By: Paul Hopkins
Swansea secured their first league victory of the season with an impressive performance at Carmarthen Park.
The build up to the match was dominated by the news that British Lions and Wales international Ken Owens would start at hooker for the Quins – and he hardly put a foot wrong in the 40 minutes he was on the pitch.
It was a promising start for the home side when a chip and chase was well gathered by winger Geraint Llewellyn, but opposite number Iestyn Hopkins managed to defuse a high kick by full back Dale Ford to prevent the attack.
The Quins’ pack was penalised for driving down at a scrum and fly half Dan Edwards found touch just over half way. Scrum half Gareth Rees took too long to feed his backs though and an excellent tackle by flanker Richard Bloomfield secured a turnover.
Fly half Luke Davies found touch on the Swansea 22 with a penalty and the visitors were further penalised for an infringement at the maul so Davies kicked further towards the corner. Lock Ryan Bean collected the lineout, but although the Quins’ pack drove towards the try line, they weren’t able to get possession out of the maul.
Scrum half Archie Hughes took a quick lineout and burst up to the 22, but Ford held on for too long in the tackle and gave away a relieving penalty.
A superb box kick by Gareth Rees bounced into touch inside the opposing 22, earning Swansea possession thanks to the 50-22 rule. The Whites got quick ball out wide to Hopkins and it took three tacklers to bundle him into touch to save a certain try.
A long kick by Luke Davies caught Harri Houston in two minds and the winger stepped into touch, but Bloomfield spilled the resulting lineout forward.
A superb break by Edwards almost ended in a try in the corner for Swansea, but the home side managed to track back and Houston was unable to take the crucial pass.
Hopkins danced through a few tackles after taking a long pass out wide and the supporting flanker Harri Deaves sent a difficult inside pass to prop Cameron Jones, but he wasn’t on the same page and lost possession forward.
Lock Lewis Jones took a lineout on the Quins’ 22, and Gareth Rees took a quick tap penalty after the home forwards failed to release the man in the tackle, but Deaves dropped the ball to end the attack.
Hopkins superbly stopped a potential 50-22 kick from creeping across the line, but pressure by the home side forced Swansea to hurriedly clear. The Quins were awarded a penalty though and replacement full back Steffan Marshall chose to kick at goal and his effort sailed between the posts.
Full back Cai Evans found touch inside the Carmarthen half with a typical booming kick. A poor lineout throw was almost intercepted by the home side, but Swansea recovered. Gareth Rees made 20 yards with a quick tap penalty, but support was slow to arrive and Swansea were penalised for diving over the top of the ruck.
Houston failed to take a Hughes box kick and the visitors were penalised for offside. Luke Davies found touch on the 22 but an excellent Swansea defence sent the home side backwards from the lineout.
Half-time:- Carmarthen Quins 3-0 Swansea
Bloomfield stole a lineout inside his own half, but Hughes’ clearance kick was straight down the throat of Houston, who set the Whites on their way. The move broke down though when Gareth Rees forced a pass to Cameron Jones, which was spilled forward.
The Whites grabbed their first try against the run of play when Cameron Jones intercepted a Hughes pass and raced clear to score under the posts. Evans converted.
Carmarthen looked to hit back immediately and Luke Davies made a break up to the 22, but the Whites successfully managed to slow the ball down.
Swansea attacked with more intent though and centre Hanno Dirksen almost broke through after a dummy, but this time it was the Quins who slowed down play. The visitors recycled the ball though and earned a penalty after the Quins were caught offside in midfield. Evans kicked the three pointer.
Cameron Jones made a typical burst through, but the supporting replacement flanker Morgan Morse dropped the pass. Instead, Hughes picked up the loose ball and sprinted up to the Swansea 22 where he was well tackled. Quick thinking by Edwards gave Houston a chance to stretch his legs and the winger chased after a well timed kick, but the bounce evaded him and allowed Morgan Griffiths to track back and defend.
