Taffs Well RFC | 1st Team 27 - 20 Cefn Coed RFC | 1st Team
Brandon Thrasher
Conversion 3
Penalty 2
Matthew John Wright
Try 1
Ronan S Barrett
Try 1
Jack Shaddick
Try 1

Match Report
24 September 2017 / Team News

Taff's Well Tough Out 27-20 Win Against Dogged Cefn Coed

On the back of two impressive opening wins to the season, the home side were looking to consolidate their position at the top of the league which even for the die-hard faithful, would have seemed somewhat improbable at the start of the season. With the youth playing Fairwater on the adjoining match in a bowl fixture, the match got under with the away team making all the early running.

Early Pressure

It was evident from the off that the newly promoted Cefn Coed side had turned up to compete and they subsequently dominated both territory and possession against a sluggish-looking Taff’s Well team who struggled to match the commitment of the visitors, especially in the ruck and lineouts where the hosts were to lose their first seven throws on the bounce! It came as no surprise when Cefn centre Luke Williams atoned for a previous miss with a good strike to convert a penalty to open a 3 – 0 lead.

Against the run of Play

With their tails up, the visitors were taking the game to the home side with Taff’s Well flanker Rhys Watkins the standout in a rear-guard action which seemed to suggest that it was going to be a tough day at the office.  Just when you thought the dam was going to give way, a lovely passage of play saw the home side spread the ball from a scrum in their own 20m zone to smartly shuffle the ball along to centre Martin DeTorres who fed full-back Ryan Smith who delivered the killer-pass to left wing Jack Shaddick who steamed in for his fifth try of the season. Youth outside-half Brandon Thrasher duly obliged with the difficult conversion amid rumours that his boots are starting to gain value on the Dow Jones index.

Brief Promise

The score seemed to add the necessary injection to the arm as the home temporarily upped a gear but a huge overlap was ultimately squandered as the ball was taken back into contact and the opportunity lost. There then followed a tit-for-tat competition over interceptions which the visitors were to ultimately win as some poor execution in playing from deep let in Cefn second-row Scott Sullivan for the first of his two tries which was to retake the lead at 10 -7 thanks to the Williams conversion.

Ref Confirms his new Watch is Working

It’s very reassuring to know that the officials have the right equipment for the job as the referee was about to demonstrate. Taff’s right-wing Ronan Barratt fielded a kick in the deep to round his opposite number but when a tackle was eventually made on the half-way near to the touchline, Taff’s Well were penalised for Cefn centre Williams to opt for what was a long shot at goal from a fully 55m or so out.

As he meticulously went through his preparation and started his run to address the ball, the ref blew his whistle to say that the allotted time had run out and that it was no use arguing with him as he was using the very latest titanium carbide swiss quartz precision calibrated stainless steel chronographic time sequencing watch – fair enough. To add to the ignominy, the visitors were to earn a yellow card for a tip-tackle and No8 and inspirational Captain Arron Davies made his way to the touchline for a 10-minute conference with the rest of his squad.

Cefn have the last Laugh

With half-time approaching and Taff’s Well on the attack, home Captain Lewis Edwards was adjudged to have led with his forearm which seemed a very harsh decision and he begrudgingly trotted off to even up the sides. The game had turned very scrappy during this period but after the home side were pinged for the umpteenth offside, Cefn full-back Nathan Jones stepped up to convert which put the visitors into a well-deserved 13-7 lead which in truth, they should have capitalised on as among others, Captain Davies and prop Callum Hines were having strong games and the game was becoming theirs to lose.

                  Half-time Score:   Taff’s Well 7 v 13 Cefn Coed

                                                Second Half

Cefn Coed has been winning the lineouts but the telling factor had been the lack of competition at the rucks where the visitors had shown more numbers and more aggression which meant they were securing their own ball and slowing down the home side’s possession.

Thrasher Strikes Back

When Taff’s Well get the ball wide, they look dangerous and this showed to be the case early in the second half as flanker Watkins fed Barratt who again rounded his man for pace but was unlucky as he just failed to gather his chip ’n’ chase which would have put him free. His efforts, however, had earned the home side a lineout 15m out from which the ball was spun along the line for Cefn to be penalised for offside which Thrasher calmly converted in front of the posts to bring the deficit to three points at 13-10.

Early Promise but Disaster Strikes

Taff’s Well were started to find an edge which they sorely lacked in the first half but just as things were starting to look promising and Cefn were forced to resort to an up ‘n’ under, Barratt found himself in all sorts of bother as the ball bounced awkwardly for second-row Sullivan to gleefully gather and canter over for his second try with Williams adding the extras for a comfortable looking 20-10 lead.

Time to Roll up the Sleeves

You could feel the frustration on the touchline which was probably multiplied sevenfold on the field and something was needed to turn a game that was seemingly slipping away. This side may be young but there’s definitely an air of confidence about them and to their credit, they rolled up their sleeves and started to secure more meaningful possession along with solving the lineout issues and gaining ascending in the scrums with Lloyd James scrummaging aggressively.

