Newcastle Emlyn 23
WHEN THE PRESSURE was on, Newcastle Emlyn delivered in style with what was one of their most famous wins in recent times, ranking with all the successes of the previous season, as they secured their Championship status for another year.
This Emlyn side, over the last four seasons as they have climbed the Leagues, have played in some tense encounters and the experience gained in these games was evident in this match.
For once it was the home side that started the game at breakneck speed and it was scrum half Dafydd Evans who got the opening score after some good work by Alex Williams.
Urged on by their scrum half Lewis, Beddau quickly retaliated and within five minutes were in the lead as he picked up a bobbling ball at the side of the scrum and accelerated through it to score a try converted by Withers.
The next score came from an unlikely source when from a lineout deep in the Beddau twenty two, Emlyn second row Ryan Morgans caught the ball cleanly. As the home side looked to set up a driving maul referee Neil Jones caught the visitors backs encroaching within ten metres before the line out was over and Leonard kicked the resulting penalty.
Another score came when the Emlyn backs and forwards swooped on the tackle area and counter rucked to drive Beddau off the ball, for second row Ryan Morgans to pick up and be driven over for an unconverted try.
Despite playing into the breeze Emlyn started off the second half strongly and immediately applied pressure on the visitors. However Beddau scored against the run of play as they quickly transferred play along their line for pacey winger Cobie Flowers to cross for an unconverted try.
With a slender one point lead Emlyn responded in the best possible fashion when flanker Brynmor Jones made a break and linked with centre Teifion Davies, who had another excellent match, and left wing Llyr Davies.
Beddau desperately halted the movement metres from their line. The ball was moved out to the right wing where Llyr Jones and flanker Owain Powell inter-passed and looked certain to score only to be denied again by a desperate Beddau defence. The visitors were penalised again for killing the ball.
Emlyn skipper Williams opted to go for touch and a line out move, involving prop Gethin Davies on the front peel, saw the prop feed his skipper who crossed in the corner for the third try.
Another line out close to the Beddau line saw the home side go through a series of rucks before scrum half Dafydd Evans fed prop Gethin Davies with a reverse pass which saw the prop, having perhaps his best game ever for Emlyn, crash over for the all-important fourth try. In terms of the League the eleven point lead was in fact the equivalent of eighteen points, if Emlyn were to be denied the second losing bonus point.
Losing the match with this lead was not part of the Emlyn script and coach Marc Lloyd, with twenty minutes to go, used his bench to great effect.
With ten minutes to go the game took another twist when from deep inside their own half Beddau attacked down their left wing.
A kick ahead by winger Morgan Williams looked to be covered by the Emlyn defence. The ball however bounced up into Williams’ hands and he passed inside to the supporting Withers who crossed for a try, which he converted himself.
Emlyn, however, were not to be denied this victory and with the fresh legs of Jones and Elworthy driving the visitors backwards in the scrum, Beddau struggled to get any good ball in the face of some ferocious Emlyn play.
The tension was palpable in the crowd and the players, as the seconds ticked by. Into injury time Beddau were penalised at a scrum just inside their own half. Everyone thought the best option was to kick to touch and run the clock down especially as the Emlyn line out was working so well.
However skipper Williams and Leonard had other ideas and the full back opted to go for the posts. The kick only just missed and was caught by centre Hywel Chatham, who immediately counter attacked and burst through the first line of Emlyn’s defence.
Some desperate cover defence eventually forced Beddau into touch on the half way line. Ryan Morgans took the ball at the line and fed Mike Jones who had confirmed with the referee that time was up and then kicked the ball into touch.
On the final whistle the packed stand rose as one to applaud a superb effort by the home side.