenty two where the ball was moved out to the wing. Unfortunately for Emlyn it was hard working second row Haydn Baldwin who found himself in the wing position, instead of backing his pace to outstrip defenders Baldwin cut back inside and ran into one of the Emlyn supporting runners, the referee ruling it accidental off side and awarding a scrum to Bargoed.

Bargoed extended their lead near the end when replacement centre Jordan Howell crossed for their fifth try converted by Prosser to make the final score look flattering for the visitors. For the home side there were some excellent performances by number eight Thomson, flankers Luke Hansford and Osian Davies, alongside second row Haydn Baldwin and man of the match Teifion Davies, creating some pleasant selection problems for the crucial home game this coming week against Ystard Rhondda.

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