Llanelli's play-off hopes are hit by late Quins fightback
LLANELLI's Welsh Premiership play-off hopes were hit last night as they suffered derby defeat to Carmarthen Quins at the Park.
Anthony Buchanan's side were the better side for most of the match, but eventually slumped to a 22-21 reverse following a Quins fightback.
They began the day in fourth, a place outside the end of season knockouts and looking to make ground on Cross Keys above them.
The visitors fielded a number of players with regional experience and started Owen Williams at fly-half amid rumours he is set to move to Aviva Premiership side Leicester.
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And it was the 21-year-old who opened the scoring when he kicked Llanelli ahead with a fourth-minute penalty. Opposite number Dan Newtown hit back against his former club ten minutes later after an even opening.
Then Llanelli wing Kyle Evans brought the game to life with a superb solo try.
After collecting the ball in his own half, the Kenfig Hill product pressed the accelerator to steam out of midfield through a river of Quins shirts to touch down under the posts.
Williams converted and added another penalty to put Anthony Buchanan's side in charge.
The Quins tried to rally though failed to hurt Llanelli and opted to kick for touch instead of goal when awarded another penalty.
At the other end, Kristian Phillips threatened to score another fine individual try for the visitors when he darted in from a wing but was just beaten to his chip ahead by a covering Quin defender.
Newton succeeded with a second penalty moments before the interval whistle.
Aled Hopkins was sin-binned five minutes after the restart and Newton slotted over the penalty to hand Quins hope.
And they went in front for the first time on 55 minutes when Jason Harries burst through and Newton added the extras.
Quins' No.10 slotted over another penalty midway through the half, but Williams was also on target for Llanelli to keep the game on a knife edge going into the final stages.
With 13 minutes remaining, Johnny Lewis gathered the ball out wide and had enough in the tank to cross in the corner.
That try swung the match back in Llanelli's favour, but the tables turned again moments later when Jack Maynard's penalty put the home side back in front.
Carmarthen Quins: Try: J. Harries. Con: D. Newton. Pens: D. Newton (4), J. Maynard.
Llanelli: Tries: K. Evans, J. Lewis. Con: O. Williams. Pens: O. Williams (3).
Yellow card: Aled Hopkins (Llanelli).