There were an amazing 51 tries for fans to savour in the Principality Premiership as the battle for the title got even hotter.
The game between Bargoed and Ebbw Vale was abandoned after a spectator collapsed in the crowd during the half-time interval. Referee Dewi Phillips decided to end the game after consulting with the two teams, with the Steelmen were leading 15-3.
Bargoed chairman Neil Carter praised the efforts of the medical teams from both clubs, who treated the patient, known to be a Bargoed 2nd XV player, at the scene before paramedics arrived.
“It was a very serious situation and we are very grateful for the assistance of the Ebbw Vale RFC medical staff as well as our own doctor, Alice Groves, and both teams’ physios. The fact that we had a defibrillator at the field with trained medical personnel certainly made a difference,” Carter said on the club website.
“We are also grateful for the prompt assistance of the paramedics and ambulance crew who attended so quickly. Everyone at Bargoed RFC is hoping that he makes a full recovery and our best wishes go to him and his family.”
Reigning champions Merthyr picked up a magnificent seven tries in their 45-10 triumph over Swansea at St Helen’s to stay ahead of the chasing pack, but their next two games will be crucial in their bid to make it back-to-back titles.
Match abandoned at half time after paramedics and ambulance attended an unwell spectator. Best wishes to him for a speedy recovery and many thanks to all who responded so quickly.
— Ebbw Rugby (@evrfc) April 14, 2018
Wing Kyle Evans ad hooker Matt Dwyer both crossed the home line twice as the Ironmen made it nine out of 10 in the second half of their campaign to maintain a seven point lead over Carmarthen Quins with a game in hand.
But it will be what happens in their home clash with the Quins at The Wern this weekend, followed by their trip to Parc Eirias on 5 May to face third place RGC 1404 that will determine whether or not they can hold onto their crown. Sandwiched in between those two games will be the WRU National Cup final at the Principality Stadium.
The Quins kept up the pressure on the leaders with a 36-33 home win over the team that Merthyr will meet in the Cup final, Newport, but made it much closer than it might have been by gifting the visitors’ two interception tries.
The home side were 36-12 ahead early in the second half after Josh Batcup had run in the Quins’ fifth and final try. Then came the Newport fightback to within a whisker of victory as they matched the home side’s five tries with touchdowns from Chay Smith, Haydn Palmer, Alex Everett, Haydn Simons and Joe Bartlett.
RGC 1404 head coach Mark Jones was pleased to see his side bounce back from their five point defeat at Pontypridd last weekend with a 27-21 triumph over Bedwas. It means they are now nine points behind league leaders Merthyr, who they meet at home next month, and two adrift of Carmarthen Quins, with a game in hand on them.
Both sides scored three converted tries, but Jacob Botica’s boot provided two extra penalties to secure the victory to keep the Gogs in the title race. The home tries came from Afon Bagshaw, Rhys Williams and Tom Hughes, with James Richards, skipper Alun Rees and Adam Williams replying for Bedwas.
Cross Keys turned up the forward forward to teach Cardiff a lesson at Pandy Park, where they bagged five tries in an impressive 42-10 victory. Llanelli and Neath shared 11 tries at Parc y Scarlets before the home side emerged with a 41-36 triumph.
Wing Aaron Warren scored two of Llandovery’s four tries in their 26-13 home win over Bridgend to keep up their hopes of battling for a top three finish. They have two games in hand on Merthyr and are currently 19 points behind.
Pontypridd, who are third, had two tries from Alex Webber at the heart of their 19-15 win at Aberavon. They host RGC 1404 this weekend in another vital fixture.
There are also midweek games ahead of Saturday’s normal round of matches:
Tuesday, 17 April
Cross Keys v Llandovery
Newport v Bargoed
Wednesday, 18 April
Cardiff v Llanelli