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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 April 2006, 17:48 GMT 18:48 UK
Maesteg 9-50 Neath
KONICA MINOLTA CUP SEMI
Man-of-the-match Steve Thomas got two tries
Maesteg (9) 9
Pens: Morris (3)
Neath (16) 50
Tries: Thomas (2), Mitchell, McPhail, Morgan, Morris
Cons: Hook (4)
Pens: Hook (3)
DG: Morris
Att: 2,750
Neath advanced to meet Pontypridd in the final of the Konica Minolta Cup with a comprehensive win over Maesteg.

An early Steve Thomas try set the All Blacks on their way at Aberavon's Talbot Athletic Ground, but Stuart Morris' kicking kept Maesteg alive.

Neath fly-half prospect James Hook kicked superbly to land 17 points.

And after the break there was just one team in it as Wayne Mitchell, John McPhail, Martin Morgan, Thomas and Gareth Morris added unanswered tries.

The final will be played at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on 6 May.

Hopefully we can wrap up the league title against Bridgend on Wednesday and then complete the double on 6 May
Neath man-of-the-match Steve Thomas

The floodgates threatened to open in the early exchanges as the All Blacks tore into their fellow-Ospreys feeder club.

After the Maesteg defence had been stretched from one side of the pitch to the other, man-of-the-match Thomas had a simple step inside for the opening try.

The Old Parish side fought back with two confidently taken Morris penalties, only to see them cancelled out by two Hook efforts, the latter from 48m.

Referee Phil Fear was getting increasingly frustrated with negative play, though, and on the half hour Neath blind-side Andy Llewellyn was sin-binned for killing the ball.

Morris landed the resultant penalty to leave his side a 13-9 deficit.

But it was the Welsh Premier-leaders Neath who rallied, Hook's third penalty stretching their lead at the break.

They again came out of the blocks strongly after the restart, Mitchell scoring after taking a fine inside pass from Dan McShane.

A tough last few weeks has taken its toll on us
Maesteg centre Allan Bateman

McPhail had the power and strength to hold off three tacklers and crash over for the third try, before an outstanding run by Thomas from deep in his own half set up lock Martin Morgan for another.

Hook fed left-wing Thomas who had the pace and swerve to cross for his second try two minutes from the end.

And to complete Maesteg's misery, Gareth Morris ran in unopposed past a wilting defence for the final five-pointer, Hook's conversion bringing up the half century.


  • Neath man-of-the-match Steve Thomas:
    "It was close at half-time and they will have thought they had a chance, but we played well in bad conditions.

    "Hopefully we can wrap up the league title against Bridgend on Wednesday and then complete the double on 6 May."

  • Maesteg centre Allan Bateman:
    "It was a tough old battle in the first half, but Neath played extremely well after the break.

    "A hard last few weeks has taken its toll on us, we looked tired in the second half and Neath took full advantage."


    Maesteg: Warner, Epton, R. Boobyer, Brown., G. John, S. Morris, Ellis, Edwards, G. Thomas, Tremlett, Ronan, Collins., Sainsbury, Wareham, I. Boobyer.
    Replacements: Hopkins, L. Williams, Peever, Bartlett, R. Morgan, J. Dixon, N. Dixon.

    Neath: Morris, Brew, Spratt, W. Mitchell, S. Thomas, Hook, Horgan, A. Davies, Shrivingham, C. Mitchell, Martin, Morgan, Llewellyn, McShane, McPhail.
    Replacements: Roberts, A. Thomas, Clapham, Price, Davies., B. Davies, P. Jones.

    Ref: Phil Fear (WRU).




  • SEE ALSO
    Konica Minolta Cup 2005/6
    10 Dec 05 |  Welsh
    BBC Wales Sport coverage
    03 May 05 |  Wales
    WRU Challenge Cup archive
    12 Sep 03 |  Welsh


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