CARMARTHEN QUINS 39 NEATH 17
“Inappropriate” has been the buzz word in Westminster this week and and it could be applied to Neath’s encounter at Carmarthen Park where their woes deepened against a superior Carmarthen Quins side who gained ample revenge for their defeat at The Gnoll back in September.
Quins were stronger from the outset and dominated the first-half and, after outside-half Steffan Marshall opened their account with a penalty, Neath’s over-worked defence with Dewi Lake impressing on debut, did well to restrict them to just two tries by prop Javan Sebastien and lock Shaun Jones.
Neath lifted the siege and hit back when lock Jon Barley galloped away from a line-out on a 30 metre run which was halted illegally. The Blacks retained possession from the subsequent penalty award and, after several surges towards the Quins’ line, Barley was rewarded with the touchdown for his first try for the club and Geraint Llewellyn’s conversion brought it back to 7-13.
The visitors enjoyed a good spell of play up until half-time, keeping the ball through good phase play only to have it stripped from their possession deep into injury-time and Quins struck clinically for a try by centre Nick Reynolds which Marshall goaled to make it 20-7 and forcing the coaches into a hasty revision of their team-talk.
Neath started the second-half on the defensive but they weathered the storm and a quick line-out feed from Rhys Jones saw centre Matthew Pearce power right through in midfield and his offload to Richard Smith saw the latter finish strongly for Neath’s second try to make it 12-20.
Neath were in with a fight but they suffered a blow when a somewhat bemused Sion Crocker was yellow-carded for what seemed an orthodox tackle and then it all went most “inappropriate” as almost immediately Richard Smith saw red.
Quins sensed their chance and winger Morgan Griffiths, shown the outside, obliged with their fourth try and flanker Ellis Lloyd added a fifth which Marshall converted to advance the score to 12-32.
Even down to 13 men, Neath never gave up and, after replacements Alec Jenkins and Iwan Evans had gone desperately close, they were rewarded with a third try by prop Ben Uphill -his first for the club.
The conversion was missed and from the kick off Quins’ former Neath wing Dale Ford collected the ball and strolled over for another try which Jack Wilson converted to set seal on their victory.
NEATH – G.Llewellyn; J.Roberts (A.Jenkins), R.Smith, M.Pearce (I.Evans), M.Evans; G.Evans (capt), C.Morgans (S.Gibson); L.Tobias (B.Uphill), S.Crocker (S.Hicks), R.Thomas (G.James); R.Jones (M.Davies), J.Barley; R.Bean (E.Hopkins) L.Ward, D.Lake
CARMARTHEN QUINS – G.Thomas; D.Ford, N.Reynolds, S.Lloyd (J.Price), M.Griffiths; S.Marshall (J.Wilson), A.Hemmings (I.Beynon-Thomas)’ S.Thomas (G.Robinson), R.Clancy (T.Myhill), J.Sebastien (C.Allen); S.Jones, J.Helps (L.Minchin); S.Evans (capt), L.Reynolds, E.Lloyd (L.Millyn)
Referee – Mr. S.Mills (Llanelli)
Injury-hit Neath travel to Carmarthen Quins in the Premiership with an early kick off (12.30pm) due to fireworks at Carmarthen Park.
Neath make a raft of changes – in the front row, hooker Sion Crocker will be propped by Liam Tobias and Ryan Thomas while Rhys Jones returns in the second row, and Ryan Bean and Dewi Lake come into the back row.
Behind the scrum, Chris Morgans returns at scrum-half and Richard Smith at centre while Geraint Llewellyn is at full back.
Neath coach Gareth Llewellyn said, “Our planning went out of the window last week when we lost a player before kick-off and then another three inside the first 25 minutes – the squad have been avoiding walking under ladders this week.
“Injuries aside, we have not been making things easy for ourselves either. We need to carry our disciplines on to the field then our luck will change.
“Silly things have been costing us dear but when we put things together we are playing some good rugby and scoring tries.”
Neath v Carmarthen Quins (Away)
15 Geraint Llewellyn; 14 James Roberts, 13 Richard Smith, 12 Matthew Pearce, 11 Mike Evans; 10 Gavin Evans (captain), 9 Chris Morgans; 1 Liam Tobias, 2 Sion Crocker, 3 Ryan Thomas; 4 Rhys Jones, 5 Jon Barley; 6 Ryan Bean, 8 Leon Ward, 7 Dewi Lake
Replacements :- 16 Ben Uphill, 17 Geraint James, 18 Matthew Davies, 19 Scott Hicks, 20 Elis Hopkins, 21 Scott Gibson, 22 Iwan Evans, 23 Alec Jenkins