Monday, 14 September 2009

Round Up: SWALEC League Division 1

The big Bridgend derby went the way of the Athletic as they inflicted a second successive defeat on the Ravens in Swalec League Division 2 West.

Following the heartbreak of dropping out of the Principality Premiership for the first time last season the Ravens lost all bar six of their squad. It has left coach Gareth Nicholas with a tough, rebuilding task, as was proved by the one point defeat to Narberth on the opening weekend and the 20-13 reverse at the Athletic.

“We haven’t reached panic stations yet, but it is disappointing to have lost the opening two matches,” admitted Ravens chairman David Rees.

“We always knew it was going to be a difficult division in which to acclimatise and we’ve set out our stall to consolidate our playing fortunes this season. We have to create a competitive squad on the field, and then re-build our finances off it.

“We’ve lost around £70,000 in WRU funding through relegation and our overheads at the Brewery Field are much higher than any other club in the division. At at least we are in better shape as a club now than we were four or five years ago.

“In conjunction with the Bridgend Town soccer club we now control the lease at the ground and are developing the business to re-establish the Brewery Field as a real sporting and commercial hub within the town.”

Athletic fullback Stuart Morris put the boot into the Ravens with five penalties, while young outside half Tom Hancock could only hit the mark once along with centre Gareth Howells. A late try from replacement hooker Adrian Chiffi, which Howells converted, bagged a bonus point, but it looks like being a long, hard campaign for the Ravens.

Ian Brooks was the toast of Bonymaen as he grabbed a hat-trick of tries, and 20 points, in his side’s 40-18 victory at Cwmllynfell. The visitors ran in five tries to bag a bonus point to move into fourth place behind three unbeaten sides.

League leaders Carmarthen Athletic were 52-17 victors at Builth Wells, Whitland triumphed 28-21 at Corus and Felinfoel avenged a 39-8 defeat at Narberth at the same stage of last season with a 19-17 victory.

In the East, the students of Uwic ran away with a second successive winning bonus point as they scored four tries at Tredegar in a 33-5 victory that keeps them ahead of Rumney at the top of the table.

The visitors were 21-0 ahead by the interval and had tries from Owen Broad, Rhys Hall, Justin Pakes and Alex Porter to thank fro their latest win. Two tries from scrum half Chris Milton ensured Rumney avenged their double defeat by Ystrad Rhondda last season as they ran out 33-7 winners at home.

The only other unbeaten teams in the division after two rounds of matches are Bargoed and Llanhaaran. Rhys and Darren Humphreys were home try scorers for Bargoed, along with Steffan Jones as they beat Bedlinog 19-14.

The last try came in the final minute with the scores locked at 14-14 to give Bargoed a snatch and grab victory. Two tries, meanwhile, from Lee Thorn helped Llanharan beat Blackwood 21-16.


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