Llanelli Star - - LOCAL RUGBY -

YSTALYFERA have been pro­moted to the WRU Na­tional Cham­pi­onship af­ter over­com­ing Felin­foel in a play­off over two legs.

The One West Cen­tral cham­pi­ons led 34-28 af­ter the first leg at the Ynysy­dar­ren Ground last Tues­day and then went on to seal the deal 3020 in the sec­ond leg last Sun­day for a 64-48 ag­gre­gate vic­tory.

Wing Bowdy Davies, cap­tain St­ef­fan Jones and flanker Ben Wil­liams scored Fera’s tries in the sec­ond leg, with full-back St­ef­fan Cas­tle con­vert­ing all three as well as kick­ing two penal­ties. Out­side-half and coach Gareth James landed a drop-goal.

Jonathan Bayliss scored twice in the first game, with James and Luc Caines also go­ing over. Cas­tle kicked 14 points.

For Felin­foel, wing Eray Wil­son was at the dou­ble in the sec­ond leg, with other wing El­liot Dawe also scor­ing a try. Out­side-half Aled Roberts kicked the other five points.

Roberts had helped him­self to 23 of his side’s 28 points in the first leg, land­ing seven penal­ties as well as a con­ver­sion to Rhys Evans’s try.

With a league ti­tle and now pro­mo­tion in the bag, Ystalyfera still have two cup fi­nals to look for­ward to.

First up is the Glam­or­gan County Sil­ver Ball fi­nal against Nan­tyffyl­lon at the Brew­ery Field in Brid­gend on Satur­day, fol­lowed by the West Wales Cup fi­nal against Glyn­neath at Ystradg­yn­lais RFC a week to­mor­row (May 23).

“It has been a long hard sea­son, but we’re im­mensely proud that the boys have achieved it,” said Ystalyfera vice-chair­man David Carter on win­ning pro­mo­tion. “We were dom­i­nant on the park in the first game, scor­ing four tries, but Felin­foel kicked seven penal­ties that kept them in it.

“But then in the sec­ond game it was end-to-end stuff, with the lead chang­ing hands, but then in the sec­ond half our strength re­ally came through with our for­wards dom­i­nat­ing the ball.

“In the end we were de­served win­ners.

“We’ve had five sea­sons through our his­tory where we’ve been cham­pi­ons but it could be said that this one, given the level it’s been achieved at, and with the ex­tra chance of two cups as well, could be our most glo­ri­ous.”

Mean­while for back-to-back One West win­ners Felin­foel, it was once again a case of so near, yet so far. It comes 12 months af­ter they suf­fered play-off heartache against Maesteg Quins.

There was also an emo­tional farewell to out­go­ing head coach Mike King, who has de­cided to step down af­ter two ti­tle-win­ning sea­sons in charge.

On their play-off de­feat, King said: “I hon­estly felt we were bet­ter pre­pared this year, but in fair­ness to Ys

talyfera, their pack of for­wards con­trolled things re­ally well in the sec­ond game.

“We were 20-10 up to go ahead on ag­gre­gate and I thought we could have kicked on from there, but un­for­tu­nately they just closed the game down.

“We were beaten up front and their half-backs were ex­tremely good.

“It’s dis­ap­point­ing but I don’t think we can let it spoil the sea­son.

“To win two ti­tles is club his­tory, that can never be taken away from this group of play­ers.

“They are a credit to Divi­sion One West and, more im­por­tantly, are a credit to them­selves and the club. But I feel, as a coach, I’ve taken them as far as I can.

“The ova­tion I had was great, I had a tear in my eye. The sup­port­ers clapped me off, the play­ers gave me a guard of honour walk­ing off and I can’t ask for more than that.”

On his de­ci­sion to step down at Felin­foel, King said: “I’ve had two great years there and I couldn’t have wished for a bet­ter club, they’re a tremen­dous com­mu­nity club.

“But I just felt it was time to take a lit­tle step back, maybe take a year out and spend a bit of time at home more than any­thing.

“My son Rho­dri was re­cently capped with Wales Un­der-18s and he’s hope­fully go­ing to move into the semi-pro game. My other son Ryan cap­tained the Scar­lets Com­bined Un­der-16s and I’ve got a lit­tle one on the way as well.

“So I’ve just de­cided to take a bit of time out and en­joy it and we’ll see what hap­pens down the line.”

New Dock Stars’ Keiran Jones moves in on Nant­garedig’s Rhys Schi­avone on Satur­day. Pic: Phil Davies

Dafydd Lewis of Nant­garedig dives in to score a try in Nant’s 68-13 home win against New Dock Stars on Satur­day. Af­ter the game Nant were pre­sented with their tro­phy for win­ning this year’s Three West B ti­tle by Chris Jones of the WRU. They have one league game left to play this sea­son, away to Betws this Satur­day, but they lead sec­ond-placed Am­man United by 20 points, hav­ing won ev­ery sin­gle one of their 21 league fix­tures to date.

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