Division Three West A:

Neyland 8-15 Milford Haven 

TWO second half tries from Milford scrum half Dan McClelland tilted Saturday’s big derby in favour of The Mariners in a typically ferocious clash between them and old rivals Neyland at The Athletic Ground.

The All Blacks themselves would have been disappointed to miss a chance to end their long wait for a win over the visitors, after they’d taken control to lead 8-0 early in the second half, but McClelland’s brace and a late pushover try from prop Mike Cockburn sealed a Milford fightback win.

Neither side gave an inch in a combative first 40 minutes, and both sets of defences did well to withstand heavy pressure as the first half finished at 0-0.

The All Blacks struck first after the break, as promising centre Alex Codd landed a penalty - before home player coach Steve Martin extended his side’s lead with the opening try.

Playing at outside half, Martin picked up possession 40 metres from the line and outstripped the cover defence, before chipping over Milford full back Lee Riley and re-gathering the ball to score in the corner.

Codd was wide with the conversion, and crucially, The Mariners were not two scores down for long.

After Milford were awarded a penalty close to the Neyland line, No 9 McClelland took it quickly and darted over.

He couldn’t convert his own score, but soon crossed again after Neyland winger Matthew Cole had been sin binned for a high tackle on Craig ‘Yoda’ Thomas.

This try followed a number of forward drives from the Milford pack, before McClelland dummied from the base of a ruck and sniped through a gap for another unconverted score.

And The Mariners grabbed a third try when skipper Adam Rees opted to go for the corner from a penalty, and after No 10 Efan Morgan duly set up a close range lineout, a driving maul culminated in Cockburn touching down.

Again the conversion was off target, but although Neyland tried to press for the seven points that would have gained them a draw, the Milford pack managed to slow matters down late on and Alan McClelland’s men closed out the contest.

“It was a typical derby. Neyland battled hard and I’m really pleased to come away with the win,” said the head coach afterwards.

Skipper Adam Rees added: “This game is always tough and the boys came out second half with a better attitude - and we got the win we needed.”

Martin meanwhile, was downbeat as his side had to settle for a losing bonus point.

“I’m disappointed and I think a draw would have been a fair result. But difference was Milford took their chances and we didn’t.”

This Saturday, both sides are in National Bowl action, with Milford going to Cefneithin, and Neyland away to Llandovery 2nds.

Neyland: Adam Cawley, Matthew Cole, Alex Codd, Mark Riley, Delme Bateman, Steve Martin, Chris Morgan, Eugene Grice, Craig Power, Jack Harries, Luke Dawes, Mark James, Jake Evans, Iestyn Evans Ben Williams.

Replacements: James Harries, Chris Busby, Steve Hamer, Harley Tree, Jonathan Lloyd.

Milford Haven: Lee Riley, Craig Thomas, Matthew Reynolds, Dan Jenkins, Dean McSparron, Efan Morgan, Dan McClelland, Mike Cockburn, Luke Ryan, Adam Rees, Brandon Cooper, James Carew, Ben Groves, Dai Sweeny, Mark Wonnacott.

Replacements: Ben Johnson, Chris Hall, Darren Lewis, Gareth Cheshire, Ian Rusinek.

For all remaining weekend rugby reports see this week's Western Telegraph.