Report by Helen Davies
It was a game of two halves as Llanelli began their Indigo Group Premiership League campaign against local rivals, Carmarthen Quins.
Despite a strong first half from Llanelli, three tries in the space of seven minutes in the second half saw Quins secure a bonus-point win over their closest rivals.
Llanelli couldn’t have asked for a better start with Wing, Liam Hutchings breaking into the Quins’ twenty-two. Despite being hauled down, the visitors recycled the ball well with Hutchings squeezing over in the corner for the first try with barely a couple of minutes on the clock. Ioan Hughes added a superb conversion, despite hitting the posts to give Llanelli an early lead.
Quins 0-7 Llanelli
However, the hosts were quick to respond, securing an attacking scrum in the Llanelli twenty-two. The dominance of their front row saw Llanelli pinged. Jac Wilson slotted over the penalty to narrow Llanelli’s lead.
Quins 3-7 Llanelli
Wilson had a further opportunity at goal soon after but was wide with his attempt. From the line-out the Quins continued their attack, but a great defensive shift from the Llanelli forwards offered the visitors the opportunity to counter. They worked through the phases into the Quins’ twenty-two and were awarded a penalty. Hughes opted for the posts and his successful kick extended Llanelli’s lead.
Quins 3-10 Llanelli
The attacking play of the hosts in the first half was matched by Llanelli’s defensive efforts. Quins were awarded an easy penalty in front of the posts, but opted to kick for the corner. An over-throw allowed Llanelli to attack from deep and relieve the pressure on their try line.
They continued to look equally adept with ball in hand as they did in defence, securing turnover ball before Llew Smith danced through the Quins defenders. The ball was recycled and the visitors were rewarded for their efforts with another chance for Hughes at goal. Unfortunately, he hit the posts.
A high tackle on Llew Smith and subsequent penalty offered Llanelli a chance to finish the half with a score. Hughes booted downfield, gaining good field position. The line-out was secured, and a powerful rolling maul set up but despite securing advantage, they had to settle for the penalty that Ioan Hughes kicked to end the half.
Quins 3-13 Llanelli
It was a determined Quins side that emerged for the second half, but despite the dominance of their forwards, particularly during the scrum, errors frustratingly thwarted their attempts to add to their points tally.
However, a yellow card for Llanelli replacement Tom Zoogah saw the hosts take full advantage of their extra man.
Despite a missed penalty from Wilson, the hosts put together some lovely passing before Randell offloaded to Morgan Griffiths who powered over for a questionable try in the corner. Despite calls to check the try, Steff Marshall added the extras to bring Quins back to within 3 points.
Quins 10-13 Llanelli
With their confidence growing, the hosts continued their attack with a chip from Marshall chased by Griffiths who kicked through with Rhodri Davies winning the race to dab the ball down over the whitewash. Quins’ second try in quick succession saw them take the lead for the first time. Marshall missed the conversion attempt.
Quins 15-13 Llanelli
But the hosts’ try scoring frenzy wasn’t finished as they again threatened the Llanelli try line with Dale Ford finishing off the Quins’ third try in seven minutes, all scored in the same corner. Again, Marshall was wide with his conversion.
Quins 20-13 Llanelli
As the Quins’ dominance grew, Llanelli struggled to contend with wave after wave of attack as the hosts continued in their quest for a try bonus point. A further scrum penalty allowed Marshall a long-range attempt to increase the Quins’ lead. The well-struck, successful penalty gave the hosts a ten-point cushion.
Quins 23-13 Llanelli
As the game headed towards a close, Quins continued to press for that fourth try. Llanelli threw everything into their defence as the Quins inched their way into the Llanelli twenty-two. As they neared the whitewash, a huge tackle appeared to have denied them. It appeared that Griffiths had been bundled into touch as he powered over in the opposite corner for his brace, but the try was given. A superb touch-line conversion from Marshall ended the game.
Quins (3) 30-13 (13) Llanelli
T: Liam Hutchings
C: Ioan Hughes
P: Ioan Hughes (2)
YC: Tom Zoogah
T: Morgan Griffiths (2), Rhodri Davies, Dale Ford
C: Steff Marshall (2)
P: Jac Wilson, Steff Marshall