Rugby Union: Llanelli enjoy rich bounty

Pontyclun 0 Llanelli 80
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THERE MAY not have been romance, but there was still plenty of passion and commitment in this Swalec Cup fourth-round tie. The villagers had their day of glory, at least through the turnstiles and across the bar, as the match drew a bumper crowd, Llanelli did some useful missionary work and the cup holders overcame the first hurdle in this season's defence of their title.

"A job well done," was how Anthony Buchanan, the Llanelli team manager, put it. If only it had been this easy last weekend, when the Scarlets were in Perpignan for the quarter-finals of the European Cup. A couple of the 13 tries they notched at Windsor Fields would have been just the ticket in France.

Nevertheless, they remain on course for a domestic double as they continue to sit proudly on top of the Premier Division and can now look forward to a home tie in round five against Ynysybwl. If it was 80 points against the Division Six East team away from home, the Division Fourth East side can expect similar treatment at Stradey Park in the new year.

In fact, this could have been a record massacre for the Scarlets, had the home side not maintained their spirit and dogged defence right to the final whistle. For that much commitment, the home crowd was right to give its battling heroes a standing ovation as they left the field.

Skipper Matthew Rogers was a shining example from start to finish and even left the field with a smile on his face. But his description of Llanelli was revealing - "too fit, too strong and too fast". That perfectly summed up the difference between a professional and amateur club in the modern era.

Llanelli might also have been helped towards topping their record score, which at present stands at 103 points against South Wales Police years ago, had the pitch been in better condition. They had to make do with seven tries in the first half and six after the interval.

Wayne Proctor enjoyed himself on the right wing as he picked up a hat- trick, while Dan Rogers on the other flank emulated him. Scott Quinnell helped himself to two, but the Wales star found himself the centre of attention for the home players whenever he got the ball - and every time Quinnell was brought to earth the crowd roared.

There was a special prize on offer to the Pontyclun player who scored his side's first try and there seemed to be a similar bounty on the head of the Llanelli No 8.

In the end, it was almost the perfect day all round - a safe passage for the cup holders, without any injuries, and a bumper pay day for the minnows.

Pontyclun: R Balman; G Jenkins, P Trotman, D Atkins, C Gibbon; A Tibbatts (N Williams, 31), M Huckridge (M Enoch , 43); E Rees, N Ball, K Payne, S Ayres, R Middleton (J Rodemer, 41), T Yates (G Yates, 45), M Rogers (captain), D Ruggles.

Llanelli: D Williams; D Rogers, S Finau, N Davies, W Proctor; B Hayward, A Thomas; P Booth, J Hyatt, M Madden, V Cooper, M Voyle, J Jenkins, I Jones, S Quinnell.

Referee: A Barham (Tongwynlais).