Carmarthen Quins, beset by a rising injury problem, fielded a much changed side for their B and I Cup tie against Swansea at the Park on Friday night.
Considering the bad weather of recent days, the Park was in fine condition and both teams seemed prepared to play open running rugby. However, it was the home side that got off to a flyer when James Davies made a break, off loaded in the tackle and Andrew Banfield sped 30m. to score under the posts. Youngster, Jack Maynard, playing at fly half for the evening, added the extras and the try fest was begun.
Minutes later the deficit was reduced by a Nicky Thomas penalty but the barrage of strong runs by the likes of Haydn Pugh, Gavin Evans and the two centres started to punch holes in the Swansea defence. Eventually Luke Joseph made the telling break backed up by Rheon James and this allowed Banfield enough space to score his second try this time in the corner. Again Maynard was accurate with the conversion.
On the half hour James Davies was yellow carded and this allowed Swansea back into the game for a while. Scrum half, Jake Cole, exploited the gap at the back of their line out and ran 30m. virtually unopposed to score under the posts for a try converted by Nicky Thomas. The sides were evened up soon after when Swansea had a prop sin-binned and soon Carmarthen extended their lead when Maynard showed “great hands” to hold on to a pass and crash over for a try he converted himself.
As the interval approached the Quins were well on top and scored their bonus point try when the powerful running Rheon James, broke through the defensive line, off loaded to Banfield and he was able to release Connor Lloyd into the corner. Maynard, now impressive with the boot, slotted another touch line conversion and Carmarthen Quins took a 28 – 10 lead into the break.
Into the second half and the home side still commanded the game with their strong running tactics but only managed to add to the scoreboard with a Maynard penalty. The visitors, on the other hand, took advantage of another yellow card (Aidan Laxton) and a charged down kick to get Dan Baker over the line and for Nicky Thomas to slot the extras.
Carmarthen continued to pile on the pressure but even a series of forward drives and a number of penalties, where a scrum was opted for, failed to produce another try as “the all whites” tackled and defended valiantly. The home side eventually settled for a successful Maynard penalty and then play got bogged down midfield for a while with both sides failing to make telling blows. Then with time running out Swansea were forced to kick long, substitute, Alex Pickersgill, returned the ball before passing to another substitute, Darren Daniel, and he set off James Davies. The classy wing forward then jinked through the initial defensive line before speeding 55m. up field to score under the posts for another easily converted try.
The final score was Carmarthen Quins 41 Swansea 17 and the coaching staff will be pleased that their re-jigged side full of young faces performed admirably in this Cup Tie. It should also give the squad confidence when they meet Swansea next week at St. Helens in a league fixture.
Reporter ~ Keith Bond