SCARLETS welcomed Toyota Cheetahs to Parc y Scarlets for the Guinness PRO14 Final Series quarter-final on Saturday (May 5) looking for a victory to keep the Championship-retaining run alive.
A beautiful Spring evening was the perfect touch for a final home game of the season as the Scarlets faithful came along to say a fond farewell to the individuals moving on at the end of the season.
The home side crossed the whitewash for six fantastic tries as the sun set on Parc y Scarlets’ season and the team didn’t disappoint putting in one final performance to keep the home winning record alive.
Scarlets got the scoreboard ticking over after five minutes of play with winger Steff Evans crossing in the corner. The ball came out from a Cheetahs line out as play continued despite an injury to Rob Evans in midfield. Rhys Patchell and Hadleigh Parkes made strong breaks through centre field and made the all-important territorial gains putting Evans in over the whitewash. Halfpenny added the conversion.
A penalty then came Scarlets’ way just inside Cheetahs territory as the game headed towards the quarter of an hour mark. Halfpenny stepped up for the long range penalty but the ball hit the upright and the Cheetahs looked to play from deep. Scarlets are on heightened alert and Tadhg Beirne wins the turnover in their 22. They were given another penalty and Halfpenny made amends for his earlier miss to make it 10-0.
Within a few minutes Scarlets were back on the rampage from inside their own half as Gareth Davies gets the ball away from the scrum. Centre Parkes motored up the outside and finds Halfpenny in support who cuts a great line to the whitewash before converting his own try.
Cheetahs then got their first points on the board after 21 minutes of play with outside half Johan Goosen slotting a penalty.
Halfpenny was replaced by Dan Jones and Patchell stepped up for a long range penalty. He has the range, just like Halfpenny did earlier on in the half, but it sailed just wide of the upright.
With just a few minutes remaining in the first half Steff Evans made a wonderful break in midfield. He danced around five or six Cheetahs defenders, frees himself, puts in a chip over the top and scores a second try! Patchell added the conversion and the Scarlets looked comfortable with a 24-3 half time lead.
Scarlets fired in to action early on in the second half with a try from winger Tom Prydie. The Scarlets put the Cheetahs under huge pressure in their half and after scrum half Gareth Davies was replaced by Jonathan Evans the Scarlets pack got the ball flowing through the hands with Scott Williams putting in a wonderful pass before Prydie touches down under the posts. Patchell added the conversion.
Wyn Jones made a return to the field on the 45 minute mark, his first game since the Six Nations campaign when he injured his hamstring.
Whilst John Barclay receives a standing ovation from the entire ground, including the coaching staff, captain Ken Owens goes and scores from the rolling maul for their fifth try of the evening with Patchell converting.
Replacement scrum half Jonathan Evans crossed for the region’s sixth try on the hour mark as he dashed towards the whitewash from the 22 line. He dives in time to touch down and Scarlets go 43-3 ahead.
With fifteen minutes remaining Tadhg Beirne was replaced by Aaron Shingler. An emotional send off as Parc y Scarlets erupts. Every man, woman and child were on their feet.
Scott Williams leaves the field of play at Parc y Scarlets for the last time as a Scarlet. Another emotional farewell.
The Cheetahs cross the whitewash with ten minutes remaining after frantic defensive work by the Scarlets. The TMO is called upon for foul play earlier on in the phase where Tom Prydie is manhandled without the ball and the try was disallowed.
It was the Cheetahs who finished the game strongly with fullback Clayton Blommetjies scoring Cheetahs’ only try of the evening.
That was the last action of the games and the Scarlets sealed an impressive 43-8 win. They now go on to play Glasgow Warriors at the Scotstoun Stadium on Friday, May 18.
Aber earn first league win since November
ABERYSTWYTH Town’s season swung upwards on Friday night (Feb 8) at Stebonheath Park as a devastating three goal blitz in six minutes at the end of the first half put the Black and Greens in an unassailable position, and earned them their first League win since November.
Goals from Paolo Mendes (41 mins), Wes Baynes (43 mins) and two from the evergreen Geoff Kellaway (45+2 and 62) saw Town to the Top of the Play Off Conference with Joe Clarke (57 mins) and Joe Hunt (64 mins) responding for the Reds of Llanelli in vain.
After eight games without a win the magnitude of this match was huge for Aber and on a cold and blustery evening the home groundsmen had done a superb job to get the game on.
The Ceredigion men started well with Declan Walker and Wes Baynes putting dangerous balls into the box, and Ash Ruane having a shot blocked. The hosts were also creating chances though as Chris Jones’ effort from a James Loveridge pass was saved.
Mattie Jones’ superb left wing cross then saw Ruane straight through but home keeper Scott Coughlan pulled off a great save to deny the Green Goal Getter. Further quality crosses from Baynes and Jones caused consternation and then Ryan Wollacott, who was superb all night at the back for Town, brought another save from Coughlan with a header.
Loveridge curled a shot narrowly wide for Llanelli but then Baynes went even closer at the other end with a cross shot. Then a series of corners turned the game, and maybe even Aber’s entire season. First Jones’ corner reached Mendes at the back stick to head home.
Ruane’s shot was then deflected over for another corner, and Baynes’ cute delivery curled right into the top corner.
Four minutes later Aber were in dreamland as Kellaway found the bottom corner with a superb strike from the right hand side, and with the visiting fans signing for joy clinical Aber went in three goals to the good.
