Division Three West A: St Davids 7-74 St Clears

The ‘battle of the Saints’ went the way of Carmarthenshire side St Clears as they marked their return to the third tier with a big win at St Davids.

The contest went to script with the home side making it difficult for their visitors in the early going, actually taking a 7-5 lead, but as the contest wore on Tim Poole’s side took control and added a flurry of points in the final few minutes.

St Clears went ahead when a spell of pressure resulted in winger Jon Gosling touching down in the left corner, but it was short lived as strong carrying from the home pack earned them three close range penalties, the last of which resulted in a yellow card for No 8 Tom Rees.

St Davids opted for a scrum from that and it paid dividends, referee Jon Williams left with little option but to signal a penalty try.

But St Clears went back in front when from a penalty of their own, No 10 Dan Griffiths kicked to the corner and from the lineout drive that followed, prop and captain Gareth Jones touched down.

Rees returned to the field soon after and it was his turnover in midfield that led a try for centre Shane Morgan, and then flanker Llifon Davies pounced on an overthrown lineout to seal the bonus point, Griffiths converting.

A flowing move in midfield, in which props Jones and Andrew ‘Chunk’ Howells linked up with each other, eventually ended in another try for Gosling that Griffiths goaled, and Morgan rounded off the first half scoring with his second to make it 36-7 at the break.

After a quiet start to the second half St Clears then cut loose, taking advantage of Gethin Bateman’s side going down to 14 men due to injuries which included losing influential flanker Rhys Price.

Rees went under the posts and then hooker Dan Hughes buried over out wide, and Morgan completed a good day by rounding off counter attacks for his third and then fourth tries.

Full back Jake Philpin also crossed and then from the final play, flanker Morgan Lewis dived over, with Griffiths adding four second half conversions, as St Clears showed their intentions to challenge to return to Division Two this season.