No doubting Thomas for spirited Dinbych


Shaun Davies

DESPITE giving a spirited and battling display, Dinbych’s Millennium Stadium dreams were ended on Saturday.

The Caeau Les Phillips club were eliminated from the SWALEC Bowl at the fifth round stage by an undefeated and well organised Nantyglo side, who utilised the experience of former higher division players to good effect in taking all of their scoring opportunities.

Yet, Dinbych’s forwards in particular played well throughout with lock Warren Edwards winning his share of lineout ball, whilst the front row of Dan Jones, Geraint Madoc Jones and Osian Williams drew praise from Nantyglo’s forward coach, former Wales hooker Nigel Meek, as they utilised the power of the pack to dominate the scrummage exchanges.

As usual, Dinbych’s defensive performance was of the highest standard, particularly around the edges of set pieces and breakdowns as they thwarted Nantyglo attackers at the gain line.

While they made too many unforced errors and conceded too many penalties to keep in touch with the hosts, Dinbych showed their character and fitness levels by scoring three converted tries in the final quarter to give some respectability to the final scoreline.

With transport problems resulting in a six-and-a-half hour journey and minimal warm-up time, Dinbych surprised Nantyglo in having a couple of good early scoring opportunities, but the hosts then dominated the game territorially, always using good tactical kicks to keep Dinbych pinned in their half.

They took the lead after eight minutes when former Newbridge centre Shaun Thomas kicked the first of his five penalties from 35 metres.

The hosts then increased their lead in the 14th minute when they kicked a penalty into touch five metres out from the Dinbych line, from which number eight Anthony Williams touched down after a forward drive.

Thomas added the conversion points with a good kick from wide out.

Dinbych had their own attacking opportunities, but their normally incisive back division squandered chances with too much lateral running and unforced handling errors.

Nantyglo then went further ahead just before the interval when Thomas converted a penalty from 45 metres.

Although they trailed 13-0 at the interval, Dinbych dominated the first quarter of an hour of the second half and should have reduced the deficit after a series of scrums close to the Nantyglo line.

Unfortunately, despite forcing the home pack to concede a number of penalties, they failed to claim a pushover try as they knocked the ball on over the line.

The only benefit Dinbych got was that Nantyglo were temporarily reduced to 14 men as one of their locks was yellow carded.

Nant eventually raised the siege and after working their way upfield, they showed Dinbych how to take their opportunities when number eight Williams went over for his second try, again converted by Thomas.

Now trailing by 20 points, Dinbych eventually hit back when they moved the ball infield from the left of the Nantyglo 22 to create an overlap for replacement right wing Dan Mars Jones to go over for a try, converted by centre Tom Seddon.

They then undid their good work by conceding a penalty from the restart which Thomas duly converted and shortly afterwards, a defensive mix-up allowed left wing Lee Roper to grab an unconverted try in the corner which increased Nantyglo’s lead to 28-7.

Dinbych reacted well to these reverses when skipper Dan Jones took a quick tap penalty on halfway to break infield through a disorganised defence, before handing on to hooker Geraint Madoc Jones, who showed a fine turn of speed to run in from 40 metres to touch down near the posts for Seddon to convert.

Nantyglo again relieved a period of Dinbych pressure by kicking downfield, where the visitors knocked on and compounded the error by being offside, which allowed Thomas to kick another long-range penalty.

The hosts then showed their excellent handling skills by scoring from an attack from halfway when full back Tom Watkins went over in the corner for an unconverted try.

Nantyglo then suffered the consequences of their adventurous play in their own half when outside half Jamie Winning intercepted a looping pass to go over under the posts for Dinbych’s third try, again converted by Seddon.

However, Nantyglo had the last word when Dinbych offended when trying to counterattack from their 22 for Thomas to kick his fifth penalty with the last kick of the
game, securing a match total of 19 points.

See full story in the Free Press

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