Playing against the wind in the second half the visitors continued to press without really creating too many openings. However, two former Black and Green players combined as Chris Jones crossed for Clarke to head Llanelli back into the game.
The next goal appeared crucial as the game opened up and Jones just failed to find Loveridge with a cut back which would surely have caused huge problems for Aber.
As it happens the hard working Marc Williams found the bye line at the other end and cut back for Kellaway to stab home a killer fourth, and surely the game was over?
However with the next move Joe Hunt’s free kick curled right into the corner of Terry McCormick’s net and it was 4-2.
A hugely open game continued apace and Aber’s Superb Singing Fans inspired their team forward. Kellaway burst through down the left but was denied a hat trick by Coughlan, and then Ryan “The Rock” Wollacott cleared off the line with the hosts threatening a comeback.
With five minutes of injury time indicated sub Joe Dyer sent a great chance over for Llanelli, and Aber held on for a priceless win.
Aber up to fourth after beating Llangwm
ABERAERON continued their march up the table as they earned a 55-0 victory at home to Llangwm on Saturday (Feb 9).
The Ceredigion side now sit fourth in the table just two points behind third place Haverfordwest with three games in hand as well.
As expected the outcome was never really in doubt with the bonus point win top of the agenda for Justin Lloyd and his coaching team.
True to form, it was the home side first out of the blocks, putting the visitors defence under considerable pressure in the opening phases.
They were rewarded for the enterprise with a try for wing Dyfrig Dafis with an excellent conversion against the elements by Rhodri Jenkins.
A competent Llangwm rearguard coupled with some unforced errors by the hosts reduced opportunities until midway in the opening period until no 8 Tudur Jenkins benefited from forward domination to cross for his 9th try of the campaign.
With forward play becoming more evident as the game progressed the front row of Ceri Davies, Sion Evans and Matt Roberts ably supported by second rows Daf Lloyd and captain Gethin Hughes paved the way for flanker Gethin Dafis to record his second double in a week with Jenkins adding a conversion giving Aberaeron a 24 point advantage at the break.
It did not take long after the restart for further scores with Morgan Llewelyn the benefactor again ably converted by Jenkins. With the result never in doubt the introduction of several subs brought immediate benefit as prop Owain Wozencraft bulldozed his way over the line after receiving his first pass.
The added conversion by Jenkins was followed by another double, this time by centre Ollie Sawyer, a due reward for a stalwart both in attack and defence.
The final score by wing Rhodri Thomas added icing on the cake and the conversion by Jenkins brought a tally of 10 points for the outside half.
It will be fourth versus fifth this Saturday (Feb 16), as Aber host Laugharne in what will prove a good test for the Ceredigion side.
Kellaway earns point for Aber
A SUPERB 30 yard volley from evergreen Geoff Kellaway thirteen minutes from time finally put an end to Aberystwyth Town’s seven match losing streak, and earned the Black and Greens a thoroughly deserved point at home to Llandudno on Friday (Feb 1).
On a chilly evening on the Ceredigion coast the hosts rang the changes, giving debuts to Marc Williams and Carwyn Jones, and recalling keeper Terry MCormick, Alan Goodall, Leigh Jenkins and Ash Ruane to the starting eleven.
The game struggled to get going but then Matthew Jones played a sweet ball across to Ruane, whose low goalbound drive was gathered by Shaun Pearson in the visitors goal. Les Davies blasted over for Llandudno then Jones was the next to test Pearson with a low drive.
Williams was prominent for Town, dropping deep to pick up and bringing others into play as he excelled in the number ten role. Toby Jones fired over for Llandudno but they then got a lucky break when Harry’s low drive from the edge of the area took a big deflection and nestled into McCormick’s net.
In response Jones sent in another cross which Williams glanced wide, Declan Walker aimed a long range drive straight at the keeper and despite creating more chances Aber went in at the break a goal down and under pressure.
The hosts pressed again after the break, with Matthew Jones again setting up a Williams header to bring another save from Pearson. Alun Webb sent a shot wide but then at the other end Leigh Jenkins had a shot deflected for a corner.
Kellaway then sent a superb volley inches wide from 30 yards, Williams hit the post with a curling shot and Matthew Jones fired wide as Aber upped the pressure. Town had a let off when Toby Jones’ goal was chalked off for offside, and then McCormick pulled off a great save to deny Webb down to his left.
Those of a nervous disposition feared that the game was going away from Town but then up popped the legendary Kellaway, who pulled out a brilliant low drive from 30 yards to equalise with a vital goal, before celebrating in front of an adoring Nark’s Corner.
In an exciting last ten minutes sub Ryan Edwards sent a volley just wide, Marc Williams saw a shot deflected for a corner, before Llandudno enjoyed some late pressure.
Harry sent a shot narrowly wide, and super Steffan Edwards denied Toby Jones at the death with a last gasp goal line clearance, to bring proceedings to a close at 1-1.
On a nervous night with defeat unthinkable for the Black and Greens, the game was not a technical masterclass, but thanks to Geoff Kellaway’s moment of magic Aber got the result they needed, which brings to an end their heart-breaking run of defeats.
Town will now look forward to more Friday Night Football, with a visit to Stebonheath Park, Llanelli on Friday (Feb 8), ko 7.45pm.
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