Fixture

Llanharan RFC | 1st Team 14 - 26 Taffs Well RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
08 October 2018 / Team News

Taff’s Well Squad Dig Deep Against Llanharan for Third Successive Win

Even with seven squad members missing (together with all possible match reporters and photographers!) Taff’s Well travelled to Llanharan high on confidence chasing a third consecutive win and with a few new combinations on the team sheet. The Wellman were soon into their stride with two early Hurley penalties and a string of scoring opportunities which were butchered in the execution. With the set-piece going well and second-row Ben Atkin in imperious form alongside hooker Matthew Desmier, the home side were under pressure from the off as the visitors continued to press.

Failures Come Home to Roost

The experienced centre pairing of Hurley and Justin Jones was looking slick feeding off an assured performance by outside-half Brandon Thrasher who continues to grow into the role but for all the early pressure and scoring opportunities, there was nothing to show in terms of tries thanks to a series of series of last-second errors which were to squander any attempt to get the numbers up on the scoreboard. As frustration grew and Llanharan riding out the storm, the home side were to climb back into the game to score two late tries and take a half-time score of 14-6 on the back of some Taff’s Well indiscipline. If the scoreline was disappointing then there would be further bad news with injuries to Tom Francis and prop Deri Vaughan but half-time was to prove something of a catalyst for the away team as the sides changed ends.

Half Time Score:  Llanharan 14 v 6 Taff’s Well


Second Half

If Llanharan thought they were home and dry with the wind at their backs and playing down the slope, Taff’s Well had other ideas with a magnificently controlled second-half performance as ‘old-stager’ substitutes Gareth Gibbs and Ashley Bonetto showed the youngsters what they still had in the locker. With the backs keeping ball in hand and running from deep, full-back Ronan Barrett was causing all sorts of problems for the home defence with his pace and flair and Taff’s Well were always looking the more likely to score.

Set-Pieces On Song

As the pack started to put a squeeze on the game with a well-functioning lineout and a scrum which was starting to put the home side under pressure, the chances were starting to come but again, the final coup-de-grace was proving elusive thanks to more errors in the last phase. It was left to man-of-the-match Ben Atkin to take the game by the scruff of the neck as he ploughed over to gain reward for a huge attacking and defensive performance. More reward for second-half dominance was to come in the shape of two more Hurley penalties to take the score to 19-14 in favour of Taff’s Well.

Coup De Grace!

With 10 minutes left on the clock and the Taff’s Well supporters starting to display nervous twitches, the pack went up a gear to win a series of attacking scrums in the Llanharan red zone. As the front-row of Atkins, Desmier and Lloyd James went up through the gears, the pack duly obliged in support to force the home scrum backwards to the line for No.8 Max Watkins (getting out of his sick bed) to gain reward for a committed performance and crash over to seal the game and the points in a deserved win which was testament to the depth of the squad and the never-say-die attitude.

Final Score: Llanharan 14 v 24 Taff’s Well


Final Say

With so many unavailabilities, there was no hint of self-pity on show as the team showed up for the most part and dug deep to give a commanding second-half performance which clearly delighted coach Rhys Watkins as the team delivered a third consecutive win for him. “We were outstanding today, especially in the second half when we didn’t allow Llanharan to press on from half-time. So pleased for the boys, especially the ones who have come from the 2nd XV like Rhys Hurley and Christian Nicholas who showed that they can play at this level.” commented Rhys.

Standouts

The combination of outside-half Brandon Thatcher, inside centre Matthew Hurley and outside centre Justin Jones looks like having an interesting future with Ronan Barrett looking deadly from full-back. The front row continues to be the bedrock of the team and it does seem unfair to single out players as the second-half provided the best performance to date this season as the whole team gelled to shut out the home side. After such a disappointing start to the season, the train is well and truly back on the tracks starting with another important game against Aberdare away next week.

Man-of-the-Match:  Ben Atkin (Sponsored by The Emerald Tattoo Company)


Dave Beese mail davecbwales@gmail.com

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