By: Paul Hopkins
The All Whites suffered a three successive Premiership Cup defeat after Carmarthen Quins’ dominance up front paid off in the second half.
In the opening stages a break by prop Oliver Evans caught the Whites’ defence napping but lock Lee Taylor failed to collect the ball. The home defence was penalised for offside though and fly half Josh Batcup kicked his side into an early lead.
Flanker Will Hickey stole a lineout inside the Quins’ twenty-two and lock Matt Dodd charged forward, but support was too slow to arrive, bringing an end to the move.
Swansea were awarded a penalty on half way after a high tackle and fly half Popham found touch on the visitors’ twenty-two. Lock James Fender took the lineout and fed hooker Owen Thomas on the crash ball, but the Carmarthen defence strayed offside. Popham kicked the easy penalty goal to tie the scores.
A superb break by centre Eddie Jones began a Carmarthen attack, but the supporting scrum half Aron Hemmings was tackled hard by centre Hanno Dirksen, who won back possession for the home side.
Winger Curtis Ford tried to run out of defence, but lost the ball forward in the slippery conditions. His opposite number Gareth Rees then tried to beat his man on the wing, but his grubber kick was easily dealt with by the Quins’ defence.
The Quins were penalised for obstruction and Popham found touch on the twenty-two, but the visitors managed to repel a rolling maul to regather possession.
Full back Leon Randell spotted a gap in the Whites’ defence and raced up to within a metre of the line, finding prop Tyla Murvai in support, but he was well tackled and a handling error ended the move.
The Quins retook the lead on 38 minutes through a Batcup penalty goal after the home side were penalised for offside.
Flanker Jay Williams threatened to break clear on the wing, but the supporting Popham was well tackled. The Quins defence were penalised for offside at the breakdown and Popham tied the score with a successful effort at goal.
A scrummaging infringement by the visitors’ pack gave Swansea a final first half attacking opportunity, but the visitors managed to steal the lineout.
Half-time:- Swansea 6-6 Carmarthen
Dodd made a mini break and was supported by Owen Thomas, but the Quins’ defence crept offside. Popham’s effort at goal sailed horribly wide of the posts.
The visitors scored the game’s first try when winger Dale Ford beat full back Harri Houston and fed Randell, who sprinted down the wing, before sending an inside pass for Hemmings to touch down. Batcup missed the conversion.
The home side almost hit back immediately when prop Tom Sloane powered through the twenty-two, but a good tackle dislodged the ball. Swansea were awarded a penalty in the next passage of play after the Quins defence were caught offside. Popham missed his effort at goal though.
Thomas burst through a tackle and it took three Quins defenders to bring him down close to the line. Play was brought back for a penalty and Popham chipped to the corner. A poor throw by Thomas enabled the visitors to clear the danger.
Swansea were powerless to stop a drive by the Carmarthen pack that appeared destined for the line, giving the referee no option but to award a penalty try, along with a yellow card for replacement flanker Joe Grabham.
The visitors were penalised for failing to release the man in the tackle and Popham kicked to the corner. The ball spilled out of the lineout into the hands of replacement prop Cameron Jones, but Carmarthen stole possession back and cleared long.
In the closing stages a huge scrum by the Quins pack earned a penalty with replacement fly half Steffan Marshall finding touch on the twenty-two. Jones stole possession but was then penalised for holding on after the tackle. Marshall kicked the three pointer to seal victory.
Full-time:- Swansea 6-21 Carmarthen
Pens:- Liam Popham (9, 40+2)
Yellow cards:- Joe Grabham (67)
Tries:- Aron Hemmings (48), Penalty Try (67)
Pens:- Josh Batcup (4, 38), Steffan Marshall (80+1)
Venue:- St Helen’s, Swansea
Weather:- Heavy rain, 13C
Man of the match:- Oliver Evans
15 Harri Houston
14 Josh Carrington
13 Hanno Dirksen
12 J Rhys Williams (rep: Curtis Davies 41)
11 Gareth Rees
10 Liam Popham
9 Connor Tantum (rep: Ben Ley 75)
1 Tom Sloane (rep: Cameron Jones 48)
2 Owen Thomas (rep: Aneurin James 66)
3 Richard Murphy (rep: Alun Dew 68)
4 Matt Dodd (rep: Callum Bowden 40+4-41, 68)
5 James Fender
6 Jay Williams
7 Will Hickey (rep: Joe Grabham 53)
8 Jon Fox © (rep: Callum Bowden 58)
16 Aneurin James
17 Cameron Jones
18 Alun Dew
19 Charlie Davies
20 Joe Grabham
21 Callum Bowden
22 Ben Ley
23 Curtis Davies
15 Leon Randell
14 Dale Ford
13 Nic Reynolds
12 Eddie Jones
11 Curtis Ford
10 Josh Batcup (rep: Steffan Marshall)
9 Aron Hemmings (rep: Rhodri Davies 61)
1 Oliver Evans (rep: Steffan Phillips 75)
2 Torin Myhill (rep: Rhys Lawrence 53)
3 Tyla Murvai
4 Lee Taylor © (rep: Ryan Bean 77)
5 Haydn Pugh
6 Ed Siggery (rep: Caleb Simon 40+4-46, 64)
7 Nic Cudd (rep: Richard Bloomfield 64)
8 Lewys Millin
16 Steffan Phillips
17 Rhys Lawrence
18 Connor Allen
19 Ryan Bean
20 Richard Bloomfield
21 Caleb Salmon
22 Rhodri Davies
23 Steffan Marshall