MID DISTRICT RUGBY REVIEW
THERE was some tough, yet exciting, games involving Mid District clubs over the weekend, writes Jamie Willis.
It was certainly a tough weekend for the three clubs from the area in the Principality Premiership. Champions Merthyr were beaten 37-24 by a good Bedwas outfit at the Wern. Tries from Terri Gee, Harri Millard, Joe Rees and Tom Daley got the try bonus point but it was not enough to prevent the Ironmen losing for the second time this season. Matthew Jarvis also kicked two penalties for Merthyr who now stand in third place in the table.
There was also a second reverse of the season for Pontypridd who were defeated 29-27 by Newport at Rodney Parade on Friday evening. Ponty started the game in fine style but a second-half fightback from the Black and Ambers ensured they held on for the win and the points. The Valley Commandos did take a losing bonus point and try-scoring bonus point thanks to efforts from Dale Stuckey (2), Lloyd Rowlands and Wil Davies-King. Ceri Sweeney and Dicky Bird kicked a conversion each.
Bargoed will be bitterly disappointed to have only a losing bonus point to their name after they were pipped 21-17 by Cardiff at Bargoed Park. No 8 Ieuan Jones and centre Jordon Howells crossed for the Rhymney Valley club with full back Matthew Lewis kicking a penalty and both conversions but it was not enough to stop the capital club’s 100% start to the season.
In the WRU National Championship, Beddau came from behind to claim a last-gasp win at Newbridge. Glen Slater crossed for a brace of tries for Beddau with Leon Rogers and Joe Casella ensuring they picked up the try-scoring bonus point also in the 29-24 win. This win for the Green and Golds mean they, along with Pontypool, are the only two teams yet to be beaten in the league this season so far.
Rhydyfelin got their first ever Championship win with a workmanlike 2012 victory over Skewen at the Hawthorn Recreation ground. Jordan Rees and Ross Lucas got the Pontypridd club’s tries whilst full back David Gratton converted both tries and kicked two penalties.
Bedlinog agonisingly lost out at Glynneath by 16-13. Rhys Parry crossed for a try for Bedlinog which was converted by Dan Parry who also kicked two penalties for the Foxes. The losing bonus point was their first points of the season but they will be hoping to add to that next weekend when Newbridge visit the Recreation Ground.
Ynysybwl also have maximum points from their opening two games after they beat a good Risca side 35-29 at their Recreation Ground. The Bwl are looking good and will be hoping to make it three out of three next week against fellow unbeaten side Brynmawr who are now led by former Ebbw Vale stalwart Damian Hudd.
Penallta also remain unbeaten after they came out on top in the Mid District derby with neighbours Nelson by 1710. In an extremely tight fixture it was the muchchanged Pitmen who took the spoils to move up to fourth in the early season standings. The Unicorns picked up their second bonus point of the season in the loss and sit just two places lower in the table.
Dowlais lead in the early exchanges at Brynmawr but could not hold on to a lead as a powerful Mawr pack got on top to take all five points with a final scoreline of 26-15. The Heads of the Valleys club may have lost their opening two games but are not far away from getting some deserved points which they will be hoping for at home to leaders Brecon this coming Saturday.
Champions Treorchy have started the season as they ended last season in Division One East Central as they recorded their second bonus point win of the new term against Mountain Ash. The Zebras scored four tries through Will Griffiths (2), Jacob Lloyd and Curtis Hughes whilst Jordan Lloyd kicked a personal haul of eight points at Parc Duffryn Pennar. The Old Firm never gave in against their visitors and were awarded for their efforts with a losing bonus point.
Treorchy’s old rivals Ystrad Rhondda are desperate to reclaim their crown as the Rhondda’s top club this season and they too have started the season with maximum points. Jarrad Llewellyn (2), Corey Shephard, Ryan Howells and Alex Webber crossed the line for Ystrad in their 31-20 win at neighbours Porth Harlequins. Ystrad built up a big lead but credit must be given to the Quins who never threw in the towel and scored 12 late unanswered points.
Promoted Llantrisant were looking to make it two from two at Dinas Powys but the Cardiff club were on top form and took the spoils with a 26-17 victory. The Black Army will look to bounce back next week as they welcome Rumney to Cefn Mably.
