Old Illtydians RFC | 1st Team 19 - 54 Taffs Well RFC | 1st Team
Michael Hiscocks
Try 1
Sean Michael Cochlin
Conversion 2
James Harris
Try 1
Aaron Biddle
Try 1
Ronan S Barrett
1 Try
Justin Jones
1 Try
Jack Shaddick
2 Try
Ryan Smith
1 Try
Ben Atkin
1 Try
Brandon Thrasher
7 Conversion
1 Try
Matthew Desmier
1 Try

Match Report
10 September 2017 / Team News

Stellar Performance as Taff’s Well down Old Illtydians 54 – 19

With a fine win under their belt from the first game of the season against Llandaff North, Taff’s Well 1st XV travelled to Cardiff to face an Old Illtydians’ side that had also enjoyed an opening day win and are expected to be among the teams fighting for honours at the end of the season but an inspired performance saw the visitors score eight tries to end the day leading the league table on points difference.

Weather Gods Onside

With the meteorological doom mongers thankfully way off the mark, the game was started by referee David Thomas in ideal playing conditions with the large travelling Taff’s Well support making up the majority of the expectant crowd.

Veteran Jones sets the Scene

Every side has to have a mixture of youthful abandon and experience and Justin Jones is the glue that binds this potent backline together and it was he who to set the tone for the match with an early interception which the Illt’s did will to cover but they were soon to be tested again by a break down the left by right wing Ronan Barrett which looked ominous for the home defence but the final pass failed to go to hand and the danger dissipated.

Youthful Team with Youth in Reserve

With the successful Taff’s Well youth team without a game, promising outside-half Brandon Thrasher - who continues to grow in confidence - and the giant frame of second-row Ethan ‘Tito’  Prescott both made the 1st XV starting line-up and were to have influential first half’s. Skipper and flanker Lewis Edwards was showing his intent with some aggressive big hits and although player-coach Rhys Watkins was missing due to the concussion protocols, fellow flanker Ieuan Parsons and No 8 Max Watkins were making their season debuts and forming a formidable back-row which was omnipresent throughout the whole match.

The Gate Opens

It wasn’t long before the travelling faithful had something to shout about as the pack recycled the ball for the backs to feed off and work-horse second-row Jonathan Barry popped up to feed left wing Jack Shaddick who skipped over for the opening try as Thrasher converted. There then followed a bit of enterprise straight off the training paddock as a well-executed line-out move saw hooker Matthew Desmier take the ball back off his own throw and scoot down the touchline to feed fellow front-rower and prop Ben Atkin who steamed in for a second converted try – the front row showing the backs how to play rugby?

 ‘Tito’, Timing and Try Time

With Old Illts reeling from the opening salvo, their efforts to regroup were to be hampered by a timely interception by ‘Tito’ Prescott who barged his way downfield to set up a ruck from which prop Atkin found himself in the centre to calmly feed right wing Barrett who sliced back infield to leave the cover for dead as he stretched the score to 21 -0 with another conversion from Thrasher.

The Illt’s Riposte

Taff’s Well were looking quicker and sharper in nearly every department with scrum-half Edwards causing havoc and pulling the strings behind but it was his opposite number James Harries who showed some quick thinking enterprise with a quick-tap penalty and a lunge for the line close to the posts to make the extras easy for outside-half Sean Coughlan and the lead reduced to 14 points.

The Edwards Riposte

Not to be outdone, Taff’s Well were back on the front foot as Barrett received the ball from the kick-off to race upfield and feed scrum-half Edwards who sprinted and side-stepped his way over from 40m to score a superb try to stretch the score to 26 – 7 and secure an early try bonus point. The Edwards show wasn’t finished there as he so nearly put in No8 Watkins with a chip to the in-goal area before breaking from a scrum and stretching the defence enough to provide the scoring pass to full-back Ryan ‘Smudger’ Smith who scythed through to score and cap a remarkable first half for the visitors as Thrasher provided the extras and provide a platform of 33 – 7 and a shell-shocked home side who struggled to come to terms with the speed and intensity of the early exchanges.

                  Half-time Score:   Old Illtydians 7 – 33 Taff’s Well

                                              Second Half

Taff's Well Taking Their Chances

If the score sounds totally one-sided then this would be an unfair reflection of the way things had unfolded as home prop Marley Lovell and the back row of No.8 Rhys Hutchings and flanker Phil Morse all stuck manfully to the task in hand with centre Alan Beadle showing that he was no slouch in attack or defence.  Taff’s Well had the edge in the scrums with Lloyd James getting the better of his opposite number, the lineout was secure with the telling difference being the recycling, off-loading and clinical finishing which had produced some great tries as the visitors were capitalising on getting behind the Old Illts’ defence.

Old Illtydians get Wakey Wakey call from Ponty Legend

With Pontypridd legend Matthew Lloyd as their coach, it was no surprise that the Illts came out for the second half in a more focused frame of mind as they started to get meaningful possession and gain good territorial position requiring some resolute defence from the Taff’s Well back row especially, with some great rips from Lewis Edwards and centre Jones who marshalled and cajoled the young defence as the home side laid siege.

