Scarlets depart with emotional win

25th Oct 2008, 13:44

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Rising to the occasion: Stoddart puts the boot in

Rising to the occasion: Stoddart puts the boot in

The Scarlets waved goodbye to Stradey Park in the perfect manner as they cruised past Bristol 27-0 in the EDF Energy Cup on Friday.

The Scarlets waved goodbye to Stradey Park in the perfect manner as they cruised past Bristol 27-0 in the EDF Energy Cup on Friday.

After 129 years at their historic home, this was the west Wales region's last home match before they move two miles down the road to their new ground at Parc y Scarlets next month.

It was a comprehensive win which was just missing a fourth try and a bonus point.

The Scarlets fielded a side showing four changes from the team that went down 37-15 to Stade Français in Paris last Saturday.

Bristol selected a mostly second-string outfit with only wing Lee Robinson keeping his place from the starting line-up which beat Toulon last Friday - their first victory of the season.

Prop Darren Crompton and full-back Anthony Elliott made their first starts of the season after recovering from injury.

The emotional evening for the Scarlets began with a parade of surviving Stradey Park captains including Phil Bennett, who was celebrating his 60th birthday.

The match began with a try that the occasion demanded when the impressive Regan King went on an arcing run down the right and put Morgan Stoddart over for the first try on three minutes.

But after that, although the Scarlets had the better platform, the first half rather lost its way.

It took a Stephen Jones penalty goal on sixteen minutes from a ruck to extend the Scarlets' lead to 10-0.

But it was Bristol through a counter-attack from scrum-half Haydn Thomas and wing Lee Robinson who looked likely to score next until the Scarlets' cover defence regrouped.

In the dying minutes of the half, a concerted break by Wales wing Mark Jones set up a position from which captain Simon Easterby scored a try, awarded after a referral to the television match official. Stephen Jones converted to give his side a 17-0 interval lead.

It was Jones who also put points on the board first in the second half with a 49th-minute penalty from in front of the posts.

Stoddart thought he might have had a second try down the right but the score was ruled out for a foot in touch. But the full-back made amends, sending Rob Higgitt over for a try against his former club with a delightful pass.

There was a worry for Wales when Mark Jones limped off after injuring himself going close to scoring the Scarlets' fourth try after 67 minutes.

However, the Scarlets had an abundance of chances to grab the bonus-point try, especially through runs down the right by Stoddart, but failed to get the score which would have given them an extra cushion at the top of Group D.

The scorers:

For Scarlets:
Tries:
Stoddart, Easterby, Higgitt
Con: Jones 3
Pen: Jones 2

Scarlets: 15 Morgan Stoddart, 14 Rob Higgitt, 13 Regan King, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Mark Jones, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Sililo Martens, 8 David Lyons, 7 Simon Easterby (c), 6 Nathan Thomas, 5 Dominic Day, 4 Vernon Cooper, 3 Kees Meeuws, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Iestyn Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Phil John, 17 Matthew Rees, 18 Dafydd Jones, 19 Johnathan Edwards, 20 Martin Roberts, 21 Ceiron Thomas, 22 Jon Davies.

Bristol: 15 Anthony Elliott, 14 Lee Robinson, 13 Luke Eves, 12 Junior Fatialofa, 11 Mat Turner, 10 Chris Ashwin, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 Andrew Blowers, 7 Redford Pennycook, 6 Matt Salter (c), 5 Robert Sidoli, 4 Mariano Sambucetti, 3 Darren Crompton, 2 Scott Linklater, 1 Mark Irish.
Replacements: 16 David Blaney, 17 Peter Bracken, 18 Dave Attwood, 19 Chevvy Pennycook, 20 Sam Alford, 21 Kevin Maggs, 22 Greg Barden.

Referee: David Bodilly (Wales)
Touch judges: Tim Hayes (Wales), Alan Jenkins (Wales)
Assessor: David Herbert (Wales)