Cynon Valley - - RUGBYUNION -

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.

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