Neath finally secured their first victory of the Premiership season at their 21st attempt convincingly dispatching a sorry Llanelli side at The Gnoll, writes Declan Terry.
It was a strong start from Llanelli who came out of the blocks quickly, and after just a minute they were in front when centre Nathan Edwards broke the line, and squared up flanker Nathan Hart, who finished calmly under the posts. Billy McBryde then added the conversion..
Ten minutes later, Llanelli were pressing the hosts, and after a ruck on Neath’s five metre line, flanker Greg George found a gap on the blindside and touched down. However, this time, McBryde failed to add the extras..
Neath raced back into the game though, when scrum-half Chris Morgans dazzled his way through the visitors’ defence to find an opening and cross the whitewash, with Luke Price converting.
The home side levelled proceedings after 24 minutes following a strong line-out maul in Llanelli’s 22. Hooker Sion Crocker touched down, although fly-half Price missed the kick and the scores were level at 14-14.
Llanelli centre Jonny Lewis was sin-binned after a high tackle, and shortly afterwards Neath’s first try-scorer Morgans was also shown a yellow card, meaning that for the rest of the first-half both sides had 14 men.
With just three minutes of the second-half played, Neath put themselves ahead when No.8 Steffan Jones crossed the line. And then, to add to Gareth Llewellyn’s delight, Neath bagged themselves a bonus point when full-back Ed Howley collected a clever dink from Iwan Evans to secure the home side’s fourth try.
The away side were down to 14 men again when captain Lewis was shown a second yellow card but nevetheless LLanelli hit back when scrum-half Justin James wriggled through Neath’s defence to touch down under the posts, McBryde converted.
However, David Flanagan’s side were pegged back once again when Neath wing Josh Jones excellently broke away and finished with aplomb after 61 minutes, and Price struck the kick over the posts.
Neath then sealed their win when Howley crossed for his second try of the game in the last play, with price missing the kick.
Neath - Tries: C Morgans, S Crocker, S Jones, E Howley (2), J Jones. Con: L Price (3) .
Llanelli – N Hart, G George, J James Con: B McBryde (2)