Rugby Union: Seven Sisters go to the ball after Cox is ordered off

Seven Sisters 39 Garndiffaith 0
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The Independent Online
SEVEN SISTERS, the little sisters, the team from a redundant mining village at the head of the Dulais River, 650 feet above Swansea Bay, are looking down not, perhaps, on destiny, but certainly a place in history as the first junior club to reach the semi-finals of the Welsh Cup. Cardiff, Swansea and Pontypridd would love to be in their boots.

The mines are now museums, but the rugby club, which celebrated its centenary last year, remains the focal point of a village which got its name because Evan Evans Bevan, a south Wales industrialist, christened the local mine Seven Sisters. He happened to have seven sisters and it is just as well he did not have a bastard son.

The timeless romance of a national knockout competition conjures heroic images: anything can happen because it's 15 men against 15 - except when it's against Seven Sisters. At the Maes Dafydd ground on Saturday, nestling at the foot of snow-capped mountains which were occupied by - the God's truth - one man and his dog, it was not 15 against 15.

Both Fourth Division clubs had moved mountains to reach the quarter-finals, Seven knocking out Tredeger and Garn disposing of Bridgend. In the League, the junior clubs had met twice before, Seven landing late penalties to win both by a whisker. This time Garn threw a few lumps of anthracite on to the home fire.

The occasion got to Richie Cox, Garn's towering lock, who was putting his studs about like Michael Owen on a bad day at Old Trafford. He was already holding a yellow card when he was shown the red in the 18th minute and even then the mist had not ascended. He went off taunting the crowd. With Cox out of action, the Sisters went to the ball.

Facing a Siberian gale in the first half, they managed to turn around 3-0 up with a penalty by Andrew James as the 22-year-old full-back went on to score 19 points, crossing for one of five tries and converting four. Later this year James, an unemployed carpenter, will join Leeds as a professional and can look forward to a more handsome return than a couple of pints.

The director of rugby at the Yorkshire club is Phil Davies, the ex-Llanelli and Wales No 8 and a son of Seven Sisters. Another old boy is Dennis Gethin, the new secretary of the Welsh Rugby Union whose return was a somewhat more enjoyable experience than watching Wales being torn apart by France at Wembley.

Seven Sisters: Tries James, Hughes, Wareham, Elkins, Pagett; Conversions James 4; Penalties James 2.

Seven Sisters: A James; D Francis, K Thomas, A Hughes (S Lewis, 70), K Lewis; H Evans, L Paget; P Elkins, L Griffiths, I Beech, Jeff Davies, James Davies, M Wareham, M Chilcott (capt; N Hickey, 73), A Thomas.

Garndiffaith: D Rudge; R Morgan, P Taylor, C James, S Cross; M James, I Jenkins (G Betts, 64); M Spencer, R Thorne, J. Lilley, G Morgan, R Cox, S Crosby (capt; Scammells, 58), D Evans (J Parker, 20), G Kirkup.

Referee: C Thomas (Neath).

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