Neath will visit the Brewery Field on Saturday to play Bridgend in a friendly fixture (kick off 2.30pm).
Team Manager Martyn Morris said, “After going without a game last weekend we need to get back into action. Finding worthwhile games at this stage is never easy so Bridgend fit the bill and the Brewery Field is not too far away and is always a popular venue for our supporters.
“We hope to get a home fixture for the following week – our secretary Mike Price has contacted numerous Welsh clubs who are not in league or cup action and others so watch this space.”
Congratulations to Neath’s Keiran Williams and Reuben Morgan-Williams who are included in the Wales squad to play Scotland on Friday.
Keiran starts for the third time this season while Reuben is on the bench after playing his first half an hour’s rugby at Cross Keys for Neath last Saturday.
CROSS KEYS 29 points NEATH 10 points
Battling Neath were booted out of the Cup by Cross Keys whose outside-half Josh Prosser kicked 19 points to dismiss any hopes the Blacks had of progress in this year’s tourney.
Ultimately, it was Neath’s lack of street-smartness which cost them as Prosser’s bag included five penalties. Three came around the keenly-contested tackle area, two were for offences at the scrum where nowadays penalties are awarded all too liberally with effects which are often beyond proportion. But, awarded they were – and Neath paid the price. Neath also opted to take three quick penalties : two at vital junctures in the first-half when cool heads and a kicking option might have brought better rewards.
Of course, a little luck goes a long way in the Cup and it must be said that Neath did not get much of it for they had cause to rue two crucial first-half decisions which went against them and which, on another day, may have made for a different outcome.
The first led to Keys opening the scoring when many were not convinced that the ball had even been touched down. It all bamboozled the poor announcer but the benefit of the doubt and five points were given, Prosser merrily adding two more to send Keys on their way. Conversely, Neath were later denied a try when full back Ed Howley was tackled without the ball in pursuit of his own chip; again, the home side got the benefit of the doubt when it should have been at least a penalty, possibly a penalty try, but instead the referee ruled a 22 drop-out. Still, what would the Cup be without a little controversy ?
In between, Neath had levelled with a splendidly worked try by winger Alec Jenkins – two efficient line-out drives and good direct charges by centre Matthew Pearce and No.8 Leon Ward set up the score and Ed Howley converted superbly from the touchline. But Keys enjoyed the better of the second quarter and Neath’s hopes gradually withered on the vine of Prosser’s penalty-kick perfection, his four goals saw the home side 19-7 to the good at half-time.
Both sets of forwards were still up for the battle and a Howley-Prosser penalty exchange soon made it 22-10. Well led by the lively Darren Hughes, Keys’ heavyweight pack is admirably suited to the Pandy Park swamplands and two of their larger species Richard Cornock (250) and Daniel Hodge (200) celebrated outstanding landmark appearances. The lighter Neath forwards responded to Jordan Collier’s example and stuck to their guns throughout and did not concede even when their leader was binned.
Down to 14 men, another Howley effort which would have brought Neath back into it thundered into an upright before play switched to the other end where Keys sustained possession and clinched the tie with a try by No.8 Ieuan Jones which was converted by Prosser who, one Keys supporter claimed, has hardly missed a kick since Christmas !
With a bevy of young replacements emerging from the bench including long-term absentee Reuben Morgan-Williams who thus joined big brother Rory in the Black shirt for the first time, Neath threw everything at Keys in the last 10 minutes and, although they came close on several occasions, Keys held firm and they could not quite cross the line to make the score more reflective of how the game had gone.
Keys deserved to win yet the 2-1 try-count suggests that Neath continue to improve but the team must learn a lesson and be more disciplined – when defending and attacking !
Successive away wins at Cardiff and Llanelli in Phase Two of the Premiership have done much to lift spirits at The Gnoll as Neath head to Pandy Park to play Cross Keys in the Cup on Saturday (kick off 2.30pm).
The Welsh All Blacks make only two changes from the side which started at Llanelli with Ryan Thomas coming in at prop and Aled Morris in the back row.
No.8 Scott Hicks was injured in that game but Gareth Morris, Reuben Morgan-Williams, Neil White and Charlie Davies are back on the bench while Ifan Phillips is on Ospreys’ duty for a sixth week.
Neath v Cross Keys (Away)
15 Ed Howley; 14 Aaron Grabham, 13 Gavin Evans, 12 Matthew Pearce, 11 Alec Jenkins; 10 Rory Morgan-Williams, 9 Chris Morgans; 1 Ben Uphill, 2 Sion Crocker, 3 Ryan Thomas; 4 Rhys Jones, 5 Jon Barley; 6 Aled Morris, 8 Leon Ward, 7 Jordan Collier (captain)
Replacements – 16 Neil White, 17 Callum Jones, 18 Jonny Griffiths, 19 Tom Hayward, 20 Charlie Davies, 21 Josh Guy, 22 Reuben Morgan-Williams, 23 Gareth Morris
Referee – Mr. Gareth John (Chepstow)
Neath went top of what Newport secretary Dennis Bennett tagged the “Traditional Tier” when they won impressively 37-15 at Parc-y-Scarlets on Thursday evening.
It was 13-10 to Neath at the end of an evenly-fought first-half but the Welsh All Blacks pulled clear in the final quarter to secure a bonus-point win with another rousing performance by their pack.
Neath scored five tries in all through Ed Howley (2), Aaron Grabham, Alec Jenkins and Leon Ward, Howley kicked a conversion and a penalty, Dan Guarneri banged over two conversions and a penalty. Tystan Lloyd and Dion Jones got home tries, Billy McBryde kicking a conversion and a penalty.
