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By: Paul Hopkins
Carmarthen eased to a bonus point victory over the All Whites to keep up their 100 per cent record in the Fosters Cup.
The defeat left Swansea’s qualification hopes in tatters and it’s likely that they would need to win the remainder of their four games to have any hope of progressing to the next stage.
The home pack set the tone in the opening exchanges by driving the Swansea pack off the ball. Carmarthen were awarded a penalty and fly half Steffan Marshall kicked to touch, although the Whites’ defence stood firm.
When visitors’ winger Jonathan Bayliss dropped the ball under little pressure near his own line, the signs looked ominous for the Swansea pack, but the Quins forwards were penalised for an infringement at the scrum.
Flanker Rory Gallagher was shown a yellow card for killing the ball and Carmarthen again opted for a close range scrum. This time there was nothing the Whites’ forwards could do as they were pushed backwards, giving referee Richard Brace no option but to award a penalty try. Marshall converted.
When the visitors did get their hands on the ball they looked threatening. Number eight Jon Fox made a barnstorming run through the middle and was supported by hooker Alex Dunham, who side-stepped past a tackle. The backs got the ball out wide for winger Will Lewis to touch down in the corner. Fly half Jac Wilson converted.
When the visitors failed to roll away after the tackle, Marshall again opted not to take the simple three points, but to kick to the corner. The home forwards looked destined for the line, but a combination of lock Rhys Morgan and Fox drove them into touch to save a certain try.
Marshall was then penalised for holding onto the ball in the tackle, but Wilson missed a relatively easy kick at goal.
The theme of home dominance at the scum continued and it paid off when the Quins got the ball quickly out of the set piece, with centre Callum Price taking a pass on the angle, allowing him to sprint clear to score. Marshall converted.
With 40 minutes up both sides were keen to keep the ball alive as they went in search for a score. First it was the visitors’ who went on the attack, but their move broke down and centre Elliot Davies made a break in midfield and he was supported by replacement scrum half Aled James. He found winger Morgan Griffiths, who showed a stunning turn of pace to sprint clear to score. Marshall’s conversion was successful.
Half-time:- Carmarthen 21 Swansea 7
After the interval Swansea embarked on an attack through Wilson and centre Ewan Gully, but they lost possession as they ventured over the Quins’ twenty-two.
Instead it was the home side who secured a bonus point when their forwards mauled forward to send flanker Andrew Green crashing over for a try from close range. Marshall missed the conversion.
Centre David Watts then took forward a crash ball, with flanker Chris James in support, forcing Carmarthen offside at the break down. Full back Phil Jones kicked for touch, but Swansea were unable to make the most of a good attacking position.
Watts made a superb break and was brought down a metre short of the line. Lewis and Bayliss linked up well, but James dropped the ball to give Carmarthen a reprieve.
With eight minutes remaining the All Whites were handed a lifeline when the Quins were penalised for a scrummaging infringement. Phil Jones kicked to the corner and he collected the ball in midfield from the lineout to feed Gully for a well worked try. The full back also converted.
Time was running out and Swansea began to throw the kitchen sink at the Quins defence as they went in search for a losing bonus point. First replacement prop Alex Williams powered forward, and then Gallagher, who offloaded to replacement flanker Ross Barnes. However Quins full back Gwion Jones intercepted a pass on his twenty-two and raced clear to score under the posts. Marshall converted.
In the dying moments Price was yellow carded for an off the ball challenge, but it was the last play as Brace blew up for full time.
Next up for Carmarthen is a trip to Cardiff, while Swansea travel to Bedwas – both in the Principality Premiership.
Full-time:- Carmarthen 33 Swansea 14
Tries:- Penalty try (16), Callum Price (37), Morgan Griffiths (40+4), Andrew Green (51), Gwion Jones (80+1)
Cons:- Steffan Marshall (17, 38, 40+5, 80+2)
Yellow cards:- Callum Price (80+2)
Tries:- Will Lewis (19), Ewan Gully (71)
Cons:- Jac Wilson (20), Phil Jones (72)
Yellow cards:- Rory Gallagher (16)
Venue:- The Park, Carmarthen
Referee:- Richard Brace
Weather:- Clear, 10C
Man of the match:- Andrew Green
15 Gwion Jones
14 Kieran Jones
13 Elliot Davies (rep: Craig Evans 53)
12 Callum Price
11 Morgan Griffiths (rep: Lee Williams 51)
10 Steffan Marshall
9 Ifan Thomas (rep: Aled James 32)
1 Steffan Phillips (rep: Connor Allen 69)
2 Rhodri Clancy
3 Javan Sebastian
4 Rhys Minchkin (rep: Ben Thompson 50)
5 Lee Taylor
6 Andrew Green (rep: Lewis Roberts 69)
7 Lewis Millin (rep: Charlie Randall 59)
8 Shaun Jones
16 Connor Allen
17 Lewis Roberts
18 Nathan Williams
19 Ben Thompson
20 Charlie Randall
21 Craig Evans
22 Lee Williams
23 Aled James
15 Phil Jones
14 Jonathan Bayliss
13 Ewan Gully (rep: Lewis Humphries 72)
12 David Watts
11 Will Lewis
10 Jac Wilson (rep: Luc Caines 48)
9 Rhodri Wells (rep: Mike Jones 69)
1 Richard Murphy (rep: Ali Wade 46)
2 Alex Dunham (rep: George Jawad 53)
3 Mitchell Walsh (rep: Alex Williams 59)
4 Rhys Morgan (rep: Will Ponty 63)
5 Matthew Donohoe
6 Chris James (rep: Ross Barnes 69)
7 Rory Gallagher
8 Jon Fox ©
16 George Jawad
17 Ali Wade
18 Alex Williams
19 Will Ponty
20 Ross Barnes
21 Mike Jones
22 Lewis Humphries
23 Luc Caines