Friday, September 05, 2008

Swansea Gladiators 19 Llanelli Warriors 15 (Match 147)

Firstly congratulations to Jonatan 'Killer' Kerr who was voted Captain for the season ahead of team mates Joshua Crowther, Richard Evans and Simon Jenkins. Jonny did a great job and for once had less strops than most of the team. Disapointing result for the Warriors - especially as we dominated most of the game - just didn't quite have the guile to score. A good proper game of rugby though with plenty of knocks - Lee and Andrew John taking heavy hits that left them struggling, Big AL and CriSp geting stingers, Juice taking a blow to the balls (what are the chances!), Simon Tarw needing the usual 4 magic sponges while poor Alan Taylor got something in his eye. After the match Big Al got his birthday celebrated in the usual way, Taylor won the raffle but almost lost his way home and Dai Newsance proved he is still tops for scoff, showing even Huw Bywd the way with 4 helpings of Curry n Chips.
Match report
The Llanelli Warriors started their season against their oldest rivals the Swansea Gladiators as they battled for the Dai Spriggs Memorial Shield. The 14 year old fixture has never needed a trophy to make it a highly competitive match and this was no difference with the referee needing to be at his best to control some heated exchanges. The early season rustiness showed in the Warriors start as the Gladiators stormed into an early three try lead. Showing a strong presence from host club Swansea Uplands they ran the Warriors ragged early on and it initially looked as though a record score was on the cards. Paul Scott showed up well to almost finish off a flowing move but the Llanelli team managed to hold firm. Under new Captain Jonathan Kerr the Warriors slowly began to re-group and force their way up field. They forced a number of penalties (which in hindsight they might have attempted to kick), and spent the remainder of the half generally on the attack. They couldn’t quite make the break through however as Victor Raikar and Alex Brassielo lead the Swansea defence. The Second half continued to see the Warriors in the ascendancy and pushing to the line. The Gladiators however always looked dangerous on the counter with Kristian Simon having an impressive match. Jason Cross had an impressive debut at full back for the Warriors and helped null this threat with some text book defence which later saw him named man of the match. Alan Stephens eventually managed the break through with a bullocking charge down the wing and the Warriors might have got further scores but Simon Jenkins and Alan Taylor were both guilty of moments of madness in otherwise fine performances. Cool heads were needed and half backs Jon Jones and Gwilym Lewis began to steer the Warriors down a more direct route with Jason Bennett, Chris Spriggs and Richard Evans taking on the hard yards. It was a reversal of the usual pattern of this fixture – the Warriors rumbling slowly up field but the Gladiators looking for the quick strike. It was slow work and eventually the Warriors ran out of time, the referee blowing early as tempers continued to fray.Although disappointed with the result there were plenty of positives for the Warriors. Rob Hughes and Huw Jenkins showed up well on their debuts and most aspects of their performance were positive. On this occasion however they had to admit defeat and the Gladiators took proud possession of the Dai Spriggs Shield, at a time when disabled sports are in the headlines with the Paralympics, West Wales can be proud of these two teams who include players with learning difficulties for putting on a magnificent full bloodied rugby match. Llanelli Warriors XV: Jason Cross*, Joshua Crowther, Andrew John, Alun Stephens, Liam Carpenter (Neil Parker), Jon Jones, Gwilym Lewis, Jason Bennett, Jason Jenkins, Huw Jenkins* (Richard Evans), Jonathan Kerr (Cpt), Robert Hughes* (John Horwood), Chris Spriggs, Simon Jenkins, Lee Rowlands (Alan Taylor) Try: Alun Stephens Man of the Match: Jason Cross * Debutant