Illts get some Reward Through Hooker Hiscocks

The home side continued to press and had the better of the game for the next 15-20 minutes and it was just reward for their efforts that from a 10m penalty, the pack were able to pick-and-go for hooker Mike Hiscocks to power over for an unconverted try. The disappointment for the Cardiff side was that they failed to capitalise on these efforts as they tended to kick away possession which only served to let the dangerous looking Taff’s Well’s backs run back at them from deep

Barrett hits the post – But not with the Ball!

Having managed to withstand the Illts’ onslaught to concede a solitary try, Taff’s Well regrouped and started to regain the initiative with the centre partnership of Jones and Martin Detorres causing problems along with the rest of the backline and you sensed that it wouldn’t be long before the scoreboard got a nudge – but not before a bizarre injury to Ronan Barrett! As No.8 Watkins broke from a lineout to set up a ruck, scrum-half Edwards aimed a chip over the in-goal area for winger Barrett to chase but as he over-shot the ball at speed, his leg caught the upright of a metal barrier behind the dead-ball line to produce a nasty gash which ended his match and will test the skills of the local medics at A&E.

Pendulum Swings back for Taff’s

With normal service being slowly resumed and some quick-tap penalties getting the pack rumbling close to the home line, a poor Taff’s Well pass out wide wrong-footed the defence to bounce kindly to replacement centre Matthew Wright who busted through the middle and fed Brandon Thrasher in close support who gratefully cashed in and converted his own effort to get extend the advantage to 40 – 12.

Back come the Old Illts

The spectators were being treated to a good game of open rugby, especially if you were supporting Taff’s Well but the home side refused to give in and produced their own gem of a try as centre Alan Beadle took the ball at speed to dissect the visitor’s defence and wrong-foot several defenders to ghost through for an impressive individual effort which was converted by Coughlan to place the score at 40 -19.

Taff’s Close out Game

This was as good as it got for the Old Illts as Taff’s Well started to squeeze the game and ask all the questions late on. From a midfield maul, centre Jones peeled with ball in hand to charge through the home defence and set up a ruck from which hooker Desmier dived over for Thrasher to again convert. With the last play of the game, replacement wing Chris Kidley-Burgwyn conjured up some adroit footballing skills as he hacked, harried and ultimately timed his fall and gather to perfection to secure the ball and feed none other than Justin Jones in support who put in winger Shaddick under the posts for his fourth try in two games with Thrasher’s seventh conversion giving him a personal tally of 19 points and a final score of 54 – 19.

                      Final Score:  Old Illtydians 19 v 54 Taff’s Well 

The Verdict

This was perhaps one of the most impressive results and performance in a long while as the rebuilding Taff’s Well side produced an expansive, exciting and clinical display which yielded eight tries and a second successive league win which takes them to joint top of the league on points with neighbours Pentyrch but ahead on scored points with 88 from two games and 13 tries.

The Exuberance of Youth

The pre-season ambition was and still is realistically set on achieving a mid-table position from which the young side can build on as Taff’s Well continue to blood local talent - and the result will not change anything. Old Illtydians will put this down as a bad day at the office as Taff’s Well caught them cold on the day with a five try first half onslaught which effectively killed the game as a contest but as with any team, there are areas to work on such as maintaining the shove after getting the initial nudge in the scrums and leaving 3-4 tries out on the field because the ball didn’t go wide – but let’s not get negative here, this was an excellent and efficient away performance and the signs for the future are both encouraging and exciting.

Opposition Coach Assessment

‘I was impressed with Taff’s Well; for a young side, they looked well organised and well drilled and although you could see how things were unfolding in attack, there wasn’t much we could do to stop it. They got behind us and converted into points which is a sign of any decent side; their recycling, and off-loading were good and the scrum-half caused us a lot of problems. We’ll put this performance behind us and regroup with the aid of returning players, we’ll be ok.’ – Matthew Lloyd, Old Illtydians Coach.

Stand Outs

Although coach Axel Rees was otherwise engaged on the day, he will be delighted with both the result and the manner in which it was achieved as the youth development system provides players who have managed to fit in and play with maturity beyond their years. At outside-half, Brandon Thrasher manages to display the persona of a cucumber that lives in a freezer and his nineteen point haul was reward for a solid performance which even included some thumping cover tackles – at outside-half! The whole pack performed with honours in both the loose and the set-pieces and provided a platform for Gwilym Edwards to torment the home defence every time he touched the ball even though his full-time conversion from wing to scrum-half is still in its infancy.

Man-of-the Match

It would take some performance to stand out from a side which played with such swagger but that’s just what we got from veteran centre Justin Jones as he again demonstrated his ability to break the line, support, defend and intelligently read the game together with acting as the elder statesman to the many younger players around him in both attack and defence.

Coming up…

Next week sees the first game for Taff’s Well in this season’s WRU Bowl with the short trip away to Cathay RFC so let’s keep the great travelling support going!

The Next Generation - Sunday 10th September - 12.30 KO

Today sees another exciting watershed moment in the development of junior and youth rugby in Taff’s Well as the club fields an U16's side for the first time in addition to the successful youth side which is currently seeing representation in the first team. The youngsters take on Rhiwbina at home with KO off @ 12.30pm so let's get there and support the latest in the production line of Taff's Well talent.

Dave Beese  mail 


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