Old Firm work hard but fail to take any­thing from close game

Cynon Valley - - RUGBY UNION -

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.

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