300 Match lives up to occasion
The 2nd Welsh - West derby of the season saw the Warriors travel to Gloucester for their 300th match and a game worthy of the occasion.
The Llanelli Warriors celebrated their 300th match with an impressive performance to win away against the Gloucester Griffins. The Welsh side needed to call on all that experience as they came from behind in what was a quality encounter at Longlevens rugby club.
The Griffins are at the other end of the experience spectrum and were playing their 6th fixture. They came into the match on the back of an unbeaten tournament in Surrey and were looking to start their 2nd season proper with a bang.
They showed this good form with a storming start that saw them 10 nil up in as many minutes. An early penalty was kicked to the corner and Laurence Roberts peeled of the line out to make a try for Alex Redworth. The Griffins backs then showed what they were able to do with centre Andrew Reaver hitting a nice line and cutting through to go over. The Warriors were indebted to full back Thomas Edwards who returned any kicks with credit and got them out of jail on several occasions.
The Griffins were in full flow and the Warriors very quickly had to step up their game. Simon Day put in the kind of tackle that can lift a team and they managed to stem the tide. Slowly the Warriors came back into the game. Fly half Jamie Evans found a gap and got them off the mark and then quick hands gave Tom Ashour enough room to get outside his man and cross out wide. Pollitt’s accurate kicking saw the Warriors edge ahead.
The Warriors even managed a third try in a tight half with Jamie Evans getting his second to flatter the visitors at that point.
The second half was just as entertaining. Griffins’ half back Fortley and Nestola pulled the string effectively for the Griffins whilst Francis was at the heart of an aggressive pack. For the Warriors Dan Grinter did the basics well and Jordan Cannon had an impressive debut. Dylan Crolla made a storming break and he and Craig James were rewarded for good support play with tries.
Yanis Whiteley came off the bench with an impressive performance. A jinking running game was added to his trade mark tackling and he scored a fine try. The Griffins were too good a side to not come back and they finished the match the stronger. Their strong running centre stormed through for a solo try and completed the scoring when he finished off a finely executed backs move.
Both sides were able to see plenty of positives in what was a quality encounter. The Warriors though had managed to mark their milestone achievement, the first mixed ability side to play 300 games with the sweet taste of victory.
Warriors : Thomas Edwards, Simon Day (Jordan Cannon*), Johnathon Kearney (Nathan Lawson), Ben Winstanley, Tom Ashour (Kieran Morgan), Jamie Evans, Craig Evans, Mark Lewis (Gareth Emery), James Duke (Dylan Crolla), Colin Tacon (Dan Grinter), John Horwood (Andrew Davies), Daren Pollitt (Richard Taylor), Nathan Lawson (Jordan Jones), Tomos Hall (Dai Haines), Gwilym Lewis (Yanis Whiteley)
Scores: Tries - Jamie Evans (2), Nathan Murthy, Dylan Crolla, Craig James, Thomas Ashour, Yanis Whiteley. Conversions - Darren Pollitt (2), Dan Grinter
Back of the Match: Jamie Evans. Forward of the Match: Yanis Whiteley
Great trip - thanks to all who came up to support. Great to have so many along to support. Some superb performances including Tom Ed, Daydream (two massive tackles), Special K, Kieran, Duchess and Bambi.
A tough enough game that we went down 10 points in 10 minutes and with some big hits and general stroppiness. Get well soon to Bambi who has broken a bone in his arm. Dai Haines also did well to get up from a big hit. Apart from that it will be remembered for Cannonball's 1st game and a (nearly) naked bus trip home. Very proud of the whole day!
For those worried about the incident before the game when John Horwood walked into a sign - the sign is fine and there are no damages to pay for.
The Griffins also wrote a match report and between the two articles there is all the information you need on this fixture:
Longlevens Mixed Ability Team Match Report
Match Report by Richard Steward (Gloucester Griffins)
In the Griffins 8th game they played a very experienced Llanelli side who have managed 300 games in 25 years. So, to say they were up against it was an understatement.
The Griffins gave three debuts to prop Laurence, ten Jake and new player-coach Darren at twelve. This game would be a good idea to see how far the griffins had come in their short period of becoming a team.
They started game as underdogs but went out like a whippet scoring twice in opening ten minutes. Try’s from second row Dave Francis who did his famous pick up and flop over the line, scrum half Elliot Fortey who picked up from base of ruck ten meters out refused to pass the ball out wide where there was two team members and no defenders, but he did manage to run over the Llanelli winger to score under the posts. It was a completely different story as the rest of the half Llanelli dominated and scored three unanswered try’s. It was a strong performance from the Griffins fifteen. Despite being stripped of the ball several times there were strong runs from Ryan Ponting and Luke Pegler. Eight and seven Rich Steward and Alex Redworth were everywhere in attack and defence and played outstanding games. Unfortunately, there was no lineout option, so Laurence and Alex gave an option for lineout thrower Steward at front and back of the lineout.
Half time Griffins 12 – 21 Warriors
The second half saw a few changes for the Griffins who emptied the bench making sure everyone played at least forty minuets. With Saul, Sam, Chris and Nathan coming on for the home side.
The second half started as the first finished with the away team scoring two try’s and converting both. Then the Griffins scored an outstanding team try from their own ten-meter line. It started with a solid scrum picked up by number eight Rich Steward who beat two defenders and popped the ball up to scum half Elliot Fortey who drew in defenders before passing to Darren at ten, He drew defenders in and passed to Chris Yorke who ran a very good line being brought down five meters out. A solid ruck from Jordan and captain Reece ensured quick ball back to Darren who crashed over. Llanelli scored quickly after that.
The last play of the game saw the Griffins score their fourth try from a penalty fifteen meters out saw Rich Steward crash through to the Llanelli try line where he was brought down and outrageous over his head offload to the on coming winger James Marshall who dived for the line to score in the corner.
After the game they all enjoyed a few drinks together and it really projected the spirit of mixed ability rugby.
Gloucester Griffins 24 – 42 Llanelli Warriors