Cynon Valley - - RUGBY UNION -

MOUN­TAIN ASH ......... 23 TREORCHY .................. 28

SO near yet so far for the Old Firm as ti­tle favourites Treorchy just about squeezed home in this com­pelling Di­vi­sion 1 East Cen­tral game at Duf­fryn Pen­nar Park which turned out to be a con­test be­tween the ra­zor sharp abil­ity of the Treorchy back­line, which scored three tries from long range at­tacks, and the Mount for­wards, who had the Treorchy eight in all sorts of trou­ble at scrum and with the driv­ing maul, which laid the ba­sis for the Old Firm’s rous­ing come­back from 15-0 and 20-8 down, to level the score at 20-20 amid great ex­cite­ment with 10 min­utes left, when it was any side’s game.

Treorchy had first use of the wind but it was the Old Firm who were first on the at­tack with a couple of driv­ing mauls which took play up to near the vis­i­tors’ 22. Af­ter the ball was moved to the blind­side, an in­ter­cep­tion by Will Grif­fiths saw the Treorchy sec­ond row run 70 me­tres to score the first try of the day af­ter just 3 min­utes play, out­side half Jor­dan Lloyd con­vert­ing to put the vis­i­tors 7-0 up. The Mount for­wards re­cov­ered the ball from the restart and were awarded a penalty on the Treorchy 22, but the penalty was mis­judged and kicked dead, which let Treorchy off the hook. Off­side in mid­field from a ruck just out­side the Mount 22 gave Treorchy out­side half Lloyd a rel­a­tively easy 3 points to ex­tend his side’s lead to 10-0. A li­ne­out take by Mount Num­ber 8 and Cap­tain Kriss San­ders, who led from the front through­out the game, was cleared to half­way, but not into touch. The ball was quickly moved across field to full back Ja­cob Lloyd, who found him­self in space and showed his at­tack­ing prow­ess by beat­ing a de­fender and then sprint­ing into the cor­ner for a well taken un­con­verted try to make it 15-0 af­ter 20 min­utes. Al­though be­hind, the Mount pack had given the Treorchy eight plenty to think about by mak­ing good ground with driv­ing mauls and dis­rupt­ing the vis­i­tors’ scrum at ev­ery put-in. A li­ne­out take by Num­ber 8 San­ders on the Treorchy 10 me­tre line was driven on which had the vis­i­tors’ eight in all sorts of trou­ble. A penalty to the Old Firm 15 me­tres out was kicked to touch where a catch and drive saw sec­ond row Adam Parry claim his first try for Mount to make it 15-5 af­ter 25 min­utes. A penalty con­ceded at the restart looked likely to give Treorchy an im­me­di­ate re­sponse but the 30 me­tre penalty by Lloyd re­bounded off a post. The penalty count was well in favour of the vis­i­tors but a penalty to Mount in the Treorchy half should have led to a good po­si­tion in the Treorchy 22, but ill-dis­ci­pline by a home for­ward saw the penalty re­versed. The Mount front row of Geraint Lock, Liam At­twell and James Cowdry had the Treorchy scrum back ped­alling at an in­creas­ing rate of knots as half time ap­proached.

An in­ter­cep­tion by cen­tre David Richards in the open­ing min­utes of the sec­ond half took play up to the Treorchy 22, where the ball was moved to strong run­ning prop Cowdry who handed on to full back Will Hol­ley who got to 5 me­tres out. An off­side of­fence saw Hol­ley kick the re­sult­ing penalty from 25 me­tres out to make it 15-8. Young back­row for­wards Jor­dan Cox­ley and Jar­rod Mor­gan were hav­ing im­pres­sive games and se­cured a turnover which was cleared to half­way where wing Sean Wil­liams was quickly up to put pres­sure on ra­zor sharp full back Ja­cob Lloyd, who es­caped his grasp to take play into the Mount 22 where he threw a long pass out to wing Cur­tis Hughes, who run 15 me­tres for an un­con­verted try against the run of play, to take Treorchy’s lead up to 20-8 af­ter 45 min­utes. The vis­i­tors at­tacked again out wide from the restart but a for­ward pass stopped a gilt-edged scor­ing chance. Af­ter some ex­cel­lent work by the Mount pack had se­cured a turnover 5 me­tres out and then and a penalty, a com­ment by a Mount for­ward saw the penalty re­versed, but once again the vis­i­tors were met with stiff re­sis­tance which earned Mount a penalty to clear the dan­ger. The Old Firm pack was com­pet­ing for ev­ery ball and pres­sure in the Treorchy 22 led to a 5 me­tre li­ne­out, but ref­eree Evans gave the vis­i­tors some respite with a harsh penalty for a tech­ni­cal of­fence. Mount’s chance of a score seemed to have gone, but an in­ter­cep­tion in mid­field 35 me­tres out by cen­tre Alex Hughes was handed on to fel­low cen­tre Richards who sprinted 25 me­tres for a try near the cor­ner which Hol­ley con­verted with a fine kick to re­duce Treorchy’s lead to 20-15 af­ter 63 min­utes. The game was in the bal­ance and com­ing to a crescendo with no quar­ter given or asked right across the park. Af­ter Hol­ley kicked a penalty up to the Treorchy 22, a 15 me­tre driv­ing maul saw great ex­cite­ment among the home sup­port when prop Cowdry was driven over to make it 20-20 af­ter 69 min­utes, the con­ver­sion by Hol­ley go­ing just wide. Al­though Mount took play once again up to the Treorchy 22, they opted to move the ball wide rather than keep­ing it tight which would prob­a­bly have been a bet­ter op­tion. Play be­came fran­tic with both sides giv­ing ev­ery­thing and in the 79th minute the vis­i­tors were awarded a penalty on the Mount 22 me­tre line in front of the posts, which out­side half Lloyd con­verted to put his side 23-20 up. The ac­tion still wasn’t fin­ished and from the restart, Treorchy moved the ball into mid­field where a bla­tant ob­struc­tion on Mount cen­tre David Richards was missed by ref­eree Evans and re­sulted in a break­out by a Treorchy cen­tre which saw play taken into the Mount 22 where Hol­ley man­aged make a try sav­ing tackle, but sec­ond row Grif­fiths was first to pick up the loose ball and score in the cor­ner to make it 28-20 af­ter 83 min­utes. Un­bowed and still up for the fight, the Old Firm took play into the Treorchy 22 where pres­sure re­sulted in a 25 me­tre penalty, which full back Hol­ley coolly con­verted to claim a bonus point and end one of the most ex­cit­ing League matches seen for years be­tween th­ese two age-old ri­vals.

This Satur­day, the Old Firm travel to St Joseph’s for a League game, the 2nds play at home to Dowlais, and the Youth play at Cae­draw­nant against St Peter’s in the Blues League. All games kick off at 2:30pm.

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