Bridgend castle Carmarthen gambit

Carmarthen Quins 25 Bridgend 28
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The Independent Online
THIS game was supposed to be a tale of simple country folk taking on a leading club. Carmarthen Quins, whose club motto is "success through endeavour", unbeaten at home this season and second in the Fourth Division of the Heineken League, faced Bridgend, who are mid-table in the First Division.

It certainly did not seem that there was a difference of three divisions between them, as the team from Wales' finest dairy county proved extremely bullish to come back from an early deficit of 18-3 to be only three points in arrears at the end.

They were beaten, but far from disgraced: in particular they destroyed the Bridgend scrum in the second half and then moved the ball wide with a will which had Bridgend rocking.

Playing into the bitter gale-force wind, the first division side seemed well in control in the first half after converting an early penalty through Matthew Lewis. Then, looking composed and powerful, they drove a rolling maul over the line for a try by Ian Greenslade.

Although Quins had elected to play with the howling wind, they failed to harness it, but on one of their few sorties into their opponents' 22, their captain, the ex-Bridgend centre Anthony Dragone, kicked a penalty. Bridgend instantly struck back with a try by Nigel Spender.

The more sophisticated control of the Bridgend team at this stage brought a spate of penalties and they were soon rewarded with a Lewis try after good work by Robert Howley. But the home team were far from finished, and they ended the first half with a terrific try. Their barrel-like outside- half Kiley Jones powered his way over for a beautifully taken score, converted by Dragone: 18-0 at half-time.

Carrying on where they left off, Quins continued to embarrass Bridgend and began a tremendous fightback. Their scrum wrested control, and Dragone scored a superb blindside try with an outrageous dummy.

Only crunching tackles kept them out, but then Bridgend scored a vital try through Nathan Thomas, converted by Lewis.

Another penalty from Lewis and it seemed all over, but Quins fought back like tigers and scored two more tries from Nic Jackson and Barry Thomas. When the final whistle blew Bridgend heaved a huge collective sigh of relief.

Carmarthen Quins: B Thomas; R Brookes, K Beynon, A Dragone (capt), N Jackson; K Jones, J Power; P Evans, J Stiles, S Bryant, M Jacob, R Thomas, A Mason, P Beynon, G Jacob.

Bridgend: C Bradshaw; G Webbe, P Menaseitava, D James, P Jones; M Lewis, R Howley; L Manning, I Greenslade, S Lee, G Rowlands, E Williams, N Jones, N Thomas, N Spender.

Referee: Mr P Rees (WRU).

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