Carmarthen Journal - - Midweek Sport -

LLANELLI head coach Paul Fisher was a very re­lieved man to see his side go into the hat for the se­cond round of the WRU Na­tional Cup after a thor­ough ex­am­i­na­tion at Gel­li­galed Park.

He was also full of praise for the home side, who are rid­ing high in their first sea­son in the Cham­pi­onship, as they threw the kitchen sink at their il­lus­tri­ous vis­i­tors and were full value for their 10-5 in­ter­val lead.

“We didn’t really know what to ex­pect be­cause we hadn’t seen any footage of them play­ing, but we knew of their rep­u­ta­tion after they moved through the leagues,” said Fisher.

“We ex­pected this to be the fo­cal point of their sea­son and they didn’t dis­ap­point.

“The width that they held and the tempo they brought to their game prob­a­bly chal­lenged us more than in some Premier­ship matches. All credit to them for that.

“I don’t think we had a scrum for 30 min­utes and the first pas­sage of play seemed to go on for 10 min­utes.

“They were very im­pres­sive in their phase play and it was easy to see why they have been so suc­cess­ful in re­cent sea­sons.”

Corey Shep­hard gave Ystrad a de­served lead when he kicked a penalty from just out­side the 22 to open the scor­ing after only five min­utes, but the vis­i­tors hit back with the first of their five tries from a driv­ing line-out.

It was the first de­cent field po­si­tion they had en­joyed and after Ash­leigh Hyn­d­man had taken the ball in the mid­dle of the line, hooker Tay­lor Davies was able to ride on the back of the maul and claim the score.

Llanelli thought they had grabbed a se­cond eight min­utes later when out­side-half Ash­ley Sut­ton raced through to dive over the line at the posts, but ref­eree Rhys Jones, who played a ma­jor part in an ex­cel­lent match, spot­ted some in­ter­fer­ence by the vis­it­ing cen­tres and awarded a penalty to Ystrad.

The home side struck again seven min­utes be­fore half-time when Sut­ton lost the ball in a tackle after gath­er­ing an up and un­der on his 10-me- tre line.

Hav­ing been crunched by Sion Sum­mers, he then saw Shep­hard hack the loose ball into the 22 and Kur­tis Wil­liams turn on the af­ter­burn­ers and win the race to the line for a try.

That got the near 500-strong crowd, which con­tained Ystrad prod­ucts and for­mer Welsh in­ter­na­tion­als Gary Jones and Mike Grif­fiths, roar­ing their ap­proval.

Shep­hard added the ex­tras and that gave the Cham­pi­onship side a 10-5 in­ter­val lead.

Sut­ton and Shep­hard ex­changed penal­ties at the start of the se­cond half be­fore Llanelli fi­nally got some rhythm into their play and worked full-back Kal­lum Evans clear for a 20-me­tre run to the line.

That lev­elled the scores at 13-13 and mid­way through the se­cond half Llanelli hit the front for the first time.

Wing Tommy Rogers rounded off some more back line pres­sure and Sut­ton’s con­ver­sion took his side seven points clear.

Scrum-half Gareth Ge­orge then scam­pered over be­fore Rogers added a se­cond after he picked up a loose ball 35 me­tres out and raced to the line.

If that left the score­line look­ing a bit harsh on Ystrad, they en­sured the gap was closer at the end when they cre­ated an out­stand­ing score for re­place­ment wing Jay Har­ris. Hav­ing worked their way deep into the Llanelli 22 on the right flank, they switched the ball swiftly to the left to give Har­ris a free run to the cor­ner.

Tommy Rogers crossed twice for Llanelli.

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