Cross Keys made it two out of two home wins when they beat Bridgend at Pandy Park by 16-13 and, for the second week running, Josh Prosser fired over a late, late penalty to clinch it. It was his third penalty and he also converted Keys’ sole try by Ieuan Jones. Will Baird scored Bridgend’s try, Joseph Scrivens converting and adding two penalties.
The game at the Arms Park was also settled by a late kick, Swansea pipping Cardiff 34-33. The Whites took the try-scoring honours with Jed Evans, Jack Perkins, Ashleigh James, Jon Fox and Jon Bayliss touching down, Jac Wilson’s boot adding 9 points including the final penalty. Jordan Viggers, Harri Millard and Will Rees-Hole scored tries for Cardiff with Gareth Thompson kicking 18 points.
When the Premiership split was determined, Newport’s esteemed secretary Dennis Bennett said, “It’s as if the clock had been turned back thirty years and we were reading one of our old fixture lists ” and – if the opening round is anything to go by – the “Traditional Tier” looks like being a closely fought affair.
It all got under way on Friday when Neath prevailed at Cardiff 20-9 for their fourth win of the season over the Blue & Blacks, skipper Jordan Collier and replacement Geraint Llewellyn bagging tries for the visitors and Ed Howley collecting 10 points. Gareth Thompson fired over three penalties for Cardiff.
Newport went top on Saturday with a bonus point 25-14 win at Bridgend, tries coming from Craig Attwell (2), Haydn Palmer and a penalty try with Matt O’Brien adding a conversion and a penalty. James Murphy and Chris Williams scored tries for Bridgend, Joseph Scrivens and Murphy converting.
Bargoed scored three first-half tries in an 18-13 success at Swansea whom they beat for the fifth time in six. James Hallett kicked an early penalty before three-quarters Phil Price, David Evans and Duane Dyer scored tries. Swansea countered with a try by Andrew Claypole and 8 points from Jac Wilson, his second penalty being the only score of the second-half.
Finally there was a try-less penalty shoot out in the mud of Pandy Park where Josh Prosser (3) for Keys outpointed Llanelli’s permit-player from Bonymaen Ian Brooks (2).
This week, Neath visit Llanelli on Thursday (7.30pm) and Swansea travel to Cardiff on Friday. Cross Keys play Bridgend but the Newport-Bargoed game has been put back to April 22.
POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER CONDITIONS – Neath RFC Community Rugby at The Gnoll (Tuesday 7th February from 1pm) – POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER CONDITIONS
POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER
The best wishes of everyone at Neath RFC go to centre Keiran Williams who is
included in the Wales Under-20’s team to play Italy in Milan on Friday (kick off
Neath supporters travelling to Cardiff will be able to watch the game in the
Clubhouse before the Neath game.
NEATH have been handed a tough away draw against Cross Keys in the last 16 of the WRU National Cup.
The draw features 13 of the 16 Premiership clubs (Aberavon, Llanelli and Swansea have been eliminated) and 3 Championship sides (Beddau, Narberth and Pontypool).
The full draw is :-
Narberth v Carmarthen Quins
Pontypridd v Newport
Bedwas v Merthyr
Bridgend v RGC
Cardiff v Pontypool
Cross Keys v Neath
Beddau v Ebbw Vale
Llandovery v Bargoed
All matches scheduled for the weekend of 17/18 February, 2017
Neath Rugby Supporters Club have launched the search for five more greats to join their illustrious Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame was established in 2014 to honour some of Neath RFC’s greatest ever players. Amongst the players to have been admitted in the past are legendary figures such as Brian Thomas, Brian Williams and Dai Morris, current Head Coach Gareth Llewellyn, club stalwart Steve Powell and Wales’ leading try scorer Shane Williams.
Now, the supporters club is on the lookout for more of the club’s all time greats to join them as they seek to recognise and honour individuals synonymous with Neath RFC – the legendary figures who have shown exceptional commitment and contribution to the club.
Over the next few weeks the supporters club will be asking supporters to nominate any individual who they feel will be worthy of inclusion in the Hall of Fame. They can be a player, a coach, an administrator or volunteer. Basically, any person who has shown a remarkable loyalty and commitment to Wales’ oldest rugby club.
There’ll be no shortage of candidates spread across the decades. The likes of Grahame Hadgson, Elgan Rees, Adam Jones or maybe Barrie Williams are all likely to feature in people’s thinking, but anyone who has made an outstanding contribution to Neath RFC can be nominated.
How to nominate
Supporters can make their nomination in a number of ways:
On Twitter – tweet us @neathsupporters #NeathHoF
On Facebook – Visit us on Facebook and leave a comment on the Hall of Fame thread
E-mail – Send your nomination to firstname.lastname@example.org
In person – Visit our table in the clubhouse on match days and fill in the nomination form.
The deadline for nominations is Saturday 18th March and fans can nominate as many individuals as they like. The final inductees will then be chosen by a panel of Supporters Club members and then be formally inducted at the Hall of Fame celebration evening at the end of the season (date to be confirmed).
So get your thinking caps on and let us know who you would like to see in the 2017 Hall of Fame.
Neath hooker Ifan Phillips could make his senior Ospreys’ debut tomorrow when he
lines up on the bench against Bristol.
Dafydd Howells, Jon Spratt, Luke Price, Gareth Thomas and Scott Otten are all in the
Due to international clashes, the following new dates should be noted :-
Cardiff v Neath – Fri Feb 3rd 7.30
Llanelli v Neath – Thu Feb 9th – 7.30
Neath v Bargoed – Sat Apr 15 – 2.30
Neath v Bridgend – Fri May 5 – 7.30
And don’t forget this week :-
Sat Jan 28 – Neath v Narberth – 2.30 (friendly)