MATCH REPORT: (11/11/2015) LLANELLI 14 NEATH 8

Change of competition but, alas for Neath, no change of fortune.

Both sides were well below strength but Neath, even with no fewer than 19 players unavailable for various reasons, still managed to field the more established-looking line-up.

Neath introduced the Glynneath Youth pairing of James Roberts and Will Thomas and both did well as did two others from the Neath Valley club Steff Stone and James Parry.

Parc-y-Scarlets has not been a particularly happy hunting-ground for the Blacks and their hopes suffered an early blow with the loss of full back Aaron Bramwell to a groin strain after 3 minutes.

On the half hour they lost prop Owen Jordan but by then the damage had been done as Llanelli were leading 14-nil courtesy of two tries – the first by winger Elliot Dawe fashioned by a smart break by full back Ryan Davies; the second, a charge-down effort by flanker Tristan Lloyd.

Outside-half Gareth Walters converted the first and the home side were on top and, despite a lively performance by hooker Ieuan Dobbs and a couple of breaks by centre Cameron Morris, Neath showed a frustrating ability to get themselves into attacking positions only to lose the ball.

Llanelli dominated the opening exchanges of the second-half when Neath – the two Joneses and Parry working hard, defended bravely but they suffered a further blow when replacement hooker Aled Morris had to be replaced within minutes of coming on as he suffered a serious-looking shoulder injury.

Neath kept battling and were rewarded right on time when Ian Ellis ran the ball from just outside his 22, beat man after man on a weaving run and finally linked with centre Dean Howell who slithered over under the posts for a try which outside-half Iwan Evans converted.

 * In the other Pool ‘A’ game Llandovery drew 22-22 with Carmarthen Quins.