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Haverfordwest ladies’ triumph in tense cup semi to book Principality final date

AFTER a crushing win on the road in Wrexham last time out The Blues found a much sterner test against a spirited Blackwood outfit on Sunday (Mar 5).

Playing in front of their home fans Blackwood were an equal match for much of the game before Haverfordwest powered home in the last quarter for a 46-22 win.

The Blues were dealt an early blow when loosehead prop Natasha Thomas pulled up in the warm-up with a calf injury.

It didn’t get much better for the away side as they were caught cold by a quick tap pen after just 6 mins, Blackwood’s outside half stepping her way over for an unconverted score.

However, they slowly worked their way into the game and after a period of concerted pressure, The Blues got their first points of the game with a penalty just inside the 22 by Elin Williams.

The Blues continued to press and were rewarded after some strong forward play, Emma Summons sniping over in the corner from the base of a ruck. The score went unconverted for an 8-5 lead.

Ten minutes later they were over the whitewash again with Meg Griffiths galloping over after latching onto a loose pass. This time Elin Williams added the extras for a commanding 15-5 lead.

Yet the game was far from over as the home side came hurtling back with 2 unconverted scores just before half-time.

Again, both tries came off the back of quick tap penalties as the home side upped the ante and powered their way over the line.

Haverfordwest were glad to see the half-time whistle with the momentum clearly with the valleys team.

After the break, The Blues were back in front with the forwards carrying hard and recycling well. Rhian Swift was the beneficiary of some neat hands from the backs, cantering home on the outside for a fine team try.

Yet their lead with short-lived with Blackwood wrestling back the lead after a dominant scrum just 5 meters from the try line. The resulting penalty was again quickly taken; the home eight powering over and a conversion to boot made for a 22-20 lead.

The away side showed great resolve to snatch the lead straight back with another well-worked team try. Rhian Swift was again the recipient of some strong carries and good hands to burst around the home defence for a converted score and a 27-22 lead.

This time The Blues did not look back, going through the gears as the home side’s colossal pack started to tire.

Next up, strong ball carrier Jana Neumann crashed over for another converted score after excellent work initially by Ella Sturley and Eloise Hull keeping the ball alive near the touchline.

Soon after Meg Griffiths barged over from close range and Elin Williams adding the extras once more for a commanding 39-22 with just two minutes to go.

There was still time for one more as Ella Sturley put the gloss on a superb second-half performance, stepping back inside some tired tackling to score under the posts after a great kick chase by Becky Osborne.

The 46-22 final score was tough on the Blackwood girls who gave their all for 60 minutes, yet The Blues victory was fully deserved after some terrific play in the final quarter.

The girls can be extremely proud of their efforts and can now look forward to the prestigious showpiece at The Principality Stadium.

The final is due to take place on Saturday, April 1, and sees the Blues take on CRC Caerdydd, kick off at 1pm.

Forward of the match: Jana Neumann
Back of the match: Rhian Swift

Haverfordwest Squad: Jodie Williams, Hayley May Thomas, Emma Busch, Lucy French, Jana Neumann (VC), Emily Carrington, Menna Pugh-Jones, Sarah Lawrence, Emma Summons (C), Elin Williams, Poppy Lewis, Meg Griffiths, Tati Richards, Jess James, Rhian Swift, Natasha Thomas, Kate Allan, Christine Selby, Delyth Foster, Becky Osborne, Ella Sturley, Eloise Hull.