Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Merthyr eye top six finish

After an exceptional 2013/14 campaign that saw Merthyr clinch the League and Cup double, the Ironmen will once again be looking to make a mark in their maiden season in the National Championship.
The newcomers started life in the Championship with a hard-fought 28-20 win over Llanharan at the Dairyfield, with ex-Dairyman Rhys Walker crossing for the decisive score for the Ironmen.  
Lee Jarvis’ troops, who clinched the One East crown and Swalec Plate last season, crossed three times through Sam Edwards, Martin Luckwell and Walker, while Steve Lang fired home three penalties and two conversions.
The Dairymen will feel unfortunate not to pick up at least a losing bonus point from the match as they too went over for three touchdowns of their own from Dafi Davies, Jack Davies and Nathan Huish.
Merthyr’s Team Manager Paul Lewis was delighted with his side’s result at Llanharan.
“It’s not an easy place to go and get a result so we were very pleased to come away with the victory. We perhaps weren’t as clinical as we would have liked but it’s going to be a learning curve for the team, the first few matches,” said Lewis.
 “We have a squad of about 27 or 28 and we are still finding our best matchday squad. The coaches are looking to give everyone a run out in the first few matches before settling on a team,” added Lewis
 Flankers Osian Davies and Aaron Harris are the only two players that have moved on, going to Llanelli and Ebbw Vale respectively, while Walker was a summer acquisition from Llanharan.
 Although Merthyr haven’t added many players to the squad, they have added former Blues man Jamie Ringer as a Coaching Advisor.
 “We have a very strong coaching set up with Lee Jarvis, Garry Horrigan and now with Jamie Ringer helping us out, and that is a huge positive for us,” said Lewis.
 The Ironmen will be aiming to consolidate their place in the division but Lewis believes a top six finish is a realistic goal.
 “I think a few of the boys had a bit of an eye opener on Saturday as the standard of rugby has increased, but we managed to retain the majority of our squad from last season.
 “There are a couple of very good sides in this league and we know we will have good weeks, as well as some losses, but we would love to finish in the top half of the table.”
Merthyr play their first home match of the Championship campaign on Saturday when they host Tondu at the Wern. The Waterwheelers themselves will be  hoping to build on their emphatic opening day success when they thrashed Newbridge 62-0.
Matthew Morgan bagged a try treble, Gareth Lindenburn was at the double for Tondu, while Lloyd Elliot, Steve Bevan, Matthew Murphy, Matthew Davies and Gareth Powell also got in on the try scoring act.
Meanwhile, Bargoed opened their account in the best possible way with an emphatic 40-3 home win over Pontypool. Ross Coombes was the star of the show for the hosts as the back row helped himself to a hat-trick, while Pooler had lock Ryan Thomas dismissed early in the second half.
In the day’s other fixtures, ten points from the boot of Ianto Griffiths helped Narberth to a 20-10 success over Bridgend Athletic, North Wales region RGC 14 were 12-6 winners at Blackwood, Swansea dispatched Cardiff Met 34-15 and Tata Steel edged past Glynneath 9-6.


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