Fixture

Pentyrch RFC | 1st Team 25 - 7 Taffs Well RFC | 1st Team
Rhys Thomas
Try 1
Nathan Williams
Try 1
Tomos R N James
Conversion 2
Penalty 2
Try 1
James Field
1 Conversion
Jack Shaddick
1 Try

Match Report
01 April 2018 / Team News

Taff's Well Let Slip With Disappointing 25-7 Reversal at Neighbours Pentyrch

Taff's Well Let Slip With Disappointing  25-7 Reversal at Neighbours Pentyrch

What a difference a week makes, from probably the best performance of the season to definitely the worst in the space of 168 hours and 15 minutes (the ref was late after dropping his missus off shopping in Cardiff). On a pitch which had held up remarkably well under the incessant rain, Taff’s Well looked to turn the heat up on the chasing pack as they shared the lead top spot with Abercwmboi but this shocker opens the door to a dogfight between several clubs who will look to take advantage of today’s result.

Good Early Signs but Pentyrch Open the Scoring

The early signs were good as Taff’s Well secured possession from a 20m attacking lineout to superbly drive towards the Pentyrch line but just as a score beckoned, the ball was knocked forward and the danger averted. The home side countered quickly to break wide and pierce the visitor's defence before centre Justin Jones managed to snuff out the foray with a good covering tackle but Pentyrch were to soon attack again as they tore down left before a superb last-ditch tackle by wing Ronan Barrett saved a certain try. Unfortunately for Taff’s Well, the referee had been playing an advantage which brought play back to 20m in front of the posts and a straightforward penalty shot for influential centre Tom James who got the scoreboard ticking for a 3-0 lead.

Lack of Precision

A speculative kick by outside-half Jamie Field enable Barrett to make another good tackle as he chased the ball to earn his side a penalty and a subsequent 5m lineout but the throw was adjudged to be not straight which was a precursor for a lineout which in contrast to last week, creaked throughout the whole match. The good news for the visitors was that their scrum was putting pressure on the Pentyrch eight and after the host’s put-in was attacked and disrupted, the turnover ball brought Barrett in at speed but the ball was knocked forward metres from the line.

Taff’s Well Hit Back

With Pentyrch starting to make their intentions clear, flanker Rhys Watkins found himself in possession to link up with the backs and feed left-wing Jack Shaddick, who not for the first time this season showed a clean pair of heels from 50m out to step inside his opposite number and sprint to the line for a splendid solo effort which was converted by Field.  Scrum-half Gwilym Edwards was getting through a mountain of work in defence with some good backing up by No. Max Watkins but things were about to turn for the worse as a neat grubber and collection by Pentyrch saw a high-arm tackle effort from full-back Chris Tottle who subsequently tottled off to the touchline with a yellow card as the reason.

Turks Smell Blood

With the one-man advantage, Pentyrch took the lineout option which was defended stoically but from the resultant scrum, they were able to send the ball wide for right-wing Nathan Williams to dive over in the corner to edge the hosts into a one-point lead. Looking to press home the advantage, Pentyrch started to turn the screw and following a succession of penalties and co-ordinated drives, flanker Rhys Thomas stole over for James to convert and stretch the half-time lead to 15-7.

Half-time Score:  Pentyrch 15 v 7 Taff’s Well


Second Half

The home team had taken full advantage of the yellow but the Taff’s Well kicking game along with the lineout had been suffering; add to that, the lack of good decision making and constant handling mistakes and you start to get the picture of how the visitors had struggled to stamp any authority on the game. The Turks started off where they finished the half by slicing through the Taff’s Well defence only to be brought back for a forward pass and the same decision saved the visitors minutes later as from a scrum - centre James again mading his presence felt with an incisive break.

Turks Ramp Up

It wasn’t long before the Taff’s Well defence was again called on to save a promising move down the right before the ball was moved to wingman Barrett who stood his man up to skirt the touchline and push the ball through with a well-judged grubber kick which took a bad bounce to enable the ensuing Tottle to overshoot the ball with the line in sight. Moments later, one of many mix-ups with ball in hand enabled Pentyrch to fly-hack through and set up a lineout for James to crash-ball the defence and cross the whitewash and convert his own effort for a comfortable 22-7 lead.

