DIVISION 1 EAST CENTRAL
Old Firm work hard but fail to take anything from close game
MOUNTAIN ASH ......... 15 RHIWBINA ................... 26
THIS was a far closer game than the scoreline suggests but at the end of the day it came down to two converted tries, one at the start of the game and one at the end, plus the greater precision of Rhiwbina throughout which was the main difference in this hardfought Division 1 East Central encounter at Duffryn Pennar Park.
The Old Firm got off to a slow start, losing two lineouts and conceding two penalties in the opening couple of minutes which allowed the visitors to take play in the Mount 22 where wing Alex Cooke cut through in midfield to run in near the posts for a well taken try which centre Lewis Pearce converted to make it 7-0 after just four minutes’ play.
Twelve minutes had elapsed before the Old Firm set up an attack, second row David Richards delivering excellent lineout ball on the visitors’ 10 metre line which was taken through a number of phases up to 10 metres out but the Rhiwbina defence held firm.
Further pressure saw Mount awarded a penalty which full back Jack Roberts converted from 37 metres out to make it 7-3 after 16 minutes.
Sloppy play from the restart gifted the ball back to Rhiwbina which eventually ended in a 30 metre penalty by Pearce which made it 10-3 and restored Rhiwbina’s seven point lead.
Shortly after, offside in midfield just 20 metres out by the Old Firm gave the visitors an easy three points which took their lead up to 13-3 after 25 minutes.
Although Mount were getting into the Rhiwbina half, knock-ons and inaccurate play were costing turnovers and giving the visitors the chance to clear downfield.
A 25 metre penalty from full back Roberts after the two packs had exchanged pleasantries reduced the visitors’ lead to 13-6 after 36 minutes, but right on half time, a lost scrum by the Old Firm on their own put-in saw the visitors awarded a penalty which centre Pearce converted from 38 metres to give his side a 16-6 half time lead.
The Old Firm’s play in the first half had lacked intensity but it went up a level at the start of the second half with second row David Richards quickly through at a lineout to gain Mount a penalty which was kicked into the Rhiwbina 22.
A catch and drive by the Mount pack saw the visitors concede a penalty which Roberts converted to reduce Rhiwbina’s lead to 16-9 after 44 minutes.
An attack started by Mount outside half Liam Jones, who ghosted through the visitors’ defence in loose play, was taken on with the visitors once again conceding a penalty, this time Roberts converting from 40 metres to make it 16-12 after 50 minutes.
A take and drive by the Mount forwards from the restart drove the visitors back 20 metres and resulted in a penalty and the visitors’ hooker being yellow carded for collapsing.
After the penalty was kicked into the Rhiwbina 22, a superb throw by hooker Jack James and take by second row Richards at the back of the line, saw the Old Firm take the ball on and the visitors once again concede a penalty which Roberts converted – making it his fifth of the game in a perfect display of kicking – from 22 metres out to make it 16-15 after 55 minutes.
The visitors were rattled and after the restart failed to go 10 metres, the Old Firm set up their best attack of the game and came within an ace of scoring.
From a ruck set up by flanker Chris Edmunds, scrum half Ross Davies took play to the narrow side and handed on to centre Alex Hughes who dummied one defender on the Rhiwbina 22 and passed on to wing Steve Brittain, who, in turn, passed to second row Jarrod Parfitt, near the touchline, who was tackled a metre or so from the line.
Frustratingly, the visitors were left off the hook with a penalty award at the 5 metre lineout. A knock-on from another Mount attack, which led to the ball being cleared into the Mount half, saw the visitors get a penalty, against the run of play, which Pearce kicked to make it 19-15 to Rhiwbina after 66 minutes.
A high kick up to halfway after 71 minutes saw Mount full back Jack Roberts take it and split the Rhiwbina defence open and take play up to the visitors’ 22 where a kick on was taken over and a 5 metre scrum conceded by the visitors.
With the Mount scrum under pressure, untidy ball saw the visitors once again able to clear.
A knock-on in the Rhiwbina 22 gave the visitors a scrum from which a quick pick up by their No.8 saw him break quickly and link with his backs to take play into the Mount half where a ruck was formed on the Mount 10 metre line.
Seeing space on the blindside, scrum half Griffiths moved the ball quickly to the blindside to put his wing away on a 25 metre unopposed run, and although a defender cut him off, an inside pass saw a supporting player get a decisive try which Pearce converted with a well-judged kick from the touchline to take his personal tally to 16 and give Rhiwbina a 26-15 lead.
The Old Firm were far from finished and took play up to the visitors’ line where some tremendous defence by Rhiwbina, even though losing another player to a yellow card, saw them keep Mount out and deny the Old Firm even a losing bonus point, which gave a misleading impression of a tough game.
MOUNTAIN ASH YOUTH ........................................ 24 ABERDARE YOUTH .... 10
Mountain Ash Youth made a slow start to their Blues Youth League game against Aberdare Youth at Caedrawnant.
The visitors went ahead with a penalty to lead 3-0. After scrum half Morgan Cartwright was taken out illegally after a chip over the Aberdare defence, flanker Owen Jenkins scored the Young Firm’s first try from the penalty with a barn storming run.
In second half, the Young Firm continued to attack and should have scored, but wrong options cost them points.
A spilled ball on the Aberdare try line saw the visitors go the full length of the field to take the lead 10-5.
After pressurising Aberdare in their 22 for long periods, livewire scrum half Morgan Cartwright raced through a gap to score near the posts, outside half Morgan James converting to make it 1210 to Mount.
Two minutes later, Cartwright was again in the action, kicking the ball deep into the Aberdare 22 and following up quickly enough for the bouncing ball to go straight into his hands for him to score his second try in as many minutes.
With outside half James converting, it took the Mount lead up to 19-10. The Young Firm attacked again through forwards Owen Jenkins, Daniel Phillips, Mitchell Barnard and captain Cameron Davies, and after the ball was moved wide, wing Rhys Davies scored in the corner to complete the scoring at 24-10.