Newcastle Emlyn 0 Trebanos 14

Saturday 13th January 2018

WRU National Championship

Defensive Tussle Yields Hard Fought Win

Newcastle Emlyn v TrebanosThis was Trebanos's third consecutive "road game", the ninth Championship fixture away from home of the fourteen played to date. So, fuelled by another eggs-cellent pre-match breakfast at the clubhouse, served to the hungry faithful by Cath, Ceri, Jamie and Nia, the players and supporters loaded onto the buses for the trip to Dôl Wiber, the impressive home of Newcastle Emlyn where, as always, a warm welcome awaited.

With a number of back row players injured or unavailable, Trebanos brought in young Rhydian George as flanker, on permit from Mumbles, and he impressed in his first ever start for the Ancient Borough. In the continuing absence of Rhys "Twm" Thomas, Trebanos were again captained by Sean Hopkins, who won the toss and chose to play into a strong wind, and persistent rain, in the first half. Newcastle Emlyn kicked off playing towards the clubhouse and the early play was confined to the area between the two 22s as both sides got to grips with the conditions, and each other.

The home side showed that they were prepared to attack from anywhere despite the difficult conditions when, after a quarter of an hour, Trebanos lost the ball following a scrum on the Emlyn 22 yd line that triggered a breakout from Emlyn with an overlap. The play advanced to the 'Banos 10 yd line before a good tackle by skipper Sean Hopkins put a stop to the breakout. Some terrific counter-rucking at the subsequent ruck earned Trebanos a penalty, which they they kicked to touch in the Emlyn 22.

A nice break by 'Banos centre Lloyd Phillips threatened to unlock the home side's defence when the ball was shipped on to Matthew Edwards and Sam Davies but the pass back inside to Matthew went loose in the Emlyn 22 and the home side were able to clear to touch. Trebanos were awarded a penalty at the lineout which they used to re-apply the pressure on Emlyn by again kicking to the corner, deep in the Emlyn 22. Again 'Banos won ball at the lineout and, with the benefit of a 20 yard in-goal area, outside half Lewis Humphries chipped ahead for wing Kieron Weightman to contest in the air but the Emlyn full back got to the ball first, called for a mark and cleared to touch.

Newcastle Emvlyn v TrebanosTrebanos won another penalty at the lineout and this became a feature of the first half, with the home side defending well but conceding penalties while doing so. Inevitably, referee Mr. Brace eventually lost patience with Emlyn and when home centre Llyr Jones (13) was caught offside in midfield, he was sent to the sin bin for ten minutes, perhaps unfortunate to be the one to pay the price for the rash of earlier offences. Once again 'Banos kicked for the corner. Sean Hopkins won the lineout and the drive came on. Emlyn managed to stop the initial surge but, from a subsequent ruck, scrum half Morgan Evans squeezed through a narrow gap in the defence to score the game's opening try on the half hour mark. Matthew Edwards added the conversion to give Trebanos a deserved 7 - 0 lead.

Newcastle Emlyn v TrebanosEmlyn put pressure on 'Banos from the restart and 'Banos were penalised for sealing off at a ruck. Emlyn chose to kick for goal but the difficult kick, 30 yards out and 5 yards in from the right hand touchline, went to the left of the posts.

Emlyn were awarded a scrum on their own 10 yd line when Morgan Evans was harshly adjudged to have knocked on. Trebanos had had the better of the scrums in the first half; powered by the second row pairing of Rhys Morgan, having another excellent game, and the fast improving Ed Couzens in the engine room, the front row of big loose head Tyler Murvai, hooker Chris Foreshaw (seemingly unaffected by the long trek from Bangor Uni) and tight head Neil Elworthy, relishing the experience of facing his old club, clearly held the upper hand and once again the 'Banos pack put pressure on the Emlyn scrum resulting in untidy ball for their scrum half. The home side tried to move the ball left but 'Banos wing Sam Davies showed his poacher's instinct once again to intercept a pass and run in for a try to the right of the posts. Matthew Edwards knocked over the conversion and referee Mr. Brace blew for half time with Trebanos leading 14 - 0.

Half Time: Newcastle Emlyn 0 Trebanos 14

With the wind now at their backs, Trebanos kicked off the second half and Matthew Edwards' restart was a beauty that found touch about 10 yards from the Emlyn try line. Bryn Jones stole the lineout and 'Banos enjoyed a period of pressure within the 22 that only ended when the visitors were penalised and the home side lifted the siege. The ground was heavy underfoot when the game kicked off and it worsened as the game went on, due to the persistent rain. Newcastle Emlyn v TrebanosPlaying into the strong wind meant that Emlyn struggled to escape from their own half and on the rare occasion when they threatened to do so, they either lost possession or were turned over by 'Banos and soon found themselves back in their own 22. To their credit, Trebanos played smart rugby in the second half and made good use of the wind to keep Emlyn pegged back deep inside their own half for most of the second half.

Trebanos changed their props midway through the second half with the experienced Aled Humphries and Alun Dew replacing Tyler Murvai and Neil Elworthy, who'd both put in an impressive shift and given their all.

Trebanos had a chance to stretch their lead when they were awarded a penalty on their own 10yd line and elected to go for goal but, for once and most likely due to it being heavy underfoot, Matthew Edwards didn't strike the kick cleanly and, although on target, it fell short.

Newcastle Emlyn v TrebanosAs the game entered the final quarter of an hour, Declan Bale replaced the injured Bryn Jones and Tom Lucas came on for Morgan Evans. Emlyn threw everything at Trebanos in the final ten minutes as they went in search of a losing bonus point and, aided by a succession of penalties, the home side were able to establish a foothold in the 'Banos 25 for, pretty much, the first time in the second half. 'Banos showed their defensive mettle with centres Lloyd Phillips and Steff Lewis' leading the defensive line with their robust tackling. Trebanos wing Kieron Weightman was the unfortunate one to pay for the many penalties conceded by visitors at the end of the game, being binned for killing the ball at a ruck. However, even down to 14 men, 'Banos were determined to prevent the home side from crossing their line and another superb defensive effort was rewarded when Mr. Brace blew for full time, with Trebanos the deserved victors by 14 - 0.

Full Time: Newcastle Emlyn 0 Trebanos 14

  Trebanos RFC
Matthew Edwards
Sam Davies
Lloyd Phillips
Steffan Lewis
Kieron Weightman
Lewis Humphries
Morgan Evans
Tyler Murvai
Chris Foreshaw
Neil Elworthy
Rhys Morgan
Ed Couzens
Rhydian George
Sean Hopkins (Capt.)
Bryn Jones
Connor Walters
Aled Humphries (repl. Tyler Murvai, 60 mins)
Alun Dew (repl. Neil Elworthy, 60 mins)
Declan Bale (repl. Bryn Jones, 55 mins)
Tom Lucas (repl. Morgan Evans, 69 mins)
Cellan Jones
Referee: Mr. Richard Brace, Maesteg.

Today's other WRU National Championship Results:

Cardiff Met 55 Glynneath 24
Pontypool 44 Bedlinog 10
Rhydyfelin 32 Narberth 21
Skewen 0 Beddau 7
Tata Steel 28 Newbridge 21