Despite the 5 hour journey to Oxfordshire, the squad were able to shrug of the rigours of the trip and produce a performance that pleased the coaches and supporters.
All the party were used and gave every indication that they will hold their own in the Premiership. Their opponents were a respected outfit from the English First Division, and appeared a bigger pack, only to be met with a Quins squad who would not be beaten.
From the opening set piece it was pleasing to see the that the Quins eight were not going to messed with, to the surprise of the home support. The opening score was as a result of a powerful surge by the home eight for Rupert White to touch down and outside half Geoffrey Small to convert in the 9th minute. This was matched three minutes later when the Quins pack smashed upfield for Ben Leung to crash over, for Steff Marshal to level matters. Marshall was able to use the tricky wind to gain valuable ground, but it was the boot of Small to add the next points with a 30 meter penalty to restore the lead for the home side.
After a series of line outs that both sides used to gain ground, Steffan Marshall slotted over a 35 minute penalty to again level the scores. The dreaded extra injury time curse struck and the home side scored their second try when centre James Beaty crossed for Small to improve and give the English side an interval lead of 17-10. The expected changes by both sides, who wanted to give game time to most of their squads, proved just how strong both clubs were going to be for the season ahead.
As early as the 43rd minute Nick Reynolds sliced through the home defence to score a well taken try for again Steffan Marshall to convert to level matters. Even with the changes, the Quins pack were more than holding their own with Haydn Pugh and Lee Taylor controlling the line out and their half backs finding yards with shrewd kicking. Mid way through the half the home side regained the lead when Roddy Mathews toughed down for Small to add the conversion, back came the Quins for Morgan Griffiths to make many yards, taking play up to the home line and from quick possession Aron Hemmings found Richard Bloomfield in support to dive over.
The vital conversion was missed, leaving the Quins two points adrift. The final ten minutes saw the Quins confine play deep in the home 22 and a desperate clearance by the home side saw play move into the Quins 22 with the 80 minutes up, Robert James was able to scramble over for the deciding score,
The match has proved a valuable exercise for the Squad and all look forward to the coming season but due to various reasons it will be well into October before the Park will see the teams first home match
Paul joined us in August 2001, when we were in Division 1. He had previously played for Dunvant. Swansea and 16 caps for Wales. He played against England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Barbarians. Australia and others. His 6Ft 6ins frame had given him the chance to shine in the line out and his fitness level was the envy of most. Our then Coach, Peter Elsom was responsible for persuading Paul to join us and his signing was to prove one of the best we have made. Paul would turn up for training and matches, with a plastic bag, holding an Apple and a Banana and would always give 100% for the club.
He only missed 1 of the 32 League matches in his opening season 2001/2, scoring tries against Llanharan and Blackwood, and after a victory over Llangennech in the Tovali Cup semi final narrowly losing to Llandovery in the final. In those days we beat Merthyr 85-5 in the Park and the double over them at the Wern by 31-10.
The following season 2003/4, Paul played in 33 of the 34 League matches, and scored 9 tries to create a Club record for a Lock Forward and certainly helped us into a promotion place and the Premier Division for the first time. An opening match win by 53-3 over Beddau and 25 other victories, led to us rattling up 140 tries and 1139 points, and two league wins in successive weeks by 73 points in each, against Treorchy and Rhumney were influenced by Paul’s contribution.
Season 2003/4, saw us take on 15 other top Welsh Clubs, The challenge was set and to the squads credit they responded to that challenge. After losing the opening matches to Cardiff and Pontypridd, they ran in 6 wins on the trot with Paul’s dominance in the line out, immense. He scored 6 tries to take us into 5th place in our first season in the Premier. An added bonus was Paul’s try against Llandovery in the Tovali Cup semi final win and taking the Cup in the Final against Llangennech.
Season 2004/5 saw the Quins win their opening 5 matches which included that famous evening on Sept 11th at Sardis Road when the team slammed Pontypridd 23-NIL, and Paul’s efforts helped the Quins complete the double over Ponty with a 28-13 victory in the Park. This was Paul’s first win and double over them after many attempts. Paul scored a try in the Clubs record Welsh Cup win away at Tredegar Ironsides by 81-0 and was in the side that beat Cardiff in the next round of the Welsh Cup. We finished in 7th place and our 84-7 win over Newbridge was our record League win up to then.
Paul played in 31 of the 32 League matches.
Season 2005/6 was a season not to be remembered as with only 9 win out of 30, relegation followed, but a plus was our win over Pontypridd by 31-15 with Paul playing in 18 of the 22 matches.
Season 2006/7 with 16 wins out of 22 took us into 2nd place and just missed out on promotion back to the Premier. Paul played in all 22 League games and was in the side that won the Tovali Cup.
Another second place in season 2007/8 saw us win 17 of the 22 matches. Third time lucky was the slogan for us gaining Promotion back to the Premier in 2008/9 with Paul playing a major part in the Clubs success once again and another Tovali Cup win against Loughor, a feather in Paul’s cap.
His stay with us was a highlight for all Quins supporters, and an inspiration to all who played with him. Paul was seen in Tenby the other day for the ‘Iron Man’ run and true to form, under his arm was his trademark apple and banana, which had seen him right throughout his career. He is a force in these Iron man events as he was on the rugby field.
