Hard fought first win of the season

Bridgend were the visitors to a crisp Parc y Scarlets, with both sides looking for their first League win of the season. In an entertaining game, Llanelli remained in control for the most part of the game, weathering a second half comeback from the Ravens.

It was a promising start for the hosts, who held on to possession for the opening minutes before their defence thwarted a midfield break from Bridgend’s number 8, Evans. A win in the kicking battle saw Llanelli attack off the scrum, they recycled well before a well-timed pass from scrum half, Archie Hughes saw Sam O’Connor run over unopposed for the first try of the afternoon. Iwan Evans was wide with his conversion attempt.

Llanelli 5-0 Bridgend

Bridgend immediately hit back with a cross-field kick testing Rhodri Jones who gathered well and was able to clear, but a penalty saw the visitors kick for the corner and drive off the line-out. Sterling defence from the Llanelli front 8 saw them secure the scrum. Despite being pinged for a penalty at the scrum, Llanelli turned the ball over at the breakdown and were offered another opportunity to attack.

Replacement, Harrison Button had a clear run in for the line, but his kick forward trickled into touch. Despite this, Bridgend’s line-out on the twenty-two was gathered by Alex Jeffries. Llanelli opted to kick for the corner rather than take the 3 points and were rewarded for their efforts with a powerful driving maul over the line. Captain, Nathan Hart claimed the try, with Iwan Evans adding the extras.

Llanelli 12-0 Bridgend

After withstanding a period of sustained pressure in their own twenty-two the Ravens paid a rare visit into the Llanelli half, but with confidence growing in the Llanelli squad, the hosts ran the ball from deep. However, Bridgend spread the ball wide and after a long period of advantage for off-side opted to kick for the corner. Again, the line-out was problematic for the visitors, and a real try scoring opportunity was scuppered.

A powerful drive from the Llanelli pack saw them win a scrum penalty before a huge kick gave the hosts a line-out on the Bridgend twenty-two. Llanelli went through several phases before the ball was spread wide to Rhodri Jones who strolled over unopposed for Llanelli’s third try. Iwan Evans added the conversion to give Llanelli a commanding lead at half time.

Llanelli 19-0 Bridgend

HALF TIME

It was an attacking Bridgend that emerged after the break but Llanelli weathered the storm and weren’t caused any real problems until the Ravens opted to use the width of the pitch. Again, the decision was made to kick for the corner rather than take the kick at goal, but despite winning possession and setting up the maul they were unable to ground the ball. A second bite of the cherry saw heroic defending from the Llanelli forwards who were rewarded with a penalty which was kicked out of the twenty-two.

With play centred around halfway, neither side really took control until Bridgend again opted for the corner kick and whilst it appeared that the visitors had been awarded their first try, they had to settle for a scrum v. Their first try did come minutes later though, with wing, Caine Woolerton claiming the score. Matthew Jones added the extras.

Llanelli 19-7 Bridgend

Despite being down to 14 men with Ellis Thomas in the sin bin, it appeared that Llanelli had struck back immediately after they drove off a line-out deep in the Ravens’ twenty-two but the try was disallowed. The hosts kept their composure and some great hands saw the ball off-loaded to Nathan Hart who raced over under the posts for his brace and a bonus point for Llanelli. Iwan Evans slotted over the simple conversion attempt.

Llanelli 26-7 Bridgend

A kick forward saw Caine Woolerton scoring his brace as he won the foot race to dive over in the corner for the Ravens’ second try. Matthew Jones was on target with a superb kick from the touchline to land the conversion.

Llanelli 26-14 Bridgend

With the game reaching the final stages, a dangerous tackle from Ellis Thomas saw him shown a second yellow card resulting in the hosts ending the game with fourteen men. Tempers frayed and a bout of handbags ensued, but Llanelli’s typical attacking prowess was more than matched by an impressive defensive display as they secured their first win in style.

FULL TIME

Llanelli 26-14 Bridgend

 

T: Sam O’Connor, Nathan Hart (2), Rhodri Jones

C: Iwan Evans (3)

YC: Ellis Thomas (2) = RC

 

T: C. Woolerton (2)

C: M. Jones (2)

TEAM P W D L PF PA PTS
Cardiff 11 9 0 2 374 210 46
Newport 11 9 0 2 337 214 45
Aberavon 11 7 0 4 322 243 37
Llandovery 11 6 0 5 303 287 31
RGC 1404 11 6 0 5 286 244 31
Merthyr 11 5 0 6 329 294 31
Pontypridd 11 7 0 4 239 259 30
Carmarthen Quins 11 6 0 5 232 254 30
Bridgend Ravens 11 4 0 7 186 276 18
Swansea 11 3 0 8 212 269 18
Ebbw Vale 11 3 0 8 157 263 14
Llanelli 11 1 0 10 189 353 10