Merthyr finding form
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.
Back-row man Tom Daley