By: Paul Hopkins
The All Whites’ hoodoo against Carmarthen continued as they fell to a tenth successive defeat against the Quins in all competitions.
With both sides fielding stronger than usual sides in the Fosters Cup, it was the Quins who finished on top and claimed victory thanks to a hat trick of tries by star full back Chris Banfield.
The home side looked in total control in the opening quarter and the Quins struggled to gain any ball inside the Whites’ half. The first attack began when number eight Rory Gallagher popped a pass to winger Josh Jones in midfield and he raced over the twenty-two, only for his return pass to Gallagher to sail into touch.
When the Quins were penalised for offside at the ruck, fly half Jac Wilson kicked to the corner. Hooker Paul John drove forward to within a few metres of the line and Carmarthen were again penalised for killing the ball. This time though the visitors managed to repel a Swansea maul to secure a turnover.
John again charged into the twenty-two and found winger Richard Williams, but he lost the ball forward when trying to pass to centre David Watts.
The visitors took the lead against the run of play when they stole ball at a lineout with fly half Craig Evans making a superb break through the middle, finding Banfield on his shoulder, who showed great pace to score. Evans’ conversion was horribly scuffed low and wide of the posts.
Swansea soon hit back when Williams sprinted through the middle leaving the Quins’ defence for dead, before he threw a scoring pass to Watts. Wilson converted.
Flanker Andrew Green looked to race downfield on the wing and chipped ahead into space, but the chasing Quins players were penalised for holding back a Swansea defender.
Carmarthen scored the try of the match when Evans deftly chipped a ball into the corner, which was well collected by winger Kieran Jones, who ran at the Swansea defence, before finding Banfield who did the rest. Evans converted.
When Swansea collapsed a scrum on the stroke of half time Evans kicked to touch. From the lineout prop Connor Allen pealed off a maul towards the try line, but the Whites’ pack managed a powerful counter drive to secure a crucial turnover.
Half-time:- Swansea 7 Carmarthen 12
Following the late let off in the first half, the All Whites began to inject pace into proceedings through Josh Jones, but the supporting full back Luke Griffiths was bundled into touch.
Winger Lee Williams sprinted into the home twenty-two, but he was crowded out by the defence and his pass to Jones sailed into touch.
It was another missed opportunity for Swansea when they had a close range lineout, only for Green to rise high to pluck the ball out of the air, allowing his side to clear.
The Whites should have scored when Wilson split the Carmarthen defence, but he failed to spot the supporting Josh Jones, who would have likely scored in the corner. Instead he took the ball into contact and moments later lock Gavin Ronan lost possession.
Allen charged forward into the twenty-two to set up an attack for the visitors and Wilson failed to deal with a grubber kick by replacement fly half Josh Batcup. However, from the resulting scrum Green fumbled the ball forward.
Gallagher took a quick free kick and made his way up to half way, but the supporting replacement hooker Ricky Guest was penalised for holding on after the tackle. Aiming to seal victory Batcup’s effort at goal fell well short of the posts.
It wasn’t until the first minute of injury time that the visitors finally put the game beyond the Whites. Batcup powered into the twenty-two and centre Elliot Davies was held up inches short of the line. From the scrum five the pack forced Swansea backwards at the rate of knots, giving referee Dewi Phillips no option but to award a penalty try. Batcup converted.
The Quins threw caution to the wind in search of a bonus point and they were handed a chance when Williams was caught trying to run out of defence. The visitors took a quick tap penalty and used their backs to get the ball out wide for hat trick hero Banfield to score. Batcup’s conversion fell short of the posts.
The victory means Carmarthen need just three points from their remaining two games to qualify for the semi-finals, while the All Whites crash out of the Fosters Cup.
Next up for Swansea is a home match against Llanelli, while Carmarthen host Llandovery – both matches in the Principality Premiership.
Full-time:- Swansea 7 Carmarthen 24
Tries:- David Watts (28)
Cons:- Jac Wilson (29)
Tries:- Chris Banfield (20, 36, 80+5), Penalty try (80+1)
Cons:- Craig Evans (37), Josh Batcup (80+2)
Venue:- St Helen’s, Swansea
Referee:- Dewi Phillips
Weather:- Light rain, 9C
Man of the match:- Chris Banfield
15 Luke Griffiths (rep: Rory Garrett 62)
14 Josh Jones
13 Ewan Gully
12 David Watts (rep: Lee Edgecombe 69)
11 Richard Williams
10 Jac Wilson
9 Rhodri Wells (rep: Mike Jones 57)
1 Richard Murphy (rep: Dan Kenny 49)
2 Paul John (rep: Ricky Guest 67)
3 Mitchell Walsh (rep: Tom Sloane 67)
4 Gavin Ronan
5 Adam Thresher (rep: Will Ponty 62)
6 Jon Vaughan ©
7 Jack Perkins (rep: Ben Davies 51)
8 Rory Gallagher
16 Ricky Guest
17 Dan Kenny
18 Tom Sloane
19 Will Ponty
20 Ben Davies
21 Mike Jones
22 Rory Garrett
23 Lee Edgecombe
15 Chris Banfield
14 Kieran Jones (rep: Gethin Gibby 80+4)
13 Elliot Davies
12 Callum Price
11 Lee Williams
10 Craig Evans (rep: Josh Batcup 69)
9 Gareth George (rep: Ifan Beynon-Thomas 56)
1 Steffan Phillips
2 Lewis Roberts (rep: Torin Myhill 43)
3 Connor Allen (rep: Nathan Williams 51)
4 Rhys Minchin (rep: Haydn Pugh 65)
5 Ben Thompson
6 Andrew Green
7 Lewys Millin
8 Lee Taylor (rep: Jac Beynon 79)
16 Javan Sebastian
17 Torin Myhill
18 Nathan Williams
19 Haydn Pugh
20 Jac Beynon
21 Ifan Beynon-Thomas
22 Josh Batcup
23 Gethin Gibby