“A STEP BACK IN TIME”
(By Percy Jones)
First Round of the West Wales Rugby Union Cup
Abercrave, nil Carmarthen, 6pts.
Carmarthen travelled to Abercrave on Saturday to play an unbeaten local side in the first round of the West Wales Rugby Union Cup.
Carmarthen were not at full strength. Royston Davies (full-back) was unable to play and Keith Thomas substituted. Windsor Marks (inside-centre) was laid up with the flu which meant a re-arrangement of the threequarter line. Bryan Isaacs (right-wing) came into the centre and Alyn Jones on the wing. Graham Thomas replaced Les Jones on the left wing. When the team arrived at Abercrave, Alec Richards (captain) who is on a course at Cardiff had not arrived and committeeman Gwyn Davies, who had not played for two years turned out in a very unaccustomed position of blind-side wing-forward. With this re-arranged side, Carmarthen never expected to hold the unbeaten Abercrave side, especially on their own ground. Very heavy morning rain resulted in very heavy playing conditions.
The Carmarthen side has not done so well for years; each man played like a Trojan. One can be excused for making special mention of the two Carmarthen wing-forwards, Gwyn Davies and Gwilym Beynon. In the opinion of the Abercrave committee, never have they seen a better exhibition of wing-forward play.
The man who won the game for Carmarthen was Bryan Isaac with two glorious kicks, one from 40 yards from the touchline and the other over 30 yards from ten yards inside the touchline with a heavy ball. Carmarthen won the toss and played with the wind and immediately went into attack and pressed hard but were unable to score owing to the solid defence of Bater, the ex-Swansea and Neath full-back.
Abercrave got out of danger by two penalty kicks and for the first time got a footing in the Carmarthen “25.” Carmarthen were again penalised for a scrum infringement but Abercrave’s full-back failed with the kick from an easy position. From the drop out Carmarthen through two good touch kicks by Derek Lewis and Gwyn Davies drove play down to the Abercrave line but they were once again foiled by Bater’s kicking. From a scrum infringement near the touchline between the “25” line and the half-way line Abercrave were penalised and Bryan Isaacs kicked a glorious 40 yard goal. Half-time came with Carmarthen still pressing.
Playing with the wind in the second half Abercrave started off with a bang, using the high punt and fast following up but found the Carmarthen defence equal to everything they tried. Carmarthen were again penalised but again the kick at goal failed. Carmarthen by this time were again getting on top and Bryan Isaacs, after an interception, crossed between the posts but the referee ruled a knock-on and disallowed the score. From a scrum on the Abercrave line, Carmarthen heeled, Keith Lewis gave a long pass to Derrick Lewis who was through before the defence could move and crossed for a score but again the referee disallowed the try. Abercrave were penalised for lying on the ball on the “25” line half-way between the centre of the field and the touchline. Bryan Isaacs again kicked a superb goal to give Carmarthen a well deserved lead of six points. The game ended with Carmarthen still attacking.
The Carmarthen team were cheered by the Abercrave players and supporters. A well-deserved victory with Carmarthen worthy winners by adapting themselves to the conditions better than Abercrave. Full marks to all Carmarthen players.