DIVISION ONE EAST CENTRAL
PORTH .......................... 18 MOUNTAIN ASH ......... 27
THE Old Firm showed plenty of resolve in Porth, especially just after halftime when they trailed 13-8 and were reduced to 14 men due to indiscipline, to come through a testing league fixture.
Centre Alex Hughes played an important part in this third bonus-point victory in four games and is starting to show his potential as a powerful runner and able distributor. The Mount backline is also starting to click and play as a unit, moving the ball into space and asking questions of the opposition defence.
The game was an important one for both clubs with a win a big step towards moving away from the relegation zone. Playing with the wind, but up the slope, Porth were straight on the attack and went in front with a third minute 15 metre penalty. The Old Firm hit back from the restart, taking play to metres out from the home line, and then scrum half Ross Davies left the close-in defence for dead when he broke through from a lineout on the Porth 10 metre line where a tackle by the home full back saved a certain try.
Mount were well on top territorially and drew level in the 14th minute when wing Holley fired over a well-judged penalty kick from wide out. An attack out wide saw the home wing flying away into the Mount 22 but a try-saving tackle 10 metres out by outside half Liam Jones saved a certain try. The Porth scrum was on top which resulted in several penalties to the home team. Mount were looking to keep the ball alive and started to cause problems for Porth, running from deep with full back Jack Roberts coming into the line to make the extra man. The home team were lucky at times to get away without conceding a penalty after side entry to several driving mauls set up by the Mount pack. With just five minutes to half-time, the game started to break up and from one such passage of play, the Old Firm managed to find space out wide where centre Steve Brittain was put away from 25 metres out and he sprinted in to score Mount’s first try to put the Old Firm 8-3 up.
With virtually the last play of the half, a penalty to Mount just 30 metres out in the middle of the pitch saw the Old Firm decide against kicking for goal to kick for the corner, but the ball was misdirected to leave the home side off the hook.
Porth immediately took play into the Mount 22 at the start of the second half and levelled the match at 8-8 with a touchdown in the corner after several drives to the Mount line. An injury to Mount prop forward Geraint Lock saw the Old Firm having to opt for passive scrums after also losing prop James Cowdry earlier in the game.
A break out from the home 22 saw Porth’s speedy wing tear away down the touchline but a superb cover tackle by centre Alex Hughes saved the day for Mount. The Old Firm responded and took play upfield where a 40 metre penalty by Mount wing Holley just drifted wide. After the home team ran a ball from their own 22 and kicked deep into the Mount 22, another set of drives by the home forwards saw a second try scored in the corner on the hour which put Porth in front 13-8, with Mount also being reduced to 14 men due to second row Jarrod Parfitt being yellow carded.
The Old Firm’s response was immediate. After taking play to just outside the home 22, a nicely timed pass to centre Hughes, who took the ball at pace in midfield, sliced the home defence wide open for him to pass inside to the unmarked Jack Bruford for the centre to run in and score under the posts, full back Jack Roberts converting due to wing Holley having to leave the field injured, to put the Old Firm back in front 15-13. Minutes later, from a scrum on the Porth 10 metre line, that man Hughes once again burst through and once again passed to centre Bruford for him to run into the corner where he injured himself in the act of scoring and had to leave the field. It was Mount’s second try while playing with 14 men which made the score 2013 after 67 minutes.
The Old Firm were causing Porth problems, running from deep when the opportunity arose and using the man in space. From a lineout midway in the Porth half, flanker Jarrod Morgan put in a powerful drive to make fully 20 metres and take play into the home 22 where the ball was moved wide where full back Jack Roberts jinked over in the corner for the bonus-point fourth try which he also converted with a fine strike from the touchline to take Mount’s lead up to 27-13. Although conceding a try in injurytime, the Old Firm were worthy winners on the day and now sit in seventh place in the Division One East Central table, just five points behind St Joseph’s and six behind Dinas Powys.
Mountain Ash Athletic won their Rhondda and East Glamorgan Division One game away to Dowlais 2nd XV 12-8 through tries by flanker Tom Withers and No 8 Christian Jones. Full back Gavin Roberts converted one. The win keeps the pressure on leaders Beddau, who visit Mountain Ash on Saturday, March 10.
Mountain Ash Youth played some superb, running rugby at Caedrawnant against Dragons Division One visitors Senghenydd Youth, scoring six tries in total. After a close first quarter, the Young Firm cut loose running in tries by second row Kellan Williams (2), flankers Daniel Phillips and Owen Jenkins, outside half Ethan Conway and full back Morgan James. Five of the tries were converted by James (4) and Williams. The handling by the Mount backs all game was top rate and outside half Conway’s try was a beauty, with him ghosting through the Senghenydd defence. Second row forward Mitchell Barnard and hooker Josh Davies were the pick of a hard working pack of forwards.