A very hung over and cold Warriors team converged on Pontyberem. An icy December day with enthusiasm not helped by the fact that Team manager Lee Rowlands hadn't organised the kit to be washed since it was last used a month before. 16 players wasn't a bad total the day after boxing day even if Big Al had to be called from his bed. The 16 even fitted fairly well into a team although, Roger, Tony, Andrew, Gwilym, Billo, Lee Mole and Killer Kerr all played out of their prefered positions. As well as a frozen pitch the Warriors had to contend with a physical Pontyberem side who usually play their rugby in Division 2 of the National leagues. Certainly local boys Billo, Mole and Big Al felt the full force of a couple of tackles although Billo got his own back by dancing around Rowe at one point. Tony Willhetakeher finally started in the 2nd row although a very good Christmas made it harder to lift him. At least his blood bin allowed Rich Hapus an early chance to take the field even if it reduced our line out height by 2ft. Once Tony had stopped bleeding Sheep needed to go off but luckily that was as bad as the injury list got. Jason marked his 70th apperance at hooker with a rare try while JCB became just the second person in the club to play two games at No8. Dai Nusiance was in the stands to witness this historic event but the Warriorettes Pauline and Del couldn't handle the cold and missed the 2nd half. Pontyberem raised £50 for the side but Roger needs to work on his thank you speeches. The end of the night saw various Warriors heading off to Witherspoons to wait for birthday boy Chris Spriggs birthday party to start so casualty reports may need to be revised upwards at a later date. No programme or photos for this report - sori.
The Llanelli Warriors rounded off 2005 with a very creditable draw away to Pontyberem. In the middle of the festive period and with Pontyberem further depleted through West Wales call ups both teams had several players out of position and a generally experimental look.
Despite the icy conditions and effects of celebrating Christmas both teams made sprightly starts with a very positive approach.
Mathew Jones soon found out it was to be no seasonal jolly when he was dumped tackled early on, a fate that befell several of the Warriors team during the course of the game. That’s not to say that the game wasn’t played in good spirits though, with the ball thrown about with abandon. This carefree attitude not only made for good entertainment but also broke up the disciplined Bont defence. The Warriors drew 1st blood and gained a lead they would never relinquish when Jon Kerr slipped through under the posts and added the conversion.
Although the Warriors extended their lead through hooker Jason Jenkins they could never get clear of the home team who also scored at regular intervals.
Further tries for the Warriors came through scrum half Gwilym Lewis, Jon Kerr again and Richard Evans. Tony Whittaker had the most eventful game; starting at 2nd row for the 1st time he had to be blood binned for an early bang on the nose but returned to score 14 points through two tries and two conversions which helped him secure man of the match. Other notable performances on the Warriors side came from wing Alan Taylor with some outrageous dummies and debutant Tom Mallon. Kerr also bagged two conversions to complete the Llanelli team’s scoring.
With 10 minutes to go the Warriors were 10 points clear but after 7 minutes Pontyberem got a try and a sniff of the result. They then scored a scorching try from the resulting kick off to tie the scores but couldn’t land the wide conversion. The Warriors stormed back up field and got within yards of a final try but when the ball was trapped at the bottom of a ruck they had run out of time.
With those late dramatic events it may seem as though it was a result they let slip but Pontyberem were good value for a draw and the Warriors looked rusty having not played for a while. Pontyberem swung the ball about throughout the day with significant displays from Rowe and Abbot whilst Dafydd Evans got the pick of their scores.
Warriors XV: Rob Roberts, Alan Taylor, Alun Stephens, Mathew Jones, Tom Mallon, Andrew John, Gwilym Lewis, Colin Talcon, Jason Jenkins, Roger Thomas (Cpt), John Horwood, Tony Whittaker (Richard Evans), Jon Kerr, Paul Jayseabee, Lee Rowlands.
Tries: Jon Kerr (2), Jason Jenkins, Gwilym Lewis, Richard Evans, Tony Whittaker (2)
Conversions: Kerr (2), Whittaker (2)
Man of the match: Tony Whittaker
Check out Pontyberem's web site HERE, the review of the game also appears HERE or HERE on the web