Three wins from the Millennium Stadium


Shaun Davies

A TRIO of positive results will allow Vale of Clwyd players to play in arguably the world’s best rugby stadium.

Division Two (North) leaders Dinbych are through to the fifth round of the SWALEC Bowl - and the Caeau Les Phillips side know that three more wins will book a final date at the iconic Millennium Stadium.

In the Bowl’s sister competition, the SWALEC Plate, North Walians Nant Conwy played at the stadium when they reached the final last season.

But Dinbych have got a tough test this weekend if they’re to make it through to the quarter-finals.

Current Division Five (East) leaders Nantyglo are their hosts on Saturday, and with a record of 10 wins and a draw in their 11 league matches, it promises to be a testing tie for Dan Jones’ side.

Dinbych set up their South Walian trip when they beat promotion rivals COBRA 24-14 in last weekend’s fourth round clash.

As in their previous encounters this was a tense closely fought affair with few try-scoring opportunities.

However, fly half Jamie Winning continued to hold the Indian sign over the Powys outfit in scoring a brace of tries.

As so often this season, Dinbych owed their victory to their tremendous defensive performance with skipper Dan Jones leading by example as they cut down COBRA attackers on or behind the gain line, which blunted the home side's main attacking ploy of attempting to break down the middle close to set pieces or at breakdowns.

Dinbych started well and opened the scoring after six minutes when centre Tom Seddon kicked a penalty from 45 metres when COBRA were caught offside.

They went further ahead in the 17th minute with an attack from halfway when inside centre Mat Hulse put Seddon away on an incisive run, which was taken on by full back Dan O'Sullivan.

He released Jamie Winning, who had looped on the outside, to run in for an excellent try converted by Seddon.

For much of the remainder of the half, play was confined between the two 22s with COBRA having a slight advantage in possession as they edged the scrums and took advantage of a misfiring Dinbych lineout.

Yet it was only in the closing minutes of the half that COBRA threatened close to the Dinbych line and they reduced the deficit when flanker Gavin Rizzi was yellow carded for releasing his binding at a scrum five metres out.

When Dinbych offended at the reset scrum, COBRA were awarded a penalty try converted by fly half Llew Williams.

Dinbych narrowly led 10-7 at the interval, but COBRA then took the lead in the opening minute of the second half when they took advantage of Dinbych's depleted numbers by creating an overlap on the narrow side for full back Rhodri Mayor to run in from halfway and touch down between the posts, leaving an easy conversion for Williams.

Dinbych retaliated by regaining the lead just after the midpoint of the half when number eight Liam Allsup Jones broke on the narrow side of a scrum 35 metres out before feeding Jamie Winning.

The fly half chipped ahead to the corner to outpace the defence and get a fingertip touch down in front of despairing COBRA defenders. Seddon added the conversion points with an excellent kick from the touchline.

Dinbych were on top in the closing minutes and after being denied an earlier penalty try when they drove the COBRA pack over the line, they again showed they now had the upper hand at the scrum when they were awarded a penalty try as the home pack disintegrated at a scrum on their line.

Seddon kicked the easy conversion to cap an excellent team performance.

Denbighshire rivals Llangollen could also join Dinbych in the last-16.

The Tower Fields side travel to old foes Shotton Steel on Saturday for a rearranged fourth round tie.

The winners will go to Fishguard and Goodwick in the fifth round.

See full story in the Free Press

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