Wales On Sunday - - SPORT -

NEATH are still wait­ing for their first win of the sea­son af­ter reign­ing Prin­ci­pal­ity Premier­ship cham­pi­ons Merthyr claimed max­i­mum points at the Gnoll.

The Iron­men ran in six tries to pick up a bonus point but were made to work hard by a spir­ited Welsh All Blacks side.

The hosts made an en­cour­ag­ing start as they pushed Merthyr back in the open­ing 10 min­utes. They showed plenty of hunger and de­sire and asked sev­eral ques­tions of Dale McIn­tosh’s men.

But Merthyr had all the an­swers and with their first ven­ture for­ward they scored. Cen­tre Adam Thomas found enough space on the right flank to get the Iron­men mov­ing and his off­load to Kyle Evans handed the winger a sim­ple try.

Full-back Matthew Jarvis added the re­sult­ing con­ver­sion.

The Welsh All Blacks re­sponded well with more pres­sure, which re­sulted in a penalty and Callum Hall judged the wind well to glide his kick be­tween the posts.

Thomas al­most went from provider to scorer as he waltzed past two play­ers to sprint over the white­wash, but ref­eree Stephen All­sop pulled play back for a clear for­ward pass.

The game be­came more open and that suited Merthyr as Justin James cap­i­talised on a de­fen­sive er­ror to claim his third try in as many games, but Jarvis’ con­ver- sion at­tempt came back off the post.

The Iron­men were start­ing to con­trol the game, al­though Neath were still caus­ing some prob­lems, but a li­ne­out was ex­e­cuted per­fectly five min­utes be­fore half-time to al­low Craig Locke to force the ball over the white­wash.

Again, Jarvis’ con­ver­sion struck the post.

The bad weather al­most helped Merthyr claim a fourth try be­fore the break as the ball bob­bled around the pitch but Ryan Pugh cleared the dan­ger just in time with Evans ready to pounce.

Ryan Thomas, of Neath, and Merthyr’s Sam Hobbs both saw yel­low in the dy­ing min­utes of the first half fol­low­ing a col­lapsed scrum.

The hosts started the sec­ond half like they did in the first and were re­warded with a penalty that was ex­pertly dis­patched by Hall.

Neath’s con­fi­dence never faded but the fi­nal ball con­tin­ued to elude them as Merthyr main­tained their 11-point ad­van­tage head­ing into the fi­nal 20 min­utes.

And the Iron­men then showed their clin­i­cal edge as Jack Perkins touched down fol­low­ing an­other li­ne­out to push them fur­ther ahead. Adam Hoskins fol­lowed him over the white­wash shortly af­ter be­fore Jay Baker sealed the vic­tory in in­jury time with Jarvis con­vert­ing.

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