Fixture

Taffs Well RFC | 1st Team 18 - 14 Abercynon RFC | 1st Team
Darryl Mota
Try 1
Justin Jones
Try 1
Matthew James Hurley
Conversion 1
Penalty 2

Match Report
23 September 2018 / Team News

Taff’s Well End Abercynon’s Unbeaten Run With Tense 18-14 Victory

The fortunes of today’s two protagonists couldn’t have been any different as unbeaten Abercynon travelled to take on a Taff’s Well side looking for their first win in Div. 2. With Maes Gwyn looking remarkably good considering the weather, Coach Rhys Watkins shuffled his pack to select a side aimed at taking on both the weather and a team with three wins and a draw behind them. Having missed the Heol-y-Cyw game through a camping trip in Snowdonia, the journalistic arm of Taff’s Well rugby had re-opened its office and set itself for what was effectively a must-win affair for the wellmen.

Hurley (early?...never mind) Score

The first two games of the Taff’s Well campaign featured two very slow starts which meant that they were always chasing the game, last week’s contest had seen a big improvement and it was essential that the momentum be kept going. Hopes were raised as the home side were quickly into the groove carving out some solid possession which enabled outside-half Matthew Hurley to open the scoring with a penalty from 30m. Things looked to be getting even better as the pack trundled forward to enable the backs to sweetly serenade the ball across the line to force a two-on-one situation but with young Tom Cattle begging for the ball unmarked, the ball was held and taken into the tackle to concede an Abercynon scrum.

Justin Time

As the ball was fed, Taff’s Well produced a weighted effort to mess up the opposition scrum which saw the ball turned over for scrum-half Gwilym Edwards to get his backs going with some more sweet passing which found centre Justin Jones who ignited the gas to outflank his marker and dive in at the corner for a well-worked try and an eight-point lead. Old habits die hard with the ball being squandered from the kick-off to provide an opportunity for Abercynon full-back Kieran Symon to peg back the score with a simple penalty for an off-side offence in front of the posts.

Set-Piece Set To

The scrum contest was being evenly contested, the line-out going smoothly and the back-row of impressive Captain Lewis Edwards, co-flanker Rhys Green and No.8 Max Watkins looking a very cohesive unit, especially in defence. Hurley and Symon exchanged missed penalty opportunities before both sides were guilty of squandering overlaps when the going looked good. With territorial advantage growing, the home side gained a penalty which saw a 5m attacking line-out rolling-maul rumble and edge towards the line for second-row Daryl Mota to cross in the corner which was rewarded with a fine Hurley conversion to stretch the score to a well-deserved 18 – 3 margin.

 Abercynon Reply

The home side became guilty of falling asleep in defence and were to pay the ultimate price as from a penalty won 5m line-out, Abercynon worked a well-rehearsed move to put in No.8 Luke price which when added to another Symon penalty, brought the score at half-time to 18-11 in a half which saw Taff’s Well spurn a hard-fought lead to put the visitors back into the game.

Half-time Score:  Taff’s Well 18 v 11 Abercynon


Second Half

Abercynon were to state their intentions early on as Symon converted an early penalty thanks to a series of aerial ‘bombs’ which the home side failed to defuse. With the penny dropping (and not the ball), scrum-half Edwards beautifully took a Garryowen under pressure only to be tackled in the air which earned his side a penalty and a 10m attacking line-out. With the ball safely secured and the subsequent driving maul setting up a great attacking platform, the ball was sent wide only to be dropped when the defence started to leak which was perhaps as much to do with the conditions as the Teflon coated fingertips. The home side were to squander another similar opportunity thanks to some dicey digits before second-row Ben Atkin treated the crowd with some crunching tackles knocking the unlucky recipients several yards backwards.

Taff’s Well Defence Holds

With the score at 18-14, the home were starting to look comfortable - shading the scrums, looking to use the rolling ball off line-outs and effectively keeping the visitors playing outside of the Taff’s Well 20m line thanks to some solid defence from both backs and forwards. Just when pressure looked likely to pay, Abercynon full-back Syman tried to tip the scales with a scything run from deep which split the Taff’s Well defence but defenders managed to scramble back to snuff out the danger. Centre Jones was back at it with a nice gather and run which earned another penalty shot from 38m out but the effort sailed to the right of the posts. Both sides were guilty of handling errors but conditions as they were, it would be harsh to apportion too much blame.

So Near – Yet So Far

The home side had managed to restrict their guests to so very few opportunities during the second half and you sensed that one more score would bring the done deal. With a penalty won in the Abercynon red zone, the decision was taken to opt for a 5m scrum which yielded a Taff’s Well penalty after the pack sniffed the whitewash. Again, a penalty with the home side sensing a yellow card and penalty try territory. With ball won and the scrum edging forward, No.8 Watkins picked up and peeled but after the ball was fed with the line in sight, another spot of fumbling ended the hopes of killing off the game.

