Barry RFC | 1st Team 35 - 32 Taffs Well RFC | 1st Team
Dylan Robertson
Try 1
Luke O'sullivan
Try 1
Jacob Brooke
Try 1
Kyle Barros
Conversion 3
Penalty 2
Dominic Busutil
Try 1
Einan Scott
Penalty 1
Max Watkins
2 Try
Conor Barrett
1 Try
Matthew James Hurley
3 Conversion
2 Penalty
Darryl Mota
1 Try

Match Report
02 September 2018 / Team News

Taff’s Well Last Gasp Agony as Barry Pinch 35-32 Thriller

This was always going to be a tough examination of Taff’s Well’s credentials at this level against a streetwise Barry outfit that likes to play rugby and comfortably one of the better sides in Division 2 over the last few years. With the Bristol Channel in the distance on a glorious day for rugby, the travelling faithful were hoping for a solid start from the wellmen to lay down a marker for the rest of the season.

Barry Bonanza

What the supporters would have liked and what they got, were two entirely different things as Barry were on the scoreboard almost from the kick-off with an offside penalty decision which took them into a three point lead thanks to the boot of scrum-half Kyle Barros. From the kick-off, Taff’s Well gave away another penalty for the home side to gain a foothold in Taff’s Well territory but just when the danger seemed to be averted with a steal at the lineout, disaster struck when a totally sliced kick from defence dropped straight into the hands of the Barry backline 15m out who worked the ball away smartly for wingman Dominic Bussitill to cross over in the corner and extend the lead to 8 – 0 with the conversion going wide.

Self-Destruct Button

Taff’s Were already on the back foot and were looking for inspiration which seemed to be coming from flanker Justin Jones who broke several tackles to go to ground but yes, you’ve guessed it, the visitors were pinged resulting in a finely struck Barros effort from 40yds out to add another three points to the Barry tally and a healthy lead of 11-0.  The visitors were very clinically shooting themselves in the foot with a serious of errors which were being punished by a lively Barry side were had been upping the tempo where possible.

Rolling up the Sleeves

Aside from the error count, Taff’s Well were holding their own and proceeded to gain a sustained period of territorial advantage thanks to a sterling effort by the front row consisting of props Ben Atkin and Lloyd James with hooker Matthew Desmier completing the trio to combine and give their Barry counterparts a torrid time at scrum-time. Things were starting to happen for Taff’s Well with young Brandon Thrasher debuting in the centre and making a lovely break to get behind the defensive line but with the ball lost and a missed tackle in the centre, Barry must have thought it was Christmas come early as prop Jacob Brock finished off the move for an easy conversion to take the home into an rather bewildering 18-0 lead with all the points coming from Taff’s Well mistakes.

Still Hope

It’s fair to say that the score really didn’t reflect the game in terms of possession and territory but to be fair to Barry, they had capitalised on every single error made by the visitors which left a mountain to climb if Taff’s Well were to get anything out of the game. This side has dug deep many times before and the positive view from the sidelines,were that if they could cut out the unforced lapses, there was still something to be taken away. Scrum-half Craig Field was doing his best to get possession going with a serious of well-aimed passes but the ball was struggling to get wide which meant the fliers were being kept out of the game. Conor Barrett was being his usual nuisance self acting as Captain on the day with the pack looking good value-for-money thanks to a solid scrum and a finely-tuned lineout ably fed by some pinpoint throwing by hooker Desmier.

Taff’s Well Hit Back

From loose play, the ball found its way into the arms of left-wing Mike Lyndon who set off one of several runs on the day which troubled the Barry defence. From an ensuing scrum, Barry were the ones to be castigated by the referee so that outside-half Matthew Hurley was able to give a glimmer of hope with a three pointer and reduce the score to 18-3. More reason for optimism as Hurley again bisected the uprights after a well-worked driving maul from an attacking lineout which was brought down illegally. Taff’s Well were now starting to control the game with the forwards contesting more aggressively at the breakdown which was to bring a penalty-won lineout 10m out from the home line. With ball safely secured and wrapped, the Taff’s eight worked themselves towards the Barry line for second-row Darryl Mota to crash over and earn a seven-pointer thanks to the Hurley conversion. 18-13 – was the unthinkable, thinkable? Barry were rattled and there followed a good-old fashioned dust-up to clear the air… and with diplomatic relations cordially restored, it was Taff’s Well who were looking the stronger at the half-time break, just five points behind after a disastrous start to life in Div. 2.

Half-Time Score:  Barry 18 v 13 Taff’s Well

Second Half

Things were starting to look good for the visitors as they looked to have gotten the wretched opening cadenza out of their minds and now it was important to start off the second half in a positive fashion – right? Wrong! Before you could say “Don’t miss any tackles and let them back into the game”, Barry No.8 Luke O’Sullivan tee’d up the Taff’s Well whitewash from a full 70m out and set off on a galloping run swerving in and out of would-be tacklers to score a superb individual effort to stretch the lead again to twelve points with the Barros conversion making it 25 -13 to the home side.

Taking it to the Max

Without taking anything away from O’Sullivan, it was some pretty average tackling that had parted the waves and it was the very last thing the visitors needed. Could they re-gather and again put themselves back in the game? It needed a deft Hurley kick to put Barry under pressure and concede a 5m scrum. With the front row on top, the ball was fed for the Taff’s Well eight to go for a stroll and set a platform for No.8 Max Watkins to dive over for a Hurley converted try and give the visitors another sniff at a comeback at 25-20, the game was afoot.

