Division 2 West: Fishguard 29-31 Mumbles

Two teams capable of winning the league and promotion.

That was the conclusion from an epic game at The Moors yesterday, as Mumbles held on to beat Fishguard in a contest the home side lost, then potentially won, then gave away, and then nearly salvaged at the death before ultimately losing.

In truth, the Seagulls ultimately paid the price for a slow start during which the visitors were superior, despite home outside half Mark Jones landing a simple penalty to make it 3-0.

More pressure followed as centre James Griffiths hacked on a loose ball which Jones gathered, and it was only some scrambled cover defence that prevented him from scoring in the corner.

But soon Mumbles took command, and their pack were quicker to the breakdown as twice they evaded Fishguard attacks with turnovers, before centre Cian Rowlands put them on the front foot with a 50 metre clearance .

From that platform the Swansea side won a lineout against the head and it was Rowlands who chipped cleverly for Andrew Claypole to gather and score. The full back converted his own try.

Another away try soon followed as after prolonged pressure, scrum half Harry Davies popped a pass to flanker Sam Cook to score in the corner.

Fishguard responded though, James Griffiths bursting through in midfield and although his off load went to ground after he was hauled down just short of the line, the Seagulls regained possession and some slick handling set up winger Rhys Evans to score in the corner.

It didn't stem the tide though, and the Mumbles pack were dominant in the closing minutes of the half and their play yielded two penalties - which Claypole took advantage of to give his side an 18-5 half time lead.

And then early in the second half the game looked over as Cook again forced his way over from close range and Claypole converted.

But then the chaos started. First Fishguard fought back with a try from hooker - turned - winger Liam Wilkes, who shrugged off two tackles to score out wide and although Claypole promptly landed three more points for Mumbles, second row Will Thomas and winger Joe Rimell were both sin binned.

The Seagulls sensed blood and duly indulged, Mark George coming off the bench to good effect by picking up from a scrum 30 metres out and bursting through, before linking with Mark Jones who in turn popped a pass to skipper Chris Shousha to score. 

The No 10 converted and then seconds later Fishguard led as another Griffiths break in midfield led to a a chance for Robbie Jones, and the young full back finished superbly for a try that Jones again goaled to make it 29-28.

The tide turned again when home second row Ben John was yellow carded for a high tackle and from the resultant penalty, Claypole made no mistake from 25 metres.

Still though, the home side could, any maybe should, have won it. Griffiths snatched at a drop goal chance and knocked on, and then from the very last play, attempted to kick a penalty from 45 metres that dropped two yards short of the bar.

It meant a win for Mumbles and a first league defeat of the season for Fishguard. But against a side widely tipped to challenge for the title this season, head coach Nathan Jenkins will take heart from the fact his side picked up two bonus points without actually playing that well.

Mumbles will be up there come May. If the Seagulls put their minds to it, so will they be.

Fishguard: Robbie Jones, Liam Wilkes, Thomas George, James Griffiths, Rhys Evans, Mark Jones, Andrew Williams, Ryan McVeigh, Gavin Walsh, Andrew Morrillo, Richie Hunter, Ben John, Scott Riches, Luke Freebury, Chris Shousha (capt). Replacements: Jason Davies, Will Delaney, Gwil Evans, Mark George, Ryan Foot.