Merthyr find­ing form

Cynon Valley - - SPORT08 -

MERTHYR should have sealed vic­tory in the open­ing 30 min­utes of this lo­cal derby at Bar­goed Park but credit to Bar­goed who did well to stay in con­tention.

Merthyr’s for­ward power was demon­strated in the open­ing quar­ter of the game as the Bar­goed pack strug­gled to hold the Merthyr drive at the set piece. Ref­eree Ja­son Bes­sant lost pa­tience with the con­stant col­laps­ing of the front row and when the scrum was dropped for the fourth time near the Bar­goed line he awarded a penalty try.

Bar­goed strug­gled to get out of their own half as the Merthyr for­wards piled on the pres­sure, how­ever a lack of con­cen­tra­tion in mid­field al­lowed a break by Bar­goed and when Merthyr were caught off­side Bar­goed full back Matthew Lewis made no mis­take to close the gap 3-7.

A dan­ger­ous burst up filed by new wing­man Kris­tian Phillips caused panic in the Bar­goed de­fence and the winger looked to have raced away clear only to lose the ball in the pass.

Merthyr how­ever stretched their lead when a clever cross-kick from full back Matthew Jarvis was caught by out­side half Richard Pow­ell who raced in for the try, Jarvis con­verted to ex­tend the lead 3-14.

Merthyr kept the pres­sure on the Bar­goed eight with sev­eral good drives from back row men Nick White, Ed­ward Sig­gery, and Tom Da­ley, but should have stretched their lead fur­ther but for sev­eral wrong op­tions and some silly han­dling er­rors. Both goal kick­ers con­verted penal­ties just be­fore half-time to make the score 6-17 at the break.

Bar­goed started the sec­ond half by try­ing to run the Merthyr for­wards around the park and this was re­warded when a cross-kick from out­side half Smer­ton was caught by winger Ash­ley Nor­ton who raced in from the half­way line to score wide out. Any chance of a fight­back was soon quashed when a penalty 20 me­ters from the Bar­goed line was taken quickly by scrum Half Rhys Downes who caught the Bar­goed de­fence off guard and raced in un­op­posed, Jarvis con­verted to give Merthyr a 11-24 lead.

Merthyr be­gan to take con­trol once again and when a penalty 30 me­ters out was kicked deep into touch near the Bar­goed line, a great catch from young sec­ond row Ben Mur­phy from the li­ne­out was driven over by his for­wards, Jarvis con­verted to give Merthyr a bonus point. Things got worse for the home side has re­place­ment prop Kieron Brown was yel­low carded for col­laps­ing the set piece.

With game safe Merthyr made sev­eral changes and this soon payed off as re­place­ment scrum half Justin James broke from the base of the scrum 25 me­ters out to crash over un­der the posts, Jarvis con­verted and Merthyr and now stretched the lead, 11-38. Credit to Bar­goed they kept go­ing and this was re­warded when re­place­ment out­side half Calum Jones raced in for a con­so­la­tion try, Lewis con­verted. How­ever, Merthyr were not quite fin­ished as a sweep­ing move from winger Kyle Evans was car­ried on by the Merthyr for­wards, and after sev­eral phases, strong run­ning-cen­tre Ar­ron Pinches crashed over from short range for the Iron­men’s sixth, which was con­verted by Jarvis, and Merthyr had run out com­fort­able win­ners 1845.

For Merthyr credit to the for­wards who were well led by skip­per Craig Locke, with the front row of Trevett, Dwyer and Jones caus­ing their op­po­site num­bers prob­lems at the set piece from the first scrum. Be­hind the scrum, half backs Downes and Pow­ell linked well to­gether, and wingers Kyle Evans and Kris­tian Phillips both looked dan­ger­ous with ball in hand, with full-back Jarvis fin­ish­ing the game with dou­ble fig­ures for the third week run­ning.

This was a much-im­proved per­for­mance from the Iron­men who are be­gin­ning to show signs of last sea­son’s Premier­ship cham­pi­ons. Merthyr take a two-week break due to the Bri­tish and Ir­ish cup, be­fore they travel to Pandy Park, Cross Keys for the first of the re­turn fix­tures on Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 28.

Craig Locke

Back-row man Tom Da­ley

Kris­tian Phillips

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