Llanelli kicked off with the elements and despite the very poor weather and under-foot conditions both sides tried too and played good, attractive rugby.
Llanelli must have been hoping to build up a good half –time lead with the strong wind on their backs. However, good defence and finishing saw the home team score two good converted tries, while the SWALEC Cup holders were only able to muster a penalty from outside half Owen Williams.
Down 14 -3 at half-time, the first score of the second half was going to be important and after a minute of the restart Tonmawr scored again with an excellent converted try to the delight of the home crowd.
Behind 19 -3 and against the weather and the fast deteriorating Whitworth pitch, there looked no way back. This was then seemed to be confirmed on 52 minutes ,when wing Ryan Bayliss had to be replaced by prop Rhys Thomas.
Rhys obviously had other ideas and in the 65th he remarkably cut the ‘Ton’ defence with a beautiful angled try. It was truly a fine effortwhich any ‘winger’ would have been proud of, to cut the deficit to 19 – 8.
Unfortunately, that was as close as it got for Llanelli and when Aled Hopkins went off with a shoulder injury, the try scoring, prop come-winger Thomas, then had to move up into his more customary role of the front row. Ironically the left wing spot then had to be filled for the last 10 minutes of the game by debutant hooker Ryan Williams.
Tonmawr finished strongly and wrapped things up with another two tries for a deserved cup win.
Referee Gwyn Morris must be commended for his contribution to the quality of the game , in a testing game for him minus the usual help of two assistant referees.
Head of Rugby Anthony Buchanan congratulated Tonmawr on their Cup triumph wishing them the best of luck in the next round. He also said “I was proud of our team in the difficult conditions and the surrounding circumstances. I and many others felt passionately, that the integrity of the game of rugby and its good relationships with the Sponsors was paramount to this match being decided on the field. He also added “Tonight, Sportsmanship not gamesmanship was the winner”
Tonmawr 31 – 8 Llanelli