Cynon Valley - - RUGBY UNION -

TONYRE­FAIL trav­elled to Moor­lands Park for this sec­ond round match of the WRU Bowl to play Old Ill­ty­di­ans who cur­rently sit in third po­si­tion in East Cen­tral 3A, one di­vi­sion above them, in the league sys­tem.

Hav­ing made a good start to the sea­son Ton were hop­ing to main­tain their mo­men­tum in this game but player avail­abil­ity meant they were left in a po­si­tion where they had peo­ple play­ing out of their nor­mal po­si­tions and no recog­nised back row play­ers in the pack.

Ton sup­port­ers would have been ex­pect­ing the worst but to the credit of those who played, the per­for­mance did not truly re­flect the re­sult with the home side only break­ing clear in the last 15 min­utes as the vis­i­tors were forced to make changes to an al­ready dis­rupted team.

The game be­gan with Ton on the front foot but turnover ball gave the Illts the chance to put the ball into touch deep in the Ton half. They kept play there and with only four min­utes on the clock they were over for a try which was con­verted from the touch­line.

From the restart Ton put the home for­wards un­der pres­sure and kept play in the home half and it be­came ap­par­ent that they had the edge in the scrums and when they were awarded the put in at a scrum on the home five me­tre line it looked like they were cer­tain to score as the pack drove for­ward. Un­for­tu­nately for them the ref­eree awarded a penalty against a Ton prop and the chance was gone but they were soon back on the at­tack, this time mov­ing the ball quickly from a dom­i­nant scrum for wing Rhys Mor­ris to touch down out wide to make the score 7-5.

Play con­tin­ued with Ton hav­ing the bet­ter of the for­ward ex­changes but the lack of back row ex­pe­ri­ence meant that on a few oc­cas­sions the home side were able to win pos­ses­sion from them in the tackle area and their backs were then quick to counter at­tack but some good de­fence meant their only fur­ther score came from a penalty to make the half-time score 10-5.

In the sec­ond half the home side seemed to move up a gear, prob­a­bly be­cause of the changes they made at the break, and they quickly in­creased their lead with an­other con­verted try but Ton re­sponded well. They put pres­sure on the home de­fence to see the ref­eree yel­low card a home player for per­sis­tently killing the ball be­fore set­ting up a 30m drive from a li­ne­out which ended with a try for sec­ond row Matthew Farr to bring the score back to 17-10.

On the hour mark Ton were forced to make changes which meant they had four props and a wing play­ing in the pack and un­for­tu­nately for them the home side were quick to cap­i­talise on it. Three fur­ther tries, which all came from deep po­si­tions, in a 10- minute pe­riod took the wind out of Ton’s sails and the game ended 36-10.

Ton may have lost the game but the per­for­mance was prob­a­bly more im­por­tant than the re­sult in this case. Ton can now re­turn to league rugby with more con­fi­dence in spite of the loss and build on the per­for­mance with play­ers in their cor­rect po­si­tions.

Next week Ton are away at Wattstown which will be a dif­fi­cult game but not un­sur­mount­able.

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