Luke Davies dropped a high ball inside his own half to gift the Whites with an attacking set piece. Gareth Rees got the ball out quickly, but the backs overcomplicated the move with Dirksen failing to take the pass.
Swansea’s second try came in spectacular fashion when Hopkins burst onto a pass at speed and sidestepped his way past a tackler, before sprinting towards the line and using his strength to stretch over the line under pressure. Evans converted.
Deaves broke through a tackle and sent a dummy, before he tried to repeat the feat and was tackled. Swansea recycled the ball though with Houston popping up on the wing, but replacement prop Ben Warren failed to take the pass.
Griffiths defended a cleverly skewed kick by Edwards with the on rushing replacement full back Morgan Rees too eager as he gave away a penalty. Replacement hooker Torin Myhill’s lineout throw was stolen by substitute prop Scott Jenkins and the Swansea backs threw the ball through many hands and eventually found replacement centre Matthew Jenkins, who touched down in the corner. Edwards converted.
With time running out Luke Davies kicked to the corner with a penalty and Swansea illegally brought down an advancing maul. The move saw Warren shown a yellow card too.
Edwards found touch on the 22 with a penalty as his side went in search for a bonus point try. Flanker Trystan Davies lost the ball forward at the lineout though and Quins were able to clear.
Matthew Jenkins thought he had secured a bonus point with a last gasp interception, but a knock on brought an end to the move and the match.
Next up for Carmarthen Quins is a trip to league leaders Aberavon, while Swansea host mid table Pontypridd.
Full-time:- Carmarthen Quins 24-10 Swansea
Tries:- Penalty try (80)
Pens:- Steffan Marshall (30)
Tries:- Cameron Jones (45), Iestyn Hopkins (65), Matthew Jenkins (76)
Cons:- Cai Evans (46, 66), Dan Edwards (77)
Pens:- Cai Evans (54)
Yellow cards:- Ben Warren (80)
Venue:- The Park, Carmarthen
Weather:- Sunny, 16C
Referee:- Elgan Williams
Man of the match:- Iestyn Hopkins
Carmarthen Quins team:
15 Dale Ford (rep: Steffan Marshall 20)
14 Geraint Llewellyn
13 Dylan Richards (rep: Lucca Setaro 41)
12 Josh Batcup
11 Morgan Griffiths
10 Luke Davies
9 Archie Hughes
1 James Newnian (rep: Steffan Phillips 48)
2 Ken Owens (rep: Torin Myhill 41)
3 Connor Allen (rep: Alex Williams 69)
4 Ryan Bean (rep: Ryan Evans 67)
5 Lee Taylor ©
6 Richard Bloomfield
7 Tom Curry (rep: Gethin Davies 59)
8 Will Icke (rep: Lawrence Reynolds 59)
16 Torin Myhill
17 Steffan Phillips
18 Alex Williams
19 Ryan Evans
20 Gethin Davies
21 Lawrence Reynolds
22 Lucca Setaro
23 Steffan Marshall
15 Cai Evans (rep: Morgan Rees 70)
14 Iestyn Hopkins
13 Hanno Dirksen
12 Dan O’Sullivan (rep: Matthew Jenkins 64)
11 Harri Houston
10 Dan Edwards
9 Gareth J Rees (rep: Ben Ley 72)
1 Cameron Jones (rep: Scott Jenkins 72)
2 Garan Williams (rep: Kian Jones 77)
3 Ellis Fackrell (rep: Ben Warren 41)
4 Huw Sutton
5 Lewis Jones (rep: Lewis Marsh 52)
6 Trystan Davies
7 Harri Deaves
8 Callum Bowden © (rep: Morgan Morse 52)
16 Kian Jones
17 Scott Jenkins
18 Ben Warren
19 Lewis Marsh
20 Morgan Morse
21 Ben Ley
22 Matthew Jenkins
23 Morgan Rees