Rugby Union: Neath have to fight for victory

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Neath . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22

Treorchy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20

WELSH rugby's senior players decided they were going to give Treorchy a tough First Division baptism, but they might not have counted on the new boys standing up for themselves so vigorously and so well, writes Robert Cole.

It meant that Neath were forced to scrap and scramble their way to victory in a bitter battle that saw Neath's international lock Glyn Llewellyn and Treorchy's combative back row man Justin Burnell sent off. The visitors, furthermore, were penalised for back chat five times.

It took just 18 seconds for the first punch to be thrown, by the Neath centre Hugh Woodland, and at that early fracas Burnell laid out Matthew Singer. The referee, Robert Davies, told both teams to cool down but the message did not get through to Llewellyn.

After 26 minutes Mr Davies spotted him apparently head-butting Owain Lloyd and sent him packing. Llewellyn claimed it was an accidental clash of heads, but faces up to 12 weeks on the sidelines for a second offence. Burnell can expect six weeks for his head-high tackle on Rhodri Jones.

Neath: Try: Singer. Conversion: Thorburn. Penalties: Thorburn 5. Treorchy: Tries: Lewis, Gilbey. Conversions: L Evans 2. Penalties: D Evans 2.

Neath: J Westwood; M Singer, L Davies, H Woodland, S Bowling; P Thorburn, R Jones (J Bird, 25); Brian Williams, Barrie Williams, J Davies, Glyn Llewellyn, Gareth Llewellyn (capt), A Kembery (I Boobyer, 70), S Williams, C Wyatt.

Treorchy: L Evans; N Berbillion, L Davies, K Orrell (capt), A Lewis; D Evans, C Bridges; A Dibble, L Gilby, M Powell (P Rhodes, 18-20), A Collins, A Gwilym, J Burnell, O Lloyd, L Jones.

Referee: R G Davies (Dunvant).