Fixture

Aberdare RFC | 1st Team 7 - 49 Taffs Well RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
14 April 2019 / Team News

Taff’s Well Cash in With 49-7 Away Win At Aberdare

In a very competitive league and with the season coming to an end, it was always felt that relegation would go down to the wire. With several clubs looking down the barrel, destiny was in the hands of Taff’s Well who would be chasing only their second away win of the season - but when it mattered most, they delivered with the biggest win of the season whilst inflicting on the hosts, the biggest loss at home this campaign. A bonus-point win would ensure that both Llanharan and Cardiff Harlequins would finish in the automatic relegation places with a home fixture to Barry to come.

Early Pressure

With a strong wind in favour, things got off to a positive start as centre Martin DeTorres broke the line before scrum-half Gwilym Edwards chipped and chased to put the hosts under pressure. Outside-half Matthew Hurley stroked over an early penalty as the backline were showing signs of cohesion but it would be the forwards who would be the first to show with some fancy handling as flanker Justin Jones turned the ball over to feed and support and take the ball a second time to tee-up prop Gareth Gibbs who stormed over for the opening try of the game. Hurley converted for a 10-0 lead.

Miss-firing Lineout

Taff’s Well were enjoying all the territory but spurned several attacking opportunities with the normally reliable lineout struggling in the windy conditions but it wouldn’t be long before the pressure would pay off. The scrum has been the cornerstone of the pack’s performance this season and it again proved to be an attacking option as a quick-taken penalty was fed from Watkins to prop Lloyd James and taken up by Hurley and full-back Ryan Smith who combined to set up impressive centre DeTorres to scamper over for the game’s second converted try.

Defence in Control

Aberdare were struggling to get anything meaningful together with the Taff’s Well defence looking in total control to the point where the Taff’s Well 22 wasn’t breached for 32 minutes and that was by 6 inches. The omens were looking good and one more try before half-time would not only make it difficult for the hosts to get back into the game  – the important bonus point try would be in sight. The visitors would finish off the half as they had started – in total control with centre Matthew Wright giving the scoring pass to full-back Smith who cantered over for the third converted try and a scoreline which might have seemed a little fanciful to even the staunchest of supporters at the kick-off.

Half-time Score:  Aberdare 0 v 24 Taff’s Well


Second-Half

The second half kicked off just as the first with a touchline dash by Christian Nicholas which was halted with a good tackle down the right. With a steal by second row Ben Atkin gaining possession and gaining a penalty as a result, the scrum option was to pay dividends as a quickly taken resultant penalty saw live-wire scrum-half Edwards rear off to the right-hand corner flag and bustle his way over in the corner for the crucial try bonus point, much to the delight of the travelling faithful and coach Rhys Watkins. Aberdare were looking dejected especially as a yellow card was wafted at them putting them into more trouble. 29-0 down, one man down and Taff’s Well making the changes.

Turning the Screw

Aberdare might have thought they would have some respite through the changes but must have soon changed they minds as the bulking shape of Ethan Prescott took to the field in place of the departing Bradley James who has been an impressive stand-in from hooker to flanker thanks to the injury list. Aberdare finally managed to get a chip to get deep into the Taff’s Well 22 isolating wing Tom Cattle who was faced with a huge kick to touch against the wind but he kept his head and charged out of defence to set up the ruck which saw the ball safely cleared. Back came the visitors to apply the pressure with a chip’n chase into the opposition which would yield a penalty from which Hurley added to pain by converting and stretching the lead to 32-0

Aberdare struggle to hold the Tide but hit back

With the scrum now in total command, impressive No.8 Watkins looked to have crossed only for the referee to have signalled for the ball to have been held up but there would be no respite as Gwilym Edwards peeled from the attacking scrum to put centre Wright on a collision course for the line and a fifth try which was converted by Hurley and a rather incredulous scoreline of 39-0. It didn’t look as if Aberdare would conjure up anything in the way of a score but some poor defending enabled second-row Keiron Parry to show an impressive turn of speed to cross under the sticks for a converted try.

Normal service resumed

From the kick-off, Aberdare showed some confidence by running out of defence but as the clearing kick finally came, it was charged down by the giant frame of Prescott which saw the ball fall into the hands of flanker Jones who put in the most exquisite overhead/inside pass to No. 8 Watkins who strode over for a fine reward for his efforts throughout the afternoon. Aberdare looked like they were seeing out the end of a season but the anguish would last a little longer as a retreating scrum due to another yellow card saw replacement scrum-half Craig Field take a quick-tap and ghost host his way through a fairly disinterested defence to score a fine individual effort to end the game at 49-7.


The Verdict

It was no secret that the coaching staff would have to target the last two games to ensure that Taff’s Well had a fighting chance of staying up this season but no-one would have had the audacity to predict this result way from home against a side who have been comfortably mid-table. Aberdare may have shown a rather end-of-season attitude with nothing to play for but apart from winning possession against the head from the line-out in the first half, they came second best in just about every other phase of the game. The win ensures that both Llanharan and the Harlequins finish below Taff’s Well which should be the sealed deal but exasperation surrounds the late decision of the WRU to consider three teams going down from Div. 2 in a bid to re-jig the league format.

Standouts

There were some great tries, the handling was very impressive and so was the direct running with outside half-half Matthew Hurley reaching 200 points for the season and directing matters which saw centre Martin DeTorres having a very influential game. Second-row Jon Barry was again in good form and he’ll no doubt try and convince us that he wants to retire but no doubt the lads will have a say in that. Gwilym Edwards had an excellent day after an excellent season and was unlucky to be pipped to the post by man-of-the-match Max Watkins who linked with Edwards to torment the Aberdare defence for most of the afternoon. Great performance when it was needed and the lads have the opportunity to put all talk of relegation out of the window by beating promotion-chasing Barry next week - the return fixture on the first day of the season was a humdinger.

Matchday Gallery:  Press Here


Next up…

Sunday 14th April

WRU Bowl Semi-Final

Taff’s Well Women v Llantwit Fardre Women – KO 2.30pm


davecbwales@gmail.com

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