Division 1 west
Newcastle Emlyn 9 Felinfoel 3
Three penalties from the boot of outside half Shaun Leonard helped steer Newcastle Emlyn to a narrow win over title rivals Felinfoel in very difficult muddy conditions at Ddol Wiber.
The heaviness underfoot and gale force wind blowing across the field made running and handling difficult but it did not deter either side from trying to move the ball and the inevitable errors only added to the entertainment.
The hosts started positively and opened the scoring after twelve minutes when Felinfoel were penalised at the breakdown and Leonard slotted over a difficult kick into the wind. As far as scoring went that was the end of it for the first half, but the game became an intriguing battle between two evenly matched sets of forwards. For Emlyn flanker Gareth Thomson was outstanding in this period, dominating the lineouts with some excellent two handed takes, and carrying the ball powerfully in the loose. However just before the interval he was tackled from behind and had to leave the field with a suspected leg fracture and he will be out for the rest of the season.There was little in the game for the remainder of the half with the main difference being the superb home defence led by flanker Dafydd Rotie who was outstanding.
The red and whites increased their lead at the start of the second half when a thundering tackle by Rotie saw the ball spilled to the ground. The ever alert Emrys Davies picked the ball up and accelerated towards the visitors’ line and for a moment looked certain to score. Unfortunately he was brought down on the twenty two metre line but Felinfoel were penalised at the subsequent ruck by the excellent referee Simon Mills, and Leonard stepped up to drill the ball between the posts.
Emlyn went further ahead on the quarter hour mark and again it was due to their aggressive defence this time led by centre Teifion Davies and Rotie which forced the visitors to concede a penalty on their ten metre line which Leonard duly dispatched between the sticks.
With time running out the visitors were awarded a penalty and full back Aled Roberts converted the kick to give the visitors the consolation of a losing bonus point.
Sportsline would like to wish Gareth Thomson a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him back on the field very soon..