By: Paul Hopkins
A plucky Swansea side came away with a four try bonus point as they lost to champions Merthyr at The Wern.
It was the home side who were on the front foot from kick off when scrum half Adam Hoskins made a break from a scrum, but he lost the ball forward under little pressure.
Swansea were able to work their way inside the home twenty-two when the Merthyr pack was penalised for offside, although a probable try scoring pass to winger Nathan Trowbridge sailed into touch.
Hoskins made a break through the middle on a counterattack, but the promising move came to an end when the Swansea defence regrouped.
The visitors took a surprise lead when centre Callum Carson caught Merthyr asleep by taking a quick tap penalty from his own twenty-two to race clear of the defence to score. Fellow centre J Rhys Williams converted.
A late tackle by full back R Rhys Williams on opposite number Matthew Jarvis gave Merthyr a penalty, but fly half Josh Martin failed to find touch.
But the home side ran straight back at Swansea through Jarvis and winger Lewis Williams and earned a penalty, which Martin kicked to the corner. The Merthyr pack was unable to recycle possession from the maul, resulting in a turnover for Swansea.
The visitors responded with a stylish try for Jay Baker when Hoskins spotted a gap in the middle and found second row men Patrick McBride and Craig Locke in support, before the ball was fired out wide for the centre to score. Jarvis converted.
It was end to end rugby with Baker racing through a couple of tackles up to the Swansea twenty-two, before winger Ryan Griffiths picked up a loose ball to sprint deep inside the Merthyr half, but the exciting passage of play came to an end when Lewis Williams got back to make the tackle.
The home side took the lead when Martin ran at the Swansea defence at pace and fired out a clinical long pass out to winger Kyle Evans, who sprinted clear to score. Jarvis converted.
And it got even better for Merthyr when Jack Perkins collected lineout ball on the twenty-two and fed Hoskins, who dummied past a tackler to score under the posts. Jarvis converted.
Half-time:- Merthyr 21 Swansea 7
R Rhys Williams found touch on the twenty-two with a penalty and lock Tudor Hughes rose high to claim possession. The Whites inched closer following a high tackle on Trowbridge, which ended his part in the game.
From the lineout, a powerful maul by the visitors resulted in a try for flanker Charlie Davies on his debut. R Rhys Williams missed the conversion.
A powerful run by centre Aaron Pinches into the heart of the Swansea defence set up a promising attack, but Martin wasted possession with a high kick to the corner. Instead Swansea were able to regain possession and race upfield, with scrum half Jedd Evans squeezing over at the corner. R Rhys Williams missed the conversion.
Merthyr looked to hit back and were awarded a series of penalties, with Hughes yellow carded for a professional foul. An unstoppable rolling maul from the lineout saw Locke crash over for a try. Jarvis converted.
Swansea were literally handed a lifeline when a loose pass was intercepted by Carson, who raced clear from his own twenty-two to score. R Rhys Williams converted.
An advancing Merthyr scrum five saw number eight Phil Rees touch down under the posts to calm the home side’s nerves and seal victory. Jarvis converted.
Next up for Merthyr is a trip to Ebbw Vale, while Swansea host Llandovery.
Full-time:- Merthyr 35 Swansea 24
Tries:- Jay Baker (27), Kyle Evans (34), Adam Hoskins (39), Patrick McBride (70), Phil Rees (80+1)
Cons:- Matthew Jarvis (28, 35, 40, 71, 80+2)
Tries:- Callum Carson (17, 75), Charlie Davies (51), Jedd Evans (57)
Cons:- J Rhys Williams (18), R Rhys Williams (76)
Yellow cards:- Tudor Hughes (69)
Venue:- The Wern, Merthyr
Referee:- Rhys Jones
Weather:- Light cloud, 13C
Man of the match:- Adam Hoskins
15 Matthew Jarvis
14 Kyle Evans
13 Jay Baker
12 Aaron Pinches
11 Lewis Williams (rep: Joseph Williams 41)
10 Josh Martin
9 Adam Hoskins (rep: Justin James 62)
1 Nathan Trevett (rep: James Howe 59)
2 Rhys Williams (rep: Matthew Dwyer 59)
3 Ben Warren (rep: Louis Jones 59)
4 Patrick McBride (rep: Kristian Smith 71)
5 Craig Locke ©
6 Jake Thomas (rep: Nick White 59)
7 Jack Perkins
8 Phil Rees
16 Matthew Dwyer
17 James Howe
18 Louis Jones
19 Kristian Smith
20 Nick White
21 Justin James
22 Joseph Williams
23 Gavin Dacey
15 R Rhys Williams
14 Ryan Griffiths
13 Callum Carson
12 J Rhys Williams (rep: Jedd Evans 41)
11 Nathan Trowbridge (rep: Ben Cambriani 49)
10 Foard Cooksley
9 Josh Guy (rep: Tom Ham 62)
1 Jack Powell (rep: Rhys Davies 58)
2 Paul John (rep: Sion Jones 58)
3 Greg Cunniffe (rep: Mitchell Walsh 58)
4 Tudor Hughes
5 Jay Williams
6 Charlie Davies
7 Callum Bowden
8 Jon Fox (rep: Ben Davies 63)
16 Sion Jones
17 Rhys Davies
18 Mitchell Walsh
19 Jon Vaughan
20 Ben Davies
21 Tom Ham
22 Jedd Evans
23 Ben Cambriani
15 Ed Howley
14 Ryan Pugh (rep: Regan King 37)
13 Aaron Bramwell
12 Gavin Evans
11 Ian Ellis
10 Callum Hall
9 Scott Gibson
1 Ben Uphill
2 Sion Crocker (rep: Darren Hughes 57)
3 Liam Tobias (rep: Ryan Thomas 61)
4 Jon Barley (rep: Ryan Bean 28)
5 Scott Andrews ©
6 Jordan Collier (rep: Leon Ward 57)
7 Lloyd Evans (rep: Leon Ward 18-23)
8 Ieuan Jones
16 Luke Garratt
17 Owen Nesbitt
18 Regan King
19 Scott Hicks
20 Leon Ward
21 Ryan Bean
22 Darren Hughes
23 Ryan Thomas