Dragons Amateur sit proudly at the top of the table after the first round of matches in the new Regional Community Championships.
After having to wait an extra week for the first game in the new tournament because of torrential rain, the amateur players drawn from teams in ASDA Leagues 1-5 put on an excellent show.
After the Scarlets Amateur had taken an eighth-minute lead, it was not until the 78th minute that the Dragons Amateur drew level and in the fourth minute of injury time they secured the win. Play was hard throughout with both sides going so intensely at it that one large battle ensued in midfield and a yellow card was later issued. It certainly was no gentle run-around.
Home outside half Jamie Howells (Bargoed) emerged as the hero with the late penalty shot that won the match, but his pack had by the final quarter got on top after conceding the early try to Scarlets hooker Mark Jones (Ammanford). Replacement scrum half Calwyn Morgan benefitted from the late pack supremacy and flanker Lee Edwards gained the pushover try to equalise.
Prop Anthony Lott and skipper David Brake were also prominent for the home side. Howells hit a post with a 40-metre penalty in the first half and often sought to set his clubmate Darren Humphries in to the thick of the action. The try from Edwards came after huge pressure from the pack and a draw seemed likely after Howells had hit the post with his long conversion attempt. However, referee David Williams, who had a good game in charge, played injury time and Howells put over a good long straight shot at goal.
Dragons Amateur 8 Scarlets Amateur 5
Dragons Amateur Try: L Edwards
Pen: J Howells
Scarlets Amateur Try: M Jones Dragons Amateur: R Smith (Blackwood); G Hassell (Pill Harriers), D Humphries (Bargoed), P Price (Caerphilly), J Rees (Caerphilly); J Howells (Bargoed), M Thorogood (Pill Harriers); R Jones (Bargoed), L White (Pill Harriers), A Lott (Bargoed), J Noble (Blaina), L Williams(Croesyceiliog), J Corten (Pill Harriers), D Brake (Caerphilly, capt), L Edwards (Tredegar)
Replacements (all used): J Cross (Caerphilly), R Copeman (Cwmbran), K Gay (Tredegar), B Harding (Blaina), A Packer (Caerphilly), C Morgan (Caerphilly), L Burrows (Pill Harriers)
Scarlets Amateur: T Bonnell (Trimsaran); D Williams (Amman Utd), A Rees (Ammanford), M Banner (Felinfoel), M Jacobs (Llangennech); A Thomas (Amman Utd), C Davies (Llangennech); G Morgan (Llangennech), M Jones (Pontyberem), D Jones (Milford), J Jennings (Narberth), M Richards (Felinfoel), T Jenkins (Aberaeron), S Tyrie (Tenby), P Rees (Felinfoel)
Replacements (all used): M Davies (Narberth), R Williams (Amman Utd), J Lewis (Ammanford), G Jenkins (Haverfordwest), T Davies (Amman Utd), C James (Narberth), G Owen (Kidwelly)
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.
The WRU officially unveiled the new pitch today in time for Wales to take on Australia in the first of the Dove Men Series autumn international matches this Saturday. Head Groundsman Lee Evans and colleague Craig Campbell reflect on the 15-week project and look ahead to a pitch perfect future at Millennium Stadium.