After an encouraging first-half, Neath were well beaten by Carmarthen Quins in the Foster’s Cup.
Quins started strongly and rattled into a 16-nil lead through tries by Roy Osbourne and Haydn Pugh, outside-half Craig Evans converting both. But Neath, playing into a strong wind, gradually got going through their superior scrum and, forcing Quins onto the defensive they hit back with tries by flanker Leon Ward and acting-captain Jonny Griffiths, scrum-half Rhodri Cole marking his comeback after a long lay-off through injury by converting the first.
At 14-16 there was little in it but slack tackling allowed Quins in for a try by Shaun Evans converted by Evans which extended their lead to 24-14 but, with wind advantage to come, Neath were by no means out of it.
But the second half was mostly Quins as Neath’s effort faded. Pool leaders Quins fielded a well-proven back division that always looked dangerous while up front the experience of former full-timers Nathan Williams and Shaun Jones and ex-Neath pair Haydn Pugh and Rhodri Clancy held them in good stead while hooker Ifan Phillips (watched by his father Kevin) graced The Gnoll for the first time and fully looked the part.
Neath were well served throughout by their back rowers where Calum Davies excelled at No.8 while new prop Ben Uphill caused Quins some inconvenience and hooker Aled Morris was always in the thick of things. Neath’s back-line did not have as many opportunities to shine but the centre partnership of Cameron Morris and Keiran Williams looks promising.
Neath failed to score with the wind but Quins added two more tries – and good ones they were too credited to Ian Jones and Dylan Morgans. The always accomplished Craig Evans converted both to put Quins firmly in charge of the group.