Warriors come through in big old derby
A late flourish wins a tight match for impressive Warriors
Old rivals the Warriors and the Gladiators met to play out the 26th edition of this fixture which back in 1995 was the Warriors 1st ever game. Traditionally the matches are tight and passionate and so it proved again, a quality encounter that belied the fact that both sides include players with and without disabilities.
The Warriors produced their best performance of the season to achieve this victory and needed to against a powerful Gladiators side. Games are won up front and so it proved. The Gladiators got their strong men carrying right from the start with Andrew Bennett and Victor Reakar making constant inroads. It was only bodies on the line from Andrew Davies, Jordan Jones and Thomas Ashour that kept things contained. After an even start the Gladiators exploited a forwards charge, and with the backs on the front foot, they made room for an early try under the posts for a 7 nil lead.
The Warriors defense continued to work hard and when they had their chance the Warriors were able to make good headway with Dai Haines and Darren Pollitt carrying well, eventually Rhys Evans crossed out wide. The Warriors missed a penalty so the Gladiators led 7-5 at the break.
The Gladiators looked to their powerful maul to get them going and in itself and as a platform for blind side snipes it worked well but the Warriors were never quite stretched to the point of breaking. Good pressure from Andrew Davies helped disrupt their line-out ball and effect their confidence to launch these attacks. In the backs Ieuan Stitch orcastrated well at 10 and Gemine and Lewis caused problems with their hard running.
The Warriors though were starting to edge possession and they finally went ahead when Willy Browne ghosted through the forwards for an opportunist try. Another missed penalty meant the Warriors couldn’t pull away and with the likes of Richard Lowe looking sharp and Stephen Joseph full of energy the Gladiators posed plenty of threat.
Finally a decisive flurry ended the game, Adam Fussell broke through on the back of some forward carries for a try neatly converted and finally Dylan Crollar topped a fine debut with a try in the corner.
In such a tight game there was no way back and despite their best efforts the Gladiators were edged out of this high quality contest whilst the Warriors will take bragging rights for this season.
Llanelli Warriors: Adam Davies, Thomas Ashour (Elliot Griffiths, Yannis Whitely), Adam Fussell (Lee Rowlands), Ben Winstanley (Jonathan Kearney), Simon Day (Dylan Crollar), Jamie Evans, Liam Tobias, Will Bowne (Rhys Evans), Richard Evans (Nathan Lawson), Mark Lewis (Gareth McKibbon, Dai Haines), Darren Pollitt (John Horwood), Andrew Davies, Jordan Jones (Gareth Ladd), Simon Jenkins
Tries: Will Browne, Dylan Crollar, Rhys Evans, Adam Fussell.
Conversions: Simon Jenkins (2)
Man of the Match: Simon Jenkins
A very pleasing fixture from a Warriors point of view with work in training evident on the field, lots of players (but still missing a couple of key members) and a win.
A real bodies on the line effort Simon Day has torn shoulder ligaments - get well soon Daze
Nice to have a packed clubhouse afterwards and to present the Gladiators with the ARI shield - congratulations, nice speech from Richard Evans.
All in all one to remember for the club
Match program can be downloaded here