Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Felinfoel defeat Kidwelly to clinch the Llanelli and District Challenge Cup

In what can only be described as an excellent advert for grass roots rugby, Felinfoel beat Kidwelly 21-17 at Burry Port Memorial Park on Friday night in the final of the Llanelli District Challenge Cup competition which is sponsored by the Llanelli & District Rugby Supporters Club.

 ‘Foel, who won the first ever final as far back as 1920 and who last won the Cup in 2008, were forced to dig deep late into the second half as Kidwelly fought back from 21-10 down to produce a try for fly-half Rhodri Jones, converted by centre Gareth Rees, that cut the deficit to within a touchdown as the game headed into injury time.

But the points scored earlier in the game by Felinfoel proved sufficient in the end to secure success and it was due in no small part to influential centre Jonathan Cronin whose impressive performance saw him leave the field with a haul of sixteen points after he converted his own try and landed three penalties.

And it was Cronin who opened the scoring with the first try of the game after slicing through the Kidwelly defence in midfield as ‘Foel benefitted from most of the possession and territory in the opening exchanges.

Kidwelly, who were looking for their third cup win in four seasons, bounced back from the restart and a powerful drive by their forwards led to a try by centre Keiran Rees, converted by fly-half Leighton Walters to level the scores.

 The action then swung in favour of Felinfoel and the pack was rewarded for its efforts when forward pressure on the Kidwelly line yielded a penalty that centre Cronin slotted between the posts to put ‘Foel 10-7 up at half-time.

There was more to come from the ‘Foel pack in the second half when prop Sen Lee powered his way over to make it 15-7 and though Cronin’s second penalty extended the lead to 18-7 Kidwelly refused to lie down. Continued pressure from a determined Kidwelly eight allowed centre Gareth Rees to make amends for an earlier penalty miss by sending his second strike between the uprights.

Five minutes later, Cronin again stepped up to the mark with his third penalty to keep Felinfoel in the driving seat at 21-10 but another late surge from the Kidwelly pack provided the platform for their second try by fly-half Jones to ensure a tense finish.

“It was a keenly contested final with great commitment from players on both sides who were not short of vocal support from the sizeable crowd on the touchline,” was the view of District secretary, Ellis Davies.


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