The Taff’s Well Revival

The game now had a different feel about it as the home side started to pin Cefn back in their own half and as Taff’s Well started to smell the whitewash, only a series of handling errors and penalties against were stifling a quantifiable return on their endeavours.

Watkins – Wright Combo Does it

With yet another attack, the home side were to win a penalty 20m out which Rhys Watkins took quickly to be impeded which gained another 10m and with another quick tap sending the ball wide, replacement centre Matthew Wright capped a fine cameo contribution as he sliced through to break the deadlock and touch down for Thrasher to produce the necessaries and tie the match at 20-20.      

Taff’s seal it from Red Card

The match was at times a bit niggly but this was more do to with the level of intensity as both sides refused to take a backward step and it came as a bit of a surprise when the referee penalised Cefn for foot contact to the head and duly brandished a red card. Sensing blood, Taff’s exploited the both the situation and the penalty by quickly moving the game upfield from which the ball went wide to find prop Ben Atkin in the centre who offloaded in the tackle to winger Barratt who scorched through the middle to leave the defence for dead and planting the ball under the posts to cap an impressive Taff’s Well comeback as the ever-reliable Thrasher capped another mature performance by adding the extras.

Seeing the Game Out

Cefn Coed did their best to haul back the 27-20 deficit and the home side were guilty of putting themselves under needless pressure but a combination of relieving penalties, organised defence plus the rotation of squad replacements off the bench was enough to see a game off which at one time seemed beyond the grasp of Taff’s Well.

The Verdict

After the free-flowing rugby fest of last week, Taff’s Well were yanked back to earth by a fired up Cefn Coed side that took the game to the home side and probably should have been more than six points to the good at half-time as they vigorously contested the breakdown and disrupted a miss-firing lineout. Cefn skipper and No.8 Arran Davies literally led from the front with outside-half Ryan Sullivan pulling the strings behind while the visitor’s man-of-the-match prop Cullum Davies enjoyed an industrious afternoon out.

Switching ends Proves the Catalyst

Taff’s Well were second best by a distance during the first half as they clung onto the tails of a Cefn Coed side which couldn’t quite turn the pressure into points and it was the home side who would provide a bit of class with a well-worked try. It must have been a good half-time talk from coach Axel Rees because the home side came out looking like a different team as they upped the pace to start stretching the visitors. With pace and strength out wide, it was a bit frustrating to see so many outside-halves on the pitch for Taff’s Well on occasion as the ball screamed to go wide but instead of heads-up rugby, the ball was taken into contact with the wrong players standing in decision-making positions – something to look at with the video I guess.

The Opposition View

‘We came down to take on Taff’s Well up front and the plan seemed to be working but we didn’t quite get enough points on the board during the first half. Taff’s Well have a bit of a reputation for playing running rugby but fair play to them, the pack fronted up in the second half and took the game away from us as our boys started to tire and the flanker Watkins was a thorn in the side throughout. We’re disappointed but credit must go to both sides for providing a titanic tussle, we look forward to welcoming them at our ground later in the season’ – Cefn Coed Coaches Andrew Young & Jarrod Young

Effort Across the Board

For Taff’s Well, young outside-half Brandon Thrasher continues his education with another sound display and a faultless place-kicking exhibition which continues to put pressure on sides and credit to young second row Lewys Jones playing out of position against guys twice his size typifying the attitude running throughout the squad. Centre Justin Jones continues to be…well - Justin Jones as he marshals his exciting young backline and scrum-half Cory Phillips did well under constant pressure. The bench too was to make a telling contribution as Matthew Wright, Conor Barratt, Bradley James and Chris Kidley-Burgwyn all made their presence felt.

Watkins Winging Forward at Flanker

Taff’s Well suffered from a lack of numbers at the breakdown during the first half but the pack deserve a lot of praise for the way they fought back into the game and the standout man-of-the-match for me for the second week running was flanker Rhys Watkins who was the scourge of the opposition in both attack and defence which was typified in the dying moments as he pressurised Cefn Coed into knocking on as they desperately tried to break from their own line.

Unbeaten Record Still in Tact

This game was a test of character for Taff’s Well and they passed – just! Axel Rees will be over the moon at the manner at which his side clawed their way back into a game they looked like losing while displaying a backbone which will be called upon throughout the season. Three opening wins on the bounce and 16 tries in the bag, it doesn’t get much better than that but the challenges will keep coming starting with a tough away fixture against Penygraig next week so we’ll need to keep up the terrific support the boys have enjoyed so far. Congratulations to the youth who pulled off a great 38-17 win against Fairwater in the opening game of their campaign – well done boys! Don't forget to support them in the cup game at home to Llantrisant on Wednesday.

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Dave Beese  mail


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