Above 'flyer' Justin James who got Llanelli's wining try in the 7th minute of injury time.
By Tony Poole
At Parc y Scarlets
LLANELLI left it until final play to claim victory over Neath at a wet Parc y Scarlets.
In fact it was seven minutes into time added on when wing Justin James pounced on a loose ball over the try-line to claim the winning try.
The Blacks were in control of a ruck close to halfway when the ball squirted out – and Llanelli hoofed it on.
And with Neath defenders having to turn, wing James – who is more at home at scrum-half - won the foot chase to send Llanelli fans home happy.
Fly-half Owen Williams, who controlled things well for Llanelli along with full-back Liam Williams, rounded things off with a magnificent touchline conversion.
The four-point return lifted Llanelli into third spot – nine points behind table-topping Pontypridd with a game in hand.
But considering the bulk of the normal Llanelli side had been promoted to Scarlets duty the day before at London Irish in the LV= Cup, things could be placed in prospective.
It resulted not only in a stunning win at London Irish, but the younger members of the Scarlets Academy then performed admirably against a more streetwise Neath team to win the day.
The collective efforts of the forwards under commander-in-chief Craig Hawkins bordered on the heroic – and took the Blacks by surprise.
They made life difficult for the Blacks at the set pieces to set up a victory that was on a par with 15-13 win at Munster last month in the British & Irish Cup.
However, up until the late show from wing man James, defences had generally been on top, as both sides made valiant attempts to move the ball in wet conditions.
Two early penalties from Neath fly-half James Thomas were answered by opposite number Owen Williams by the midpoint of the half.
Neath pressure then led to fly-half Thomas being first to complete a penalty hat-trick on 27 minutes.
But with international referee Nigel Owens awarding Llanelli a succession of penalties, eventually from final play fly-half Williams delivered another penalty, making it 9-9 at the break.
Little changed on the restart with both packs going at it hammer and tongs, but with little to show for their efforts.
The Blacks held territorial advantage and eventually made it count in the 57th minute when fly-half Thomas landed a fourth penalty.
But a minute later Neath had lock Euros Evans binned for slowing the ball down, resulting in Llanelli pressing for a score.
And it unfolded in the 64th minute when Llanelli fly-half Williams knocked over an equalising penalty.
During the closing stages both sides pressed for a winning score, leading into the late drama from final play.
LLANELLI: Try – J James; Con: O Williams; Pens: O Williams (4)
Team: L Williams; L Morgan (R Bayliss 80+2 mins), I Evans, J Lewis, J James; O Williams, G Davies (A Davies 71); R Jones, C Hawkins (capt) (R Lawrence 66), A Hopkins (S Gardiner 71), Allan Powell (S Miller h/t), Adam Powell, D Eager, M Gilbert, N Cudd (S Miles 69)
NEATH: Pens – J Thomas (4)
Team: G King (S Thomas 23); K James, A Bramwell, L Ford, C Morgans; J Thomas, T James; N Downs (A V Lott 40-43, 79-89), A Littlehales (G Price 57), R Davies, P Sidoli (M Collins 79), E Evans, G Gravell (capt), A Powell (L Evans 69), A Whitney (E Uzoigwe 64)
REFEREE: Nigel Owens (Pontyberem)
YELLOW CARD: E Evans (Neath) 58
STAR CHOICES: Owen Williams (Llanelli), Chris Morgans (Neath)