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Neath RFC

At the end of a mad week in which the WRU turned down Neath’s bid for EDC status a second time, the Welsh All Blacks lost their final home game of the season against the North Wales region who did not need to apply for a place in the new regional reserve set-up.

A 2,000 crowd watched Neath’s end-of-season party, James Roberts celebrating his 100th appearance, but it was RGC who did the celebrating as the Blacks struggled to get going, turning over possession in attack and kicking loosely in defence.

RGC were eager to seize upon such gifts and they built a 22-nil through tries by scrum-half Tom Ellis, wing Sam Stoddard and No.8 Sam Williams, fullback Sam Earl-Jones converting two to go with his early penalty.

Neath hit back just before half-time when hard-working No.8 Ben Williams flashed through for a try which full back Steff Williams converted and it was 7-22 at the interval.

The Blacks improved in the second-half but the error count remained too high and RGC were content to extend their lead through a second penalty by Earl-Jones and  a dropped goal by outside-half Dion Jones.

Midway through the second-half acting-captain Sion Crocker bade an emotional farewell to The Gnoll – he is retiring after a magnificent 226 games and 39 tries.

Neath had not given up the ghost and scrum-half Gruff Williams nipped over for their second try, Steff Williams converting to make it 14-28 but, with the final play of the game, RGC replacement Jordan Liney crossed for their bonus-point try which Earl-Jones converted.

All told, it was a disappointing end to Neath’s home fixtures but the Blacks have one more chance to finish in style when they visit Carmarthen Quins on Saturday.


NEATH – S.Williams; J.Roberts, S.Wilcox, K.Charles (J.Bayliss), R.Griffiths; K.Jones (I.Morgan), G.Williams (B.Wood); J.Powell (M.Thomas), S.Crocker (capt) (C.Morris), E.Hopkins (B.Uphill); M.Davies, I.Jones (T.Morgan); J.Blackmore, B.Williams, G.Tremlett (F.Kneath)

RGC – S.Earl-Jones; R.Tudor, H.Hughes, A.Bagshaw (capt), S.Stoddard; D.Jones, T.Ellis; J.Williams, R.King, P.Jones; W.McQueeney, I.Evans; T.Taylor, S.Williams, C.Probert Replacements J.Liney.  G.Parry, P.Nelson, J.Davies, J.Tomlinson, T.Jones,  C.Jones, C.Parry

Referee – Mr. G.Newman (Abergavenny)

Images courtesy of Len Kowalski