Last-gasp agony for Quins
CARMARTHEN QUINS...19 EBBW VALE.....................20
EMYR Phillips was left ruing missed opportunities by his Carmarthen Quins side that left them kicking themselves for missing out on an extended WRU National Cup run after working their way into the lead with 10 minutes to go.
But a second defeat of the season to the Steelmen – they lost to them 20-8 in the Principality Premiership in November – means at least the Quins can now concentrate on the league and look to get some of their injured players back on the field.
“Everyone wants a good cup run because it is something fresh and new in a season. Going out at this stage will allow us to focus on the Premiership and gives us a few free weekends to use for recovery for injured players,” said head coach Phillips. “It was a tough defeat to take, especially after we took the lead, but it was one of those games that could have gone either way.
“We had our chances to win it, but just as we went up one end of the field and looked like scoring, they would break away and go the length of the field the other way. Then they got that final penalty to go ahead again.”
So often a matchwinner for the Steelmen this season, ex-Dragons fly-half Rhys Jones was again instrumental in guiding his side into the second round with a penalty in each half and conversion of back-row man Lewis Young’s firsthalf try.
When it mattered most, he held his nerve to land a wide-angled penalty five minutes from time to seal victory for Ebbw Vale after the Quins had worked their way into a winning position.
The Quins went into the break 17-13 down, but then battled back to take a two-point lead into the closing minutes.
Jones opened the scoring with a third-minute strike, but home fullback Aled Thomas quickly replied with the first of his four penalties.
The power of the Ebbw Vale scrum earned them a penalty try to regain the lead, but Quins’ young centre Osian Knott popped up in the right place at the right time to score a try that Thomas improved to level the scores again.
“Osian did very well for us once again and he always seems to get the luck of the bounce and appear in the right place. He is still only 18, but he looks to have a very bright future ahead of him,” added Phillips.
Young then sprinted 20 metres to bag the Steelmen’s second try on the half-hour. Jones converted, but Thomas pegged back three points on the stroke of half-time.
Thomas’s third penalty made it a one-point game and the Quins finally hit the front with his fourth success. Ebbw weren’t finished, though, and Jones had the last word with his matchwinner.