Taffs Well RFC | 1st Team 31 - 17 Llanharan RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
19 January 2019 / Team News

Must Win 31-19 Result Over Llanharan Seals Clean Sweep Weekend for Taff's Well

There were no ifs and buts about today's encounter as both sides needed a win to ease their relegation worries and with Taff's Well drawing first blood winning away earlier in the season, there would be no shortage of purpose or intent from either side.

Wellmen Strike First

Outside-half Matthew Hurley was the first test the defences with a kick and chase effort which begged to bounce up into the arms of right-wing Christian Nicholas which would have seen him gallop away to the corner but the God of bounce had other ideas and the ball agonisingly eluded him. A clearance kick from deep in the Abercycon 22 was pouched by full-back Ronan Barratt who tore his way through the visitor's midfield to link with Hurley who threw the try-scoring pass to centre Martin DeTorres for a cracker of a try which was hopefully a sign of things to come.  

Sloppy defending costs both sides

Llanharan were quick to recover as some rather unconvincing defending allowed influential scrum-half Craig Burton to twist his way out of a tackle and plunge over for an opportunist try which went unconverted. A dropped ball at the kick-off presented Taff's Well with an immediate attacking platform in the form of a 30m scrum. With the scum again in commanding form, the ball was taken up for second-row Ben Atkin to bust the line and set up hooker Matthew Desmier in support to enable him to dive over which was rewarded with the extras from Hurley.

Taff's Well in control

The home side where starting to build up steam with some good possession but just when it seemed an obvious overlap had been spurned right, the ball was swung back right from scrum-half Craig Field to centre Matthew Wright who teed-up flanker Bradley James to pierce the gap and sprint away for his side's third try which was again converted by Hurley to see the home side looking comfortable at 19-5 up.

Barrat the breaker

Barratt was soon back again as he tore through the Llanharan ranks but with the ball begging to go wide, the tackle was taken and the ball lost and taken back into the home 22 which saw a Taff's Well penalty save the day. Not happy with his effort, Barratt again took up the ball and set off on a weaving run which saw him back himself to turn the Llanharan cover inside out and score a superb 80m solo effort which had the Taff's Well faithful purring in their pints. 24-5 up, bonus point secured and a healthy half-time lead which saw a battling Llanharan side sliced open by the direct running of Barratt.

Half-Time Score:  Taff's Well 24 v 5 Llanharan

Second Half

Not quite sure what happened half-time as the quality of the game deteriorated with a raft of mistakes from both sides. The Taff's Well defence forgot to come back on the field which meant that Llanharan were to take early advantage of some very slopping man-marking which allowed centre Stuart Griffiths to cross with outside-half Lloyd Thomas adding the extras. Minutes later, explosive No.8 Owain Howe took advantage of more charitable tackling to bring the score back to within five points as Thomas once again obliged. From a seemingly unassailable position, Taff's Well had let the visitors back into the game and things could have turned a lot worse had Llanharan taken advantage of several teasing interception invitations which could have had other outcomes on another day.

Need to shape up

Left wing Ryan Smith did well to turn inside his man and set up an attack 20m out which saw the visitors pinged for offside and a subsequent yellow brandished. With the scrum option chosen and the pack on the front foot, the obvious thought was to use the one man overlap but the ball went the other way and a penalty conceded in the process which saw the danger averted. The home side had lost its shape and there were too many players finding themselves in the wrong positions which meant the game was totally bereft of any cohesion.

Barratt the game breaker

There were a host of errors on show and Llanharan were smelling blood and thinking in terms of stealing a game that most present thought was totally beyond them. With minutes ticking and the game in the balance, it took another piece of magic from Barratt to seal the deal as he surgically scythed up through the Llanharan defence to link up with Matthew Hurley who in turn fed No.8 Max Watkins who delivered the scoring pass to replacement second-row Daryl Mota to dive over in the corner. Another Hurley conversion provided the daylight and a bonus-point win which looked like hard work but in the greater scheme of things - was a case of job done.

Final Score:  Taff's Well 31 v 19 Llanharan

The Verdict

This game was always going to be about the result as both sides were looking to keep in touch with the sides above them and Taff's Well looking do the double over Llanharan for the first time in living memory. 11 points out of a possible 15 over the last three games is a return that coach Rhys Davies will be happy with but he will be less happy with the manner in which yesterday's five points were earned. There were some cracking tries on show, mostly sparked by the running of full-back Ronan Barratt who injected urgency into the game when things were looking flat but the team ultimately lost its shape just when it looked like they about to run away with the game.

Blue & Blacks Stick at it

Llanharan never gave and it took some stylish tries to unlock their defence. No.8 Owain Howe shone bright and he was ably abetted by scrum-half Craig Burton and the outstanding Sam Llewellyn at hooker but they came up agonisingly short of getting the losing bonus point.

The Pluses & Minuses

The scrum again went well causing all kinds of problems but it was difficult to pick out any outstanding performances up front save to mention some nice clearing up by flanker Justin Jones. There were too many players who found themselves out of position which meant that it was difficult to stick to any game plan. The backs definitely had their moments with Martin DeTorres looking sharp and left wing Christian Nicholas again wearing his heart on his sleeve but the game was saved by the electric running of man-of-the-match Ronan Barratt who caused mayhem every time he touched the ball and was the catalyst for so much of the good moments within the match.

Match Day Photos:  Press Here

Abercynon 2nd XV 5 v 19 Taff's Well 2nd XV

The 2nd XV battled to an impressive 19-5 away win at Abercynon. Captain Josh Walsh led the way with a try with further scores from Connor Edwards, Kai Perry and two conversions from outside-half Tom Cattle. Kai Perry knabbed the MOTM with James Jefferies and Tom Cattle pushing close with some monumental defending. The side will be looking to get a strong squad out next week as they take on Ponytclun in the league so make sure manager Barry Morgan is aware of any playing availabilities.

Taff's Well Women 30 v 29 Tumble Women

It was left to the girls to serve up the most dramatic finish of the weekend as they came back from being 29-20 down with minutes to go and down to 13 players! Centre Georgia Teuma scored with the last play of the game to cap an incredible comeback which was aided and abetted by women-of-the-match performances from No.8 Beth Morgan and Georgia Teuma. Tries were scored by Teuma x 2, left wing Shania Davies, right wing Sam Lewis x 2 and centre Kayleigh Cushion.

The win gave the club a hat-trick of wins from the three senior sides over the course of the weekend.

Dave Beese  mail








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