Wanderers fly half Gareth Williams-Davies in action v Neath
Photographer: Alyn Humphreys
Glamorgan Wanderers 22
“All credit to the Wanderers, many sides would have collapsed in the last quarter” commented a happy Neath coach Gruff Rees after his sides game at the memorial ground.
On a cloudy dry afternoon on a heavy pitch the Wanderers found champions Neath in a uncompromising mood as they slipped to a 35-22 defeat. The visitors were first on the attack and after going through several phases they were awarded a penalty for holding on at a ruck. Arwel Thomas had a chance to open the scoring but his attempt went wide. Very soon afterwards Thomas had another chance following a line out offence but again his attempt went wide. Neath had all the play but the Wanderers defence was sound especially James Loxton who had to deal with a number of testing up-and-unders. After 17 minutes Neath opened the scoring as a Wanderers defensive kick was charged down allowing Lee Beech an easy touchdown. Thomas converted and the visitors led 0-7. The Wanderers opened their account after 29 minutes with an Aled James penalty following a line-out but soon afterwards Neath extended their lead with a well worked try for Andy Llewelyn following a scrum in the Wanderers 22. Thomas converted and the visitors lead 3-14. The Wanderers found it hard to gain any momentum as Neath monopolised possession and territory and they were forced into long periods of defence. As the half drew to a close Neath added a third try following a break by outside half Thomas that led to a score for open-side Merriman. Thomas converted and Neath took a 3-21 lead into the break.
The home side brought on the experienced Mark Roper at half time but the half began with the Wanderers having to defend again. Neath went through several phases but the defence held firm and eventually the visitors gave a penalty away at a ruck and the Wanderers cleared their lines. The respite was short lived and after a poor clearance kick out of defence Neath counter attacked. A fine break on halfway broke the Wanderers line and flanker Merriman was on hand again to round off the move. Howard Thomas converted. At last the home supporters had something to cheer and a break from Aled James, supported by Alex Murphy gave the Wanderers a chance. A series of drives took the ball to the Neath line but the visitors survived the assault. The home side brought on their experienced reserves but the Wanderers went further behind when referee Phil Fear awarded the visitors a penalty try in somewhat confusing circumstances. Thomas converted and a real rout was on the cards at 3-35. As the game entered its final 10 minutes the Wanderers finally strung some possession together. A break and chip ahead from Aled James was collected by James and he crashed over in the corner to give the Wanderers a first try. This was not to be the end of the revival. A lineout on the Neath 10 yard line allowed Mark Roper to send out a long pass. A break by Simon Rosser was followed by a chip ahead by James Loxton. Loxton gathered the kick and raced over to score. James converted to bring the score to 15-35. As the game entered injury time the Wanderers had their best moment as Simon Rosser and Aled James set Jamie Jones free on the halfway line. Jones outpaced the cover defence to score an excellent solo try. James converted and the Wanderers ended with a respectable 22-35 score-line.
Author : Alyn Humphreys
|Glamorgan Wanderers||22 - 35
(3 - 21)
Loxtone, James, Jones
Llewellyn, Beach, Merriman 2, penalty
Thomas 3, Thomas 2