Caerphilly have moved to the top of Division Two East after coming from behind to beat Hartridge 16-14 away from home. The Cheesemen were 14-3 down but fought back to take the points in a nail biting contest in Newport.
Senghenydd were also involved in a nail-biter but they came out on the wrong end of a 11-10 result at Cwmbran. Despite the defeat the Saints are still just three points off the top having recorded an opening day win and picking up two vital bonus points.
In Division Two East Central, Aberdare are the early pace setters after recording their second bonus-point win of the campaign over local rivals Abercynon. The 3511 win follows on from an equally impressive win at Penarth last weekend. Abercynon made the Snakes work hard for the win and showed they will be a tough team to beat this term.
Gilfach Goch also remain unbeaten after they beat fellow Mid District club Llantwit Fardre at the Welfare Ground. The Rhondda club took a tryscoring bonus point in the 36-10 win which sees them move up to third place in the table. Llantwit are still searching for their first success of the season but their bonus point in the defeat to Barry last weekend means they currently occupy tenth spot.
Cambrian Welfare bounced back in some style after their opening day defeat at Abercynon. The Miners showed no mercy for a depleted Cilfynydd outfit with a big 56-0 win which also sees them climb the table to fifth place. Based on this performance the Rhondda club will certainly be among the title favourites, whilst Cilfynydd will be desperate to see the return of some key figures in the next few weeks.
In Division Three East Central A, there was a classic all-Mid District affair at Penygraig where the home team were edged out 17-6 by a well-drilled Abercwmboi outfit. The Village are highly fancied to make a promotion push this season and Penygraig will certainly be a big test for teams to overcome this season as they look for a second consecutive promotion themselves.
There was another allMid District club affair at Cefn Coed where the Wolves just proved a little too strong for Mid Wales club Gwernyfed. This was Cefn’s first game of the season and they will also be keen to build on a hugely successful last term. Gwernyfed had opportunities to take the spoils but in the end had to settle for their second successive losing bonus point of the season.
The Treharris fixture with Pontyclun was postponed.
In Division Three East Central B, Treherbert sit proudly at the top of the table after recording their second win of the season at fellow Rhondda club Tonyrefail. The Devils also took a bonus point in the 34-7 win. Tonyrefail stay in mid table despite their first loss of the season.
There was another big Rhondda derby at Tylorstown where the Tigers continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 34-11 win over nearest rivals Wattstown. Tylorstown are up to third in the table after the win whilst the Ducks are still looking for their first points of the season which shouldn’t be too far away.
Ynysowen recorded their first win of the campaign with a deserved 25-11 win over Mid District club Hirwaun in the Cynon Valley. Ynys again claimed a bonus point which means they sit in fourth spot whilst the Brocks slip down to ninth in what looks to be a very competitive league.
Ferndale bounced back from their first league defeat in over 15 months with a good bonus point win away at Caerau Ely. The Rhondda club’s 35-26 victory means they move up to fifth in the early league placings.
Deri are sitting pretty at the top of Division Three East B after their second bonus-point victory of the new season. The Broncos followed up a big win at Brynithel last weekend with a 24-14 win over a good New Tredegar outfit in the Rhymney Valley.
Glyncoch made it two wins from two at the top of Division Three East Central C with a try-scoring bonus point win at Brackla. The Pontypridd club’s 31-7 victory means that they and leaders Llanrumney are now the only unbeaten sides in this league.
MID DISTRICT XV
THE Mid District Rugby Union will take on a combined Gilfach Goch/ Tonyrefail XV in a memorial fixture it has been announced.
The fixture, which will take place at Gilfach Goch’s Welfare Ground on Wednesday, October 11, is a special fixture to mark the incredible devotion that Wayne Barnfield gave to both Gilfach Goch and Tonyrefail clubs as well as the Mid District Rugby Union where he was a past President and management team member.
Wayne, or Barney as he was affectionately known, passed away last year after a battle with illness and his family have agreed to play this fixture in memory of the great man.
Dafydd Lockyer of Pontypridd is tackled by Adam Brown and Garin Harris