Llanelli kept up the pressure on the teams at the top with a 38-35 victory over Swansea in a pulsating affair at St Helen’s.
Swansea grabbed the first try inside the opening five minutes when winger Richard Williams collected the ball on half way, showing blistering pace to sprint home to score in the corner. Nicky J Thomas missed the conversion.
The visitors hit back when flanker Daniel Thomas picked up a loose ball from the lineout and outpaced winger Rhys Williams to score a try in the corner. Jordan Williams converted.
Two minutes later Llanelli scored a second try when full back Dale Ford made a break in midfield and found winger Kyle Evans, who was on hand to score. Williams converted. Whites fly half Cameron Clement almost scored in the corner after breaks by Richard Williams and number eight Dan Baker, but he was crowded into touch.
The home side hit back when scrum half Jake Cole took a quick tap penalty and found Baker who charged over the line for a try. Nicky J Thomas converted. Williams had an opportunity to kick his side five points clear after the Whites’ defence crept offside, but he missed his effort at goal.
A powerful ten metre drive by the Llanelli pack caused panic in the Whites’ defence, allowing Daniel Thomas to break off the maul and stretch over to score in the corner. Williams missed the conversion.
Half-time:- Swansea 12 Llanelli 19
After a quiet opening to the second half Whites centre Aled Jenkins made a bone crunching tackle on opposite number Nic Reynolds to prevent a breakaway. Moments later the home side turned over possession and Baker used his pace and power to race 30 metres for a try. Nicky J Thomas converted.
Two minutes later the visitors were back in the lead when replacement Stuart Leach ran through the middle and sent Daniel Thomas over for his hat trick. Williams converted. Less than a minute later a good break by Reynolds caught the Whites’ defence asleep and Evans was able to use his pace to score his side’s fifth try. Williams converted.
Nicky J Thomas cut the gap to 11 points with a penalty goal when the Llanelli defence held back a player off the ball. The deficit was then reduced to just eight points with another Nicky J Thomas penalty when the visitors were penalised for diving into a ruck off their feet.
After Williams was wrapped up in a tackle the visitors’ pack entered a ruck offside. As a result Nicky J Thomas kicked a third penalty goal in nine minutes. The home side continue its resurgence with Baker stealing a lineout before replacements Ben Roberts and Jamie Thomas linked up, with Thomas racing in for a try. Nicky J Thomas converted to take his side into a two point lead.
Llanelli replacement Dion Jones looked set to spark a dangerous attack but he was penalised for crossing in midfield. Nicky J Thomas missed the resulting penalty though. With three minutes left on the clock Williams threw a long pass out wide that found substitute Justin James who dived over to score a match winning try. Williams missed the conversion.
In the dying seconds Swansea were awarded a kickable penalty but Nicky J Thomas opted to kick for touch. Despite the Swansea pack battering the defence, Llanelli were able to resist the pressure and managed to clear their lines. In the last act of the match Nicky J Thomas was yellow carded for blocking Williams in midfield.
Next up for Swansea is a home match against Llandovery while Llanelli travel to Bedford in the British and Irish Cup.
Full time:- Swansea 35 Llanelli 38
Star man: Daniel Thomas
Referee: Gwyn Morris
Tries:- Richard Williams (5), Baker (29, 53), J Thomas (72)
Cons:- Nicky J Thomas (30, 53, 73)
Pens:- Nicky J Thomas (60, 64, 69)
Y cards:- Nicky J Thomas (80+3)
Tries:- D Thomas (17, 39, 57), Evans (19, 58), James (77)
Cons:- Williams (18, 20, 58, 59)
15 Nicky J Thomas
14 Richard Williams
13 Aled Jenkins (rep: Matthew Davies 78)
12 David Watts (rep: Ben Roberts 48)
11 Rhys Williams
10 Cameron Clement (rep: Jamie Thomas 61)
9 Jake Cole (rep: Jon Preddy 68)
1 Nicky Smith (rep: Aled Mason 66)
2 Paul John (rep: Scott Otten 61)
3 Ian Williams (rep: Nicky Thomas 61)
4 Ben Fox
5 Jon Barley
6 Rob Dudley-Jones
7 James Bija
8 Dan Baker
16 Scott Otten
17 Aled Mason
18 Nicky Thomas
19 Sam Kiley
20 Matthew Davies
21 Jon Preddy
22 Ben Roberts
23 Jamie Thomas
15 Dale Ford (rep: Dion Jones 56)
14 Kristian Phillips
13 Nic Reynolds
12 Johnny Lewis (rep: Chris Keenan 61)
11 Kyle Evans (rep: Justin James 70)
10 Jordan Williams
9 Gareth Davies
1 Rhys Thomas
2 Craig Hawkins (rep: Kirby Myhill 56)
3 Aled Hopkins (rep: Craig Cross 75)
4 Adam Powell
5 Lewis Rawlins (rep: Nathan Lee White 73)
6 Duane Eager
7 Daniel Thomas
8 Craig Price (rep: Stuart Leach 52)
16 Jamie Kaijaks
17 Kirby Myhill
18 Nathan Lee White
19 Stuart Leach
20 Justin James
21 Chris Keenan
22 Dion Jones
23 Craig Cross
By Paul Hopkins