Miracle Passes

As Taff’s Well started to chase the game, the number of handling errors increased, miracle pass attempts were employed and as too often, the ball was taken into contact enabling the defence to reset. The home eight had started to edge the weight in the scrums and outside-half Morgan Hayward was pulling the strings behind. With a stranglehold on the game, James increased the lead with another penalty and ended the game with a monstrous clearing kick which took his team from their own red zone to a lineout 5m from the Taff’s Well line. The home side were able to clear the pressure but Pentyrch had dominated the second half to end the game worthy victors against a hardly recognisable Taff’s Well side in comparison from the win against Gwernyfed the previous week.

Final score:  Pentyrch 25 v 7 Taff’s Well


The Verdict

This performance really was as poor as it sounds and the lads should, and will be gutted by both the result and by the manner in which they lost as they never really got off the bus. Pentyrch dominated the second half and could have scored more tries if not for forward passes whilst Taff’s Well looked a shadow of the side pushing for promotion. The lineout miss-fired, the scrum ended up going backwards and there seemed to be a complete lack of understanding and execution when considering attacking options behind.

Pentyrch Ambition

You really have to congratulate Pentyrch firstly for the size of the crowd through their reunion and secondly for the amount of spirit they produce in a fine performance which puts the honours even between the two clubs this season, and a win which puts them one win behind Taff’s Well. Centre Tom James was the scourge for the visitors with some huge kicking out of hand, strong running and no slouch when it came to placekicking as he amassed a tally of 15 points and outside-half Morgan Hayward ensured that Pentyrch were always in control. Their pack grew in confidence as the game wore on and they managed to exert a gradual stranglehold with Taff’s Well missing any cohesion. Coach Phil Bartle refused to single out any of the pack as they played as a unit, simply commenting ‘It’s a great win for us, I’m chuffed to bits.’

The Taff’s Well Problems

The normally stable set-pieces came second best to a combative Pentyrch eight as too players went’ missing in action’ as heads started to drop. The effort was there for the majority of the first half but so many things were done in isolation as the ball was continually taken into contact thanks to some ‘testosterone’ rugby which allowed the hosts to reset and comfortably contain the wider threat. Wingers Barrett and Shaddick looked dangerous but couldn’t get the quality ball they craved, the kicking game paled in comparison to that of the hosts and there was a lack of understanding which eventually bred indecision. For these reasons, there was no single person who stood out in a Taff’s Well shirt as although the pride and effort are not in question, this was not a cohesive team effort which meant that the sum of the parts where definitely less than the whole.

MOM?

The only way Taff’s Well were going to get anything out of the game was to get the ball to the speedsters but the Pentyrch defence closed them down quickly and the problem was compounded with a dreadful handling display behind which involved so many speculative ‘miracle’ pass attempts under pressure which ultimately went to ground. Not expecting any Facebook ‘likes’ for this report but it was, was it was and we can’t run away from it which for the first time this season leads me to not put a name forward for MOM as I don’t genuinely think I it would be appropriate. I should mention another fine finish by left-wing Jack Shaddick who shows such promise for the future at just eighteen and it will be interesting to see if the club harbours thoughts of developing him as an outside centre as he matures (all views are my own and not that of the management!).

Where We Go From Here

It’s not a great job to get up on a Sunday morning and have to write such a disappointing report but it would reflect the thoughts of so many very knowledgeable ex-player supporters who would have travelled up the hill and far be it for me to pull the wool over their eyes. Where do we go From here? Llandaff of course, because that’s who have next Saturday and an opportunity to put this one behind us as a bad day at the office. The players would be so disappointed at the quality of their performance but yesterday aside, there has been a resilience in the side which has allowed them to pick themselves up from the floor and as the quote goes, ’The measure of a man is not how often he is knocked down, it’s about how quickly he gets up”. What we do know, is that the same loyal supporters will be down at Llandaff next week to get behind the boys in order to show that we are united as a club and we share the lows as well as the highs.


Dave Beese  mail  davecbwales@gmail.com

 

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