Jon Davies' crucial try propels Llanelli to summit

Llanelli 27 Celtic Warriors 22
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The Independent Online

Llanelli's youngsters proved they are learning fast as the Scarlets held on to win this top of the table meeting and take pole position in the Celtic Leaguelast night.

Even in the absence of their international brigade and injured talisman Scott Quinnell, the Scarlets played with their brains as much as their brawn to maintain their unbeaten start to the season against a vastly more experienced pack.

That these clubs began the game as the top two in the Celtic League and a near 5,000 crowd were testament to the changes brought about in Wales by regional rugby.

However, the developments have not cured all of the ills within Welsh rugby and the ownership of the Celtic Warriors remains up in the air with one half of the partnership, Pontypridd, having this week gone into voluntary administration.

But while half the Warriors could have been forgiven for concerning themselves over the future of the famous Rhondda club, they kept their minds on upsetting the Scarlets.

Against a makeshift Llanelli pack who included replacement Gavin Quinnell, the latest product of the rugby dynasty, the Warriors made gains and soon took the lead through Gareth Wyatt. The Scarlet wing Tal Selley made a mess of dealing with Neil Jenkins' kick and Wyatt's quickly taken lineout sparked the attack that he finished in the corner.

But Warrior indiscipline allowed the home side back in on the stroke of half-time when abrasive openside flanker Cory Harris was shown the yellow card for a late hit on Bowen. Llanelli made their numerical advantage show at the scrum, Mathew Watkins fed full-back Barry Davies to squeeze over in first-time injury-time.

Three minutes later and the lead was further stretched when prop Jon Davies barrelled over from a driving lineout for what proved to be the crucial try with Jenkins and Bowen exchanging five penalties apiece.

Llanelli: Tries: B Davies, J Davies; Conversion G Bowen; Penalties G Bowen 5. Celtic Warriors: Try: G Wyatt. Conversion N Jenkins; Penalty N Jenkins 5.

Llanelli: B Davies; R Rees (S Finau, 50), M Watkins, L Davies (capt), T Selley; G Bowen, M Phillips (D Burn, 69); D Maddocks (P John, 50), A Gravelle, J Davies, B Griffiths, A Jones (G Quinnell, 2-11, 25), V Cooper, E Lewis, I Boobyer.

Celtic: G Cull; G Wyatt, D Bishop (M Nuthall, 25), S James, A Havili; N Jenkins, P John; P Booth, A Joy, C Horsman, D Jones, N Budgett, R Parks (R Jones, 69), R Bryan, C Harris.

Referee: Simon McDowell (Ireland).

Attendance: 4,875.