Captain Shows the Way

The frustration from the Taff’s Well supporters was audible with discussions mainly consisting of ‘If only’; the set-pieces were going well, the kicking game was poor, the visitors were getting more players to the breakdown and winning the territorial game but Barry were sniffing every opportunity and making Taff’s Well pay. It wasn’t long before the Barry line was under attack again as they conceded an attacking lineout only for the throw to awry and seemingly save the home cause but the Taff’s Well pack had poured through to exert enough pressure for flanker Barrett to collect the loose ball and storm over to level the scores at 25-25. Hurley coolly popped over the conversion for Taff’s Well to remarkably take the lead which was a huge testament to the character of the team. The lead however, would be short-lived as another infringement led to another Barros penalty which put the home side back in the lead at 28-27

Scrum Pressure Pays

Back again came Taff’s Well as they pressurised Barry into conceding an attacking scrum 5m out. As the visitors fed, the home side put on an aggressive shunt to the delight of the home crowd but the two front rows went up together meaning a reset as Taff’s Well retained the head and feed. On the second attempt, the Taff’s Well eight re-assumed their authority by forcing a penalty as they inched towards the line. Captain’s call?  Another scrum with the same result; this was getting tense as the Taff’s Well support bayed for a penalty try. Ball in with the same result - Captain’s call? Yep, another scrum which resulted in yet another shunt and penalty which resulted in a Barry yellow card but to the astonishment of the Taff’s Well faithful - no penalty try. This would have to be done the old-fashioned way with a fifth reset scrum and with Barry one man down. As the referee piped the tune, the visitors would get their reward with a solid shove to the whitewash for No.8 Max Watkins to plough over and re-take the lead in a ding-dong of a battle which could go either way. 32 -28 to Taff’s Well with minutes remaining.

Barry Have the Last Say

For the neutral, this would have been great end-to-end stuff but the touchline was a sea of nervous, anxious faces. As the seconds ebbed away and Taff’s Well seemingly within seconds of a remarkable comeback win, Barry threw the kitchen sink to send the ball wide and create a great angle for centre Dylan Robertson to scythe through and steal the game with the last move of the match. Agony in the Taff’s Well ranks, joy in the Barry camp with both sets of supporters getting full value for the entrance fee. Credit to both teams in a cracking, full-blooded game of rugby which wouldn’t have suited anybody with blood pressure issues. Five points to Barry and a losing bonus point for Taff’s Well plus an extra one for scoring four tries.

Final score:  Barry 35 v 32 Taff’s Well

The Verdict

Wow, if this is Div. 2 rugby, then this season is going to be a riot. A game which went down to the wire produced a pulsating contest between two very motivated sides. Barry came through by virtue of capitalising on early Taff’s Well indiscipline, racing into an eighteen point lead and never giving up. That said, this was a game Taff’s Well could and should (depending which side you support) have won. Coach Rhys Watkins will be very proud of the way his charges fought back from a seemingly impossible position to within seconds of beating a very good Barry team.

The home side looked good with ball in hand as outside-half Einan Scott looked to go wide at every opportunity and No.8 Luke O’Sullivan was outstanding as he capped his day with a brilliant try from deep. Taff’s Well were slow to start and a little slovenly in the opening breakdown exchanges as they came to terms with playing in a higher division but the pack eventually took the honours in the set-pieces with an outstanding all-round performance from the entire front row with hooker Bradley James entering the fray as an impact player and tackling everything that moves. Prop Ben Atkin had one of his best games in a Taff’s Well shirt and co-prop Lloyd James took my joint MOM alongside the Captain. Flanker Justin Jones had an influential first half with Captain on the day Conor Barrett getting through a mountain of work in defence; second-row Jon Barry was his normal reliable self acting as receiver with Max Watkins getting a brace of tries and running strongly.

Scrum-half Craig Field did well to get some sweet passes away under pressure while the experiment of playing outside-half Brandon Thrasher in the centre looks an interesting one. On occasions, there was a dog-leg in the back-line as they met their counterparts in defence which enabled Barry to go wide but with a totally new centre partnership, this no doubt will be smoothed out with better communication and understanding. The backs struggled to get the ball wide against a resolute Barry defence but with the pitch being so narrow, more productive days will follow bringing the wider runners into the game.

A heart-breaking but encouraging result when perhaps a draw would have been a fair result as although Taff’s Well supporters will be thinking that this was the one that got away, you can’t really expect to gift away eighteen points early doors and expect to beat a competent side. Two points away from home against one of the fancied teams is not a bad day’s work and well done to both teams for providing a spectacle as we move on to next week where the opponents will be Llantwit Fardre at home.

Champaign Moments:

  • Ben Atkin getting illegally mullahed in the first scrum against his opposite replacement prop and then taking a full 10 seconds to work out what he had to do about it to subsequently shunt him back three times for the pushover try.
  • Barry No.8 Luke O’Sullivan’s weaving run from a full 70m out to score when Taff’s Well were starting to get on top.

Match Day Photos: Press Here 


Other News...

Old Penarthians 2nd XV 7 v 27 Taff’s Well 2nd XV

Great win for the Rags with so many players unavailable as they took the honours away from home beating Old Penarthians 27-7 in their first league outing of the season. Good to see Baz Morgan back in charge and he will be delighted with the result, especially as the team started with fourteen players. Tries from Nathan O’Brien, Ieuan Stevens, Kyle Baker, Josh Phillips, Jordan Baker plus a Josh Philips conversion sealed the result with an added conversion from Phillips. This side will have high hopes for the rest of the season.


Porth RFC Women 7 v 33 Taff’s Well RFC Women

Taff’s Well women hit the road running with a fine away win over Porth with tries from Kayleigh Cushion x 2, Kayley Smith, Ceri Tucker and Louise Williams plus four conversions coming from the cultured boot of Jade Edwards. Another accomplished performance from the girls thanks to outstanding individual contributions from both Tucker and Edwards.

Dave Beese  mail 



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