Edge of Seats Time

With Taff’s Well seemingly in control and the forwards putting together some nice inter-passing, another home penalty set up another attacking 18m line-out but just when the rumble seemed to making yards, the ball was lost in contact. With seconds remaining, Abercynon mustered one last attack which saw them earn a penalty to set up their own 10m attacking line-out and with the ball safely won, the scene was set for the tensest of finishes. With talk of ’I think we’ve blown it’ ringing out on the terraces, Abercynon set off with the ball up their jumper but they were about to get as much change out of the Taff’s Well defence as they had for most of the afternoon. With home bodies piling in from everywhere, the ball was knocked-on which persuaded referee Anthony Jones that he had seen enough with a blast on the whistle that brought a loud cheer from an elated Taff’s Well crowd which had seemingly been forced through the ringer just as much as the players!

Final Score:  Taff’s Well 18 v 14 Abercynon


The Verdict

After the disappointment of three losses which could have easily have been two wins, there was a lot of pressure on the players to deliver the first win for coach Rhys Watkins. Lack of composure and concentration had meant that a winless Taff’s Well were facing a side which had not lost in their first four games placing them second in the division. With backs against the wall, the side delivered a win that they totally deserved as they restricted Abercynon to one solitary scoring opportunity which they deftly took with a smart line-out move.

The Set-Pieces

The home side line-out looked smooth and they managed to edge the scrums against a combative visiting eight who were kept under wraps by some great close-up fringe defence. The front-row of props Graham Harvey and Lloyd James aided by hooker Matthew Desmier ensured that their Abercynon counterparts were unable to set the platform for anything more constructive. Abercynon’s Rhys Roberts earned his corn by putting in a good shift at both flanker and prop with cameo performances supplied by full-back Kieron Symon and second-row Samuel Prosser. Red & Black’s coach Grant Eynon commented ‘Taff’s Well deserved their win because they took their chances when it mattered in both attack and defence, no complaints from me’.

The Taff’s Well Performance In’s & Out’s

The talk in the clubhouse mainly concerned how Taff’s Well put their supporters through the mill by offering Abercynon the opportunity to get something out of the game at the death when in truth, the home side had looked comfortable throughout the game - second half especially. Although the pack took the honours, their performance was sullied by the number of penalties they conceded which was a huge source of frustration for players and supporters alike. The rolling maul remains an effective weapon in the armoury and the defence looked solid. MOM match and skipper Lewis Edwards literally lead from the front as he and flanker Rhys Green continually frustrated their counterparts by blocking the areas both around the fringes and through the 10 channel.  Centre Justin Jones lead the back-line defensive effort which gave the visitors very little space to operate in and Taff’s Well always looked the more likely side to score although lack of composure at key times in attack prevented a far more comfortable looking scoreline.

In Summation

This win coupled with the performances of three out of four of the first opening games prove that Taff’s Well can be comfortable at this level, especially with a little more composure and better game management. The spirit of the whole side meant that there’s nothing lacking in heart or effort, maybe just application in certain aspects of the game plan. It’s been a wait but yesterday’s win was well worth it.

Match Day Squad & Sponsors:

1. Lloyd James - Dragon Air Conditioning Caerphilly
2. Matthew Desmier - CGP Transport 
3. Graham Harvey
4. Daryl Mota - 
Rockstar Barbers
5. Ben Atkin - Emerald Tattoo Company
6. Lewis Edwards - Conform Fire & Security
7. Rhys Green - The Talbot Arms
8. Max Watkins - Heath Windows and Doors
9. Gwilym Edwards - Mr O Griffiths
10. Matthew Hurley - 
Newey & Eyre
11. Tom Cattle 
12. Justin Jones - 
Cardiff Holiday Homes
13. Ronan Barrett - Delme & Brynmor Edwards 
14. Ryan Smith 
15. Brandon Thrasher - 
Bridgend Fabrics

16. John Davies
17. Conor Barrett - 
Dragon Air Conditioning Caerphilly
18. Mike Lindon - Refuel Nutrition
19. Craig Field - Chris Dennis Complete Car Maintenance
20. John Stephens - James Hardie 
21.
Tom Francis

Match Day Photos:  Press Here


 

Coming up…

Next week sees an exciting week for the club as the unbeaten 2nd XV take on The University of South Wales which heralds the start of a new collaborative initiative between the university and Taff’s Well RFC which was formulated by the newly formed Taff’s Well RFC Rugby Committee. The University will be looking to bed in ties with Taff’s Well to introduce students to the club through games with both the women’s and men’s teams. Further co-operation will involve a whole host of ideas designed to highlight Taff’s Well as a potential source of rugby for students and provide a wider learning area for students to gain experience in coaching and rugby matters.

Cup Week!

Next week sees the 1st XV take on Cardiff Quins at home in the first round of the WRU Plate Competition which renews rivalries of years gone by. Make sure you get to both events as the club continues to reach forward.


Dave Beese  mail  davecbeese@gmail.com

 

 

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