Rugby Union: Neath end on top of Pyle

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The Independent Online
Pyle. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Neath. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20

THE piranhas finally devoured the minnows at Brynglas Field, but not without the fiercest struggle as Neath found that smaller fish can have the fiercest bites. Unlike Cardiff, though, they lived to tell the tale. Neath, once the strongest force in Welsh rugby, only scraped through to the sixth round of the Welsh Cup, no more than matching lowly Pyle in the number of tries scored.

The junior side still led after an hour. Only well into the second half did the sheer strength of the club where they often send their good players break the local spirit.

For the first half, Pyle swept forward adventurously, playing up the slope but taking full advantage of the gale whipping in behind them from the Bristol Channel.

Two tries resulted: the first when the Fijian centre Tevita Manaseitava took the ball and broke bravely through the Neath backs for the outside-half Andrew James to cross the line. The second was even more spectacular, Manaseitava breaking near his own line, outpacing every player on the park and crossing untouched 75 yards further on.

Neath's retaliation was less flamboyant, though ultimately more effective. Their high kicks in the second half pinned Pyle back on their own line and the pack rumbled forward at close range. Both Neath tries came from this grinding method and Jeff Bird's pinpoint kicking gave them the winning edge.

But, after a trouncing by Newport the week before, Neath's display confirmed their lack of quality players and imagination.

Pyle: N Forrester; D Burgess, T Manaseitava, A Williams, B Grabham; A James, R Baker; R Davies, P Morgan, A Woodward (capt), G Davies, M Pemberton, P Davies, C Roberts, M Davies.

Neath: P Thorburn; J Reynolds, H Woodland, D Jones, S Bowling; J Bird, R Jones; L Gerrard, K Phillips, J Davies, Glyn Llewellyn, Gareth Llewellyn (capt), I Boobyer, M Morris, A Varney.

Referee: C Thomas (Bryncoch).

Scorers: James (try, 10 min, 5-0); Manaseitava (try, 32 min, 10-0); Varney/Bird (try/conv, 43 min, 10-7); Bird (pen, 60 min, 10-10); Boobyer/Bird (try/conv, 61 min, 10-17); Bird (pen, 81 min, 10-20).