A true MIGHTY QUINN
PAUL ARNOLD STATS:
Date of birth: 28th April 1968
Place of birth: Morriston, Swansea
- Joined the Quins in the Summer of 2001
- Captained the Quins in Seasons 2002/03 and 2003/04
- Has played a total of 240 games for the Quins 1st XV
- Played a key role in the Quins gaining promotion to the Premiership in 2003/04 and regaining their Premiership status in 2009/10
- He is the quickest player in the Premiership to achieve 100 League games missing just 4 matches in 104 games in the period between 01.09.2001 and 09.10.2004
- Was involved in the team’s highest Welsh Cup score against Tredegar Ironsides on the 18th December 2004 (also scoring a try) which they won by 81pts – 0
- Is the highest capped player to have joined the Quins at the end of an international career
Has played for Swansea; Carmarthen Quins; Ebbw Vale and Dunvant
- Played for Swansea RFC from 1987-2000 and 2009-2011
- Played a total of 308 games for Swansea scoring 41 tries
- Has played for the Barbarians; Wales Under 21; Wales ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams
WALES: Gained the first of his 16 Welsh caps in 1989 and played his last international game in 1997
Huge warm welcome to Geraint Llewellyn who joins us from Tata Steel. The full back who can also play on the wing has previously had spells with the Neath and Cardiff RFC. An excellent attacking full back who is a 7’s specialist will bring an exciting dimension to our back line this coming season.
Geraint said ‘I am really excited to be linking up with the Quins. I have played against the Quins the last two years for Tata and the brand of rugby they play and their professionalism really turned my head. Now the hard work starts, but I really can’t wait to get started’.
Give Ollie a follow on twitter @Geraint10llew
Huge warm welcome to Oliver Evans who joins us from Bridgend RFC. The 24 year old loose head prop has previously had spells with the Ospreys and Narberth and will bring power and physicality to our front row. Haverfordwest born Ollie is the better looking brother of Scarlet Rob Evans who himself made 34 league appearances for the Quins in the Welsh Premiership.
Ollie said ‘I am looking forward to the challenge of the new Indigo Premiership with the Quins. When the Quins made contact with me and talked through their plans, together with the opportunity to be closer to my west Wales roots, it was too good an opportunity to let go. The boys have made me feel really welcome and I can’t wait to get into action’.
Give Ollie a follow on twitter @OliverEvans8
Andrew joined the Quins in July 2003, when we were promoted into the Premier Division, after spells with Tenby, and Aberavon. When with the ‘Wizards’ he gained more ‘man of the match’ awards than any of their other players, and went on to emulate that honour with the Quins. Many believe that if records were kept, he would be the leading contender for the whole Premier Division and it was for this reason that he was selected to play for the world famous Barbarians.
His opening League match was against his former side, Aberavon, at the Talbot ground on Sept 6-03. He crossed for two tries in the Park against Ebbw Vale in the Park on Nov 11-03 and went on to score 30 more tries in his ten seasons with us. In his opening season he played in the Tovali Cup winning team against Llangennech, 29-10, and Dropped a goal up in Ebbw Vale, and went on to play in 21 Premier Division matches that season. In his second season, on Sept 11-04, he played a major part in that amazing night at Sardis Road, in the drizzle the Quins ran out winners by 23 points to NIL. The nil was the first time for the Ponty side to fail to register a point on their hallowed turf, in living memory. The eleven days between the 11th and 22nd of December-04 were memorable for us and Andrew, as we were the only side to complete the double over Pontypridd that season with a home 28-13 win in the Park, a week later we registered our record Welsh Cup victory with an 81-0 win against Tredegar Ironsides and Andrew scored two tries, and four days later we beat Pontypool in the Park, 34-0. He scored 2 tries against Swansea on Feb- 2- 04, and his SECOND drop goal a week later against Cardiff in the Park. He went on to play in 28 Premier matches that season.
With just 9 wins in season 05-06, relegation was inevitable, but again we managed a win against Pontypridd in the Park by 32-15.
We finished runners up in the then Division 1, with Andrew playing in 21 Leagues games. And he slotted his 3rd Drop Goal down in Narberth to win 26-23. Runner up again in 07-08 with Andrew scoring 7 tries and playing in our Tovali Cup victory against the Athletic and crossing for a try.
In the following Season 08-09, we lost only one League game to Tonmawr 3-5 and regained promotion back to the Premier. Andrew scored THREE tries in our Cup victory over Maesteg Quins and went on to score another 5 tries, helping us get back in the Premier. He played in the third consecutive Tovali Cup victory over Loughor 4 April 2009.
After an average 2009/10 season, Andrew played in all our Cup matches, Athletic, Blackwood, Glamorgan Wanderers all Away , up to that never to be forgotten Semi Final at The Brewery Field, and he played a huge part in a 41-12 thrashing of Pontypridd. And on to the Millennium for the Final. We were desperately unlucky against Llanelli.
Season 2010/11 was not one of our best, but again we beat Pontypridd but without Andrew who was injured, but the season saw Andrew play his 100th Premier Division match up at Tonmawr and end his season with 2 tries up at Llandovery.
Season 2011/12 saw him pass another land mark by playing 200 league matches for the Quins, a rare feat these days, and crossing for 4 tries, and yet another victory over Pontypridd in the Park, his 5th win over them, not many, if any players have achieved this in their careers. He played 259 times for the Quins in all categories and score 32 tries, a magnificent record and he will always be referred to as a true MIGHTY QUIN.
We are delighted to welcome Ben to Carmarthen Quins. Leung who turns 25 this month is a 120kg tighthead prop who will bring scrummaging power and a top class skill set. A Llanelli product who has a Wales U20 cap and has previously played for Llanelli RFC, Scarlets, Cardiff RFC and most recently with Bergerac in France, in the highly competitive Federal Division One.
Ben said ‘I am looking forward to the challenge of the new Indigo Premiership with the Quins. When the Quins made contact with me when I was in France, they had a vision of where they want to be and it was a great chance to link up with head coach Emyr Phillips, I bought in very quickly’.
Give Ben a follow on twitter @benleung3