Fixture

Taffs Well RFC | 1st Team 17 - 27 Aberdare RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
29 January 2019 / Team News

Agony Continues For Competitive Taff’s Well Side With 27-19 Loss To Aberdare

With January being a possible make-or-break month for Taff’s Well following two wins out of three; today's visitors were also on a roll after two good wins of their own including beating Cilfynydd the previous week. Bolstered by several returnees which included Pontypridd and Neath experience, Aberdare were always going to ask questions with a brand of attacking rugby that is starting to serve them well.

Aberdare Press Ignite

On a wet January afternoon in conditions that were hardly conducive to running rugby, the opening minutes of the match proved to be something that would come back to haunt the home side as a clever chip over the top saw the ball regained and fed back inside for Aberdare winger Jamie Richards to cross over for a smart try which was converted by full-back Jordan Coles. Before the ink had dried from my pen, the visitors were back on the attack with some slick handling from both backs and forwards which saw prop Nathan Terry fill his boots with a score which again, was converted by Coles.

Taff’s Well Riposte

This was well-drilled stuff from Aberdare and the Taff’s Well supporters were steeling themselves for a long afternoon fearing the very worst from an ambitious and clinical visiting side. Hopes were raised suddenly raised as centre Matthew Wright made one of his several first-half busts to break the gain line and feed outside-half Matthew Hurley who delivered a scoring pass to right-wing Ryan Smith who took his opportunity to bring his side back into it as Hurley added the extras.

Good Quality Game

This was turning into a decent game despite the turgid weather as both sides were looking to go wide. Aberdare continued their game-plan with sustained possession which saw a clever ground off-load to second-row Chris Speck in support to crash over for his sides third try and a lead of 17-7. The Taff’s Well set-piece was again in dominant form with the second-row pairing of Jon Barry - who got through a mountain of work and Ben Atkin showing up well with some imperious drives with ball in hand.

Pressure Tells

The home side were getting back into the game which saw a penalty attempt bounce of the posts to land in the arms of the chasing Smith; with the ball recycled and taken on, another penalty enabled Hurley to bring the game back to within seven points as he struck home his attempt. Another great shunt from a defensive scrum saw the home side kick deep and set up a platform thanks to a knock-on. As the ball went through the hands, winger Smith carved through the markers to set up a drive which saw full-back Ronan Barratt squirm over the line for a splendidly worked team try which when converted – saw Aberdare lead at half-team by 17-19 in an exciting game which saw Taff’s Well impressively haul themselves back into the game.

Half-time Score:  Taff’s Well 17 – 24 Aberdare


Second-half

With stand-in flanker Bradley James making some trademark tackles killing attacks at source, Taff’s Well started off where they left off and were dominating the territorial battle but just as things were started to look controlled; the ball was turned over and ran down the left wing to utilise an overlap which saw scrum-half Ellis Stephens dive in at the corner against the run of play. Another clinical finish for Aberdare – heartache for the home side. With a seemingly high tackle missed, the ball was sent through the hands by the Taff’s Well backline but with the overlap worked, the ball was passed forward and the chance missed.

More Territory

Left wing Gwilym Edwards showed a clean pair of heels to tidy up nicely from deep as he beat several defenders which saw Barratt again enter the line to enable the ball to be sent right then left, but  the momentum was lost as a pass was adjudged forward. As substitutions were made by coach Rhys Watkins, it was a relief to see Club Captain Lewis Edwards finally take the field after his long-term injury problems and have a short but effective influence on the game.

Taff’s Well Pack Ramp Up

The home pack were starting to get on top which saw sustained possession and pressure result in the ball sent wide metres out but a superb covering tackle saw No.8 Max Watkins bundled into touch at the corner flag. This was now all Taff’s Well as the pack on several occasions drove towards the Aberdare line from only meters out but thanks to some sterling defence and a severe outbreak of white—line fever, there was to be no reward for what looked like inevitable outcomes.

Salt in the Wound

The home side had been having the better of the second half and were literally inches short on so many occasions but the reality was that Aberdare had scored the only try of the half and perhaps the fates had deemed that Taff’s Well were going to have to settle for a losing bonus point. But as so often this season, the first and final minutes were to prove to be the ultimate underdoing as a penalty was conceded and converted by centre Gary Payne to leave Aberdare up 27-17 at the whistle and a haul of five league points in the bag leaving the home side pointless.

#gutted

Full-Time Score:  Taff’s Well 17 – 27 Aberdare


The Verdict

This was again agonising stuff in a season where the hard work is being done but a lack of composure and game management is proving to being the missing ingredients. Without a consistent kicking game and the ability to turn pressure into points, opportunities are going begging which as in the case of today, saw a complete lack of purpose when camped on the Aberdare line meaning that Aberdare could comfortably defend.

Ambitious Aberdare

The visitors set off at a rate of knots with two well-crafted tries and a brand of heads-up rugby which threatened to see them run away with the game. Openside flanker Dafydd Stonelake caught the eye and it took Taff’s Well a wake-up call before they adjusted to the pace of the game as the rain came down and it was a credit to both sides for putting on an entertaining game.

Scrum Dominance

The set-pieces were again strong with prop Lloyd James getting himself about and No.8 Max Watkins making himself a nuisance at the lineout. There were some powerful carries by second-row Ben Atkin and centre Matthew Wright while Man-of-the-match went to wingman Ryan Smith playing out of position but showing how to play in the conditions. With all the good work done, it was the precision that cost the result with three to four tries left out on the pitch. More composure was needed, especially when feet from the Aberdare line; too many isolated pick and goes meant that the attacks were repelled. We’ve said it many times this season – we let this one get away – and I’ll say it again – we let this one get away.

Not all gloom

With injuries always the topic this season, it was great to see Captain Lewis Edwards take to the field following his frustrating lay-off and hopefully, next week will see the return of one or two other casualties. Despite the disastrous start, Taff’s Well fought to a man to get back into the game and it really is agonising to see such effort come to no avail – if only we could smooth out those rough edges…


Llantwit Fardre 10 v 7 Taff’s Well

Another good effort from the 2nd XV coming up just short in a fiercely competitive match which could have gone either way. A tale of missed opportunities and overlaps meant that Taff’s Well were constricted to a prop Connor Edwards try converted by outside-half Tom Cattle who pushed John ‘Am I 50 yet?’ Davies all the way for man-of-the-match award.

Next week sees a difficult match away to league leaders St. Peters.


Dave Beese  mail  davecbwales@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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