final score Bargoed 27 Llanelli 10
Llanelli travelled to a wet & windy Bargoed Park in their latest round of Principality Premiership league matches. They played with the elements in the first half and really had to make the most of the conditions by building a decent first half lead. It was clear that the home side would be looking to claw back any deficit by using the wet & windy conditions to the full in the second 40.
The visitors got off to a good start. A fine midfield move saw second row Elliot Rees take a fine line to break thro the home defence, an accurate pass to supporting skipper Nathan Hart saw him cross for the first try of the game. A well struck conversion by outside half Ashley Sutton opened up an early lead. They used the elements reasonably well to set up further opportunities but the Bulls defence held firm and when they earned a penalty in mid field they scored their first try. A fine cross kick from Josh Prosser was scooped up by wide out Barney Nightingale who completed the touchdown. At 7-5 down, the home side must have been delighted going into the final ten minutes of the half. Then a big call by referee Tom Spurrier. With Llanelli homing in on their second try, what looked like a clear try scoring opportunity went begging when wing Ashley Norton was yellow carded for a deliberate knock on. Mr. Spurrier decided that a yellow card was sufficient punishment much to the visiting supporters dismay. Then from the resultant penalty the home defence once again stood firm and another scoring opportunity was lost. A penalty goal apiece from the outside halves meant that the half ended with Llanelli leading the game 10 - 8 - the home coaches and players went in to the changing rooms much the happier!
With a very strong set piece combined with the conditions it was always going to be a tough 40 mins for the visitors. Indeed, within 8mins of the restart the Bulls scored two tries. The first came when from the opening kick off, Llanelli failed to gather the ball, were penalised from the ensuing scrum and immediately found themselves on their own five metre line. From the lineout, second row Ashley Gibson was on the back of the maul to cross for the score. Then a few minutes later, a similar position saw the home side's dominant scrum earn a penalty try. The pressure was now really on Llanelli but try as they might, too often unforced errors resulted in them being forced back into deep defensive positions. On 57 minutes Bargoed got their Bonus point try. A lineout was lost some five metres out, hooker Rhys Buckley scooped up the loose ball to complete the easy score and effectively end the game.
Going into the final quarter both sides made numerous personnel changes and it looked as though the visitors came off best. They had a few opportunities to eat into the deficit but a combination of wrong options and good home defence meant that they came away with nothing to show for their efforts.
Yes, a disappointing result but another learning experience. After a couple of good results it's back to the drawing board this week as they face a resurgent Cardiff RFC side at the Arms Park next Saturday.