Our thanks to Andrew Ferguson for his 2014 piece recounting the story of Edward Larkin, who among ot...
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Fans from Challenge Cup Finalists, Leeds Rhinos and Hull FC were in the crowd at the Brewery Field on Friday to night to see a Wales Presidents XIII outclass but not disgrace a valiant Lebanon Espoirs (a word that roughly translates as hopefuls or emerging) side.
The visitors fielded none of their big name professionals; this side was picked exclusively from their domestic league in Lebanon that was founded in 2002. The match was the second in Lebanon?s tour of the UK. On Tuesday they lost 26-0 to the England A side but with Welsh Rugby League being stronger than it?s ever been, the emerging Lebanese knew they?d have a tougher task in Bridgend.
Jesse Farthing gave Wales an early lead with a try in the corner on five minutes. David Davies added a second on 20 minutes following a lengthy delay due to an injury to Lebanon?s Hassan Taha.
Another delay followed due an even more serious injury. This time to Lebanon?s Hadi Yashruti who fell awkwardly in a tackle, was unable to be moved and the game was held up by 20 minutes while players and crowd waited for an ambulance.
Following the half-hour gap, a refreshed Welsh side were keen to add to their scoreline but Adam Dawe?s 70-metre run was stopped just centimetres from the line by Gilbert Haydamous.
But Valley Cougars? Carl Thomas stormed through moments later to increase Wales? lead. Chris Williams broke through the defence six minutes later to add to the scoreline. Matt Jackson converted both tries to give Wales a 20-0 half-time lead.
Wales increased their lead after just five minutes of the second half after Scott O?Kelly forced his way over on the fifth tackle.
Lebanon got on the scoreboard for the first time in their tour after 51 minutes when Tony Semrani fought his way through the Welsh defence to ground under the posts. Wassim Moumneh converted.
But Wales replied straight away with a try from Cougars? Adrian Owen. Dean Scully converted then ran 60 metres for another Welsh try straight from kick-off.
Lebanon got another try back on 59 minutes after Alan Sultan finished off a good passing move.
But once again, Wales hit back straight away after another excellent Owen run. Williams also added his second five minutes later following a 40-metre run. Matt Jackson added a final try with the best move of the evening to make the final score 52-12.
Wales: Matt Jackson (Cardiff Demons), David Davies (Torfaen Tigers), Geraint Davies (Aberavon Fighting Irish), Jesse Farthing (Torfaen Tigers), Adam Dawe (Aberavon Fighting Irish), Karl Thomas (Valley Cougars), Scott O?Kelly (Aberavon Fighting Irish), Pat Howell (Cardiff Demons), David Fenton (Aberavon Fighting Irish), Dennis Pugh (Aberavon Fighting Irish), Chris Williams (Torfaen Tigers), Jason Massey (Aberavon Fighting Irish), Adrian Owen (Valley Cougars) Subs: Dewi Scourfield (Cardiff Demons), Mark Dando (Cardiff Demons), Martin Crawley (Newport Titans), Gavin Curry (UWIC), Dean Scully (Aberavon Fighting Irish).
Tries: Farthing (5), Davies (20), Thomas (29), Williams (35, 68), O?Kelly (45), Owen (54, 60), Scully (56), Jackson (80) Goals: Jackson 2/5, Scully 4/5
Lebanon: Jawad Fakih, Elias Khoury, Elias Khoury, Gilbert Haydamous, Naji Bassil, Jad Abinassif, Wassim Moumneh, George Helou, Hadi Yashruti, Tony Semrani, Bassel Rehayem, Youssef El Helou, Alan Sultan. Subs: Rany Chahoud, Hassan Taha, Omar Darwish, Amin Maassarani, Georges Rehayem.
Tries: Semrani (51), Sultan (59) Goals: Moumneh 2/2
Referee: Colin Neale (Wales)