The Warriors reached another milestone with their 125th match when they travelled to Pontyberem on Dec 27th. Various hang overs, family commitments and the weather probaly helped decimate the Warriors squad although at least most experienced player John Horwood (New dental work) and Captain Jason Jenkins (Bad knee/tired/going out afterwards) turned up to watch, as did much of New Dock Stars helping Chris to celebrate his birthday (although their support didn't actually extend to watching the match itself). Thankfully James Dew and Alex made debuts whilst Wayne Rodgers made a rare apperance. The Warriors total of 17 players was certainly better than the hosts who eventually managed to get 13 meaning those who subbed for the Warriors played for Pontyberem.
Christmas spirit was obviously in the air as the match was well natured (well one ickle incident) and neither Killer or Weredyatakher had a strop or pwdi. Louie was also in good spirits parading his new 'Leg end of Stradey' shirt. Stand in skipper Colin Talcon and Jason Jenkins chose birthday boy Chris Spriggs as man of the match despite Killer having a fine all round game. many thanks to Tracey for driving the bus and Alun for sorting out the Pontyberem team.
For their 125th match the Warriors travelled to Pontyberem for their annual Christmas match and for the second year running it was a draw. The teams were once again evenly matched and only a point has now separated the side in their last 3 seasons.
Both sides had a slightly unfamiliar look. The Warriors gave debuts to James Dew and Alex Howells and were missing several regulars. Pontyberem mainly used their 2nd team alongside some youngsters and a couple of first teamers looking for match practise after injury.
The Warriors got off to a dream start with good quick ball. Wayne Rodgers found himself in space on the 22 and used his strength and speed to power over. Tony Whittaker added the conversion.
The game settled to an engaging affair with the ball given plenty of air. Pontyberem looked to run at almost every opportunity whilst the Warriors mixed their game more with Jon Kerr providing excellent lineout ball throughout the game. The Warriors defence looked a bit fragmented on several occasions and Pontyberem put the ball through the hands to score mid way through the half and drew the scores level.
For Pontyberem Justin Lloyd ran things affectively from fly half whilst Richard Evans and Tony Whittaker had a great battle on the wing. The Warriors backs looked sharp on occasion but their recent lack of matches was evident in some spurred chances. Lock Jon Kerr showed them how it was done with a surging run up the middle and flanker Chris Spriggs was named man of the match for his battling performance.
Pontyberem went into the lead with a second try and probably should have added to that but the Warriors stayed in the hunt with stand in skipper Colin Talcon keeping them going. They finished the game strongly and eventually scrum half Dean Gilasbey just managed to squeeze in at the corner. From as far out as he could be Kerr narrowly missed the conversion which would have snatched the game. Both sides seemed satisfied with a draw and will be able to draw plenty of positives whilst looking forward to next season’s fixture.
Llanelli Warriors: Rob Roberts, Alex Rodgers, Neil Parker (Mathew Jones), Andrew John, Tony Whittaker (Richard Evans), Jonathan Jones, Dean Gilasbey, Colin Talcon (Cpt), James Dew, Jason Bennett, Jon Kerr, Lee Rowlands, Chris Spriggs, Gwilym Lewis, Wayne Rodgers.
Tries: Wayne Rodgers, Dean Gilasbey
Conversion: Tony Whittaker
Man of the Match: Chris Spriggs