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13 May 2018 / Club News

Taff’s Well Secure Promotion with 29-12 Win Over Treharris

Last game of the season and a win needed to confirm promotion – it doesn’t get any tighter. You could taste both expectation and nervousness in the air as murmurings such as ‘What sort of side do you think Treharris will bring?’ and ‘Do you think the boys can pull it off?’ could be heard around the hundreds of people who turned up on the day. It must have been a very poignant day for coach Axel Rees as he took charge for the very last time trying to achieve his set goal of getting Taff’s Well into Division 2 of the Welsh pyramid but the barrier to his quest lay in the shape of a young Treharris side which contained many players he had taken under his wing when he was youth coach with his home village. Great to see a guard of honour for Rhys Watkins as he led the side out on his last game for the club but who will be taking over the coaching duties next term.

False Dawn

Treharris have been having a difficult season but they had already given Taff’s Well two difficult games but the trepidation seemed to be ill-founded as the homed side stormed into the lead with a dominant 5m scrum which enabled No.8 Max Watkins to touch down which for many, signalled the floodgates to open – right? Wrong, Treharris were in no mood to play the part of the sacrificial lamb as they countered with a well worked try which saw Lloyd Bennet swoop in at the corner to level the scores at five apiece.

Held Up

Back came Taff’s Well to engineer a rolling maul which looked to be a certain try but a determined defence somehow managed to hold the ball up and there was a seed of frustration sown as the resulting scrum was resolutely countered. The game was struggling to attain any fluency thanks to series of handling errors and a determined Treharris side who were getting the better of the breakdown areas.

Taff’s Pay for Yellow Card

With a quick tap from a penalty 5m out, the visitors looked to go wide but were stopped in their tracks by the lunging limb of scrum-half Craig Field but with no intention of catching the ball, his face said it all as he knew what was coming in the shape of the short walk to the touchline. The lack of numbers were telling as visiting outside-half Darren Thomas took advantage of some suspect defending to cross to enable Lloyd Bennett to convert and silence a shell-shocked crowd for a 12-5 lead.

Taff’s Hit Back

To be fair, the home side were struggling to get a rhythm going and the visitors were getting the better of the half with regards to both possession and territory but Taff’s Well wouldn’t be pushing for promotion if they didn’t have the ability to look adversity in the eye. As play was taken into the Treharris half and the ball swept wide, the visitors seemed to have the danger covered but they hadn’t bargained for a blistering change up the gears from full-back Chris Tottle who completely out-flanked the defence to score a superb effort out wide. Police are investigating claims that the studs on out-side half Brandon Thrashers boots were tampered with as his usual dead-eye place kicking fell short of what we expect of him but at 18 but we’ll allow him to have one off-session a season.

Let-Off

Tottle was nearly back at it with his pace as he kicked through to retrieve and set the alarm bells ringing by tearing down the touchline but the covering defence did just enough to force him into touch just short of the line. There was a let-off for Taff’s Well as referee Karim Cosslett rightly penalised some back-chat but Bennett’s effort shaved the wrong side of the post. As the half played out, there was a sense a frustration mounting as the home side were struggling to stamp any authority on the game as Treharris were fighting for everything. 12-10 down at the break and 40 minutes to turn things around.

Half-time Score:  Taff’s Well RFC 10 v 12 Treharris


Second Half

Axel Rees’ half-time talk seemed to have an immediate effect as the pack started to get some possession going for prop Gareth Gibbs to charge over but in the act of scoring, the ball was ripped clear and stolen. Treharris were not going to make this easy as Taff’s Well mounted several attacks close to the line but the defence somehow managed to hold up two more charges over the line just when scoring seemed a formality. Opportunity again reared its head as a great Brandon Thrasher pass put flanker Rhys Watkins in the clear but he fingers failed the coordination test and his frustration was audible as he rued a simple run-in chance.

Pressure Telling

The ace up Axel Rees’ sleeve has been the bench which has played such an important part this season as impact players have made such a difference and this again was starting to be the case. From another attacking scrum, Treharris were penalised and issued a yellow for Ben Arthur which proved decisive as Taff’s Well drove home the advantage from the subsequent scrum and club skipper Lewis Edwards got his mitts on the ball to add a five-pointer which took the home side into the lead. With the scrums going passive, Treharris were still very much in the game and it took a siege-gun booted clearance from Brandon Thrasher to clear the lines and the visitors back in their own 22.

Game Breaker

Perhaps the defining moment of the match came in the shape of clearance kick which saw speedster Ronan Barrett hurtle after and put pressure on the defender. As the ball hit the ground, he got a boot to it and provided some Messi-type footballing skills to make contact with the ball for it to fly up into his hands and enable him to race away from 30m out without a defender in sight. Brandon Thrashers’ studs repaired – back in business – 2 more points and a more comfortable looking 22-12 lead.

More Pressure – More Frustration

As Treharris started to tire and the Taff’s Well bench making a telling effect, the opportunities were starting to rack up but on several occasions, just as players were put free for what seemed like certain tries – the pass or ball would go to ground leading to lots of hands on heads, maybe the occasion itself? Who knows. There was only one team it towards the end as a gallant but tired Treharris side were struggling to contain a Taff’s Well outfit who were intent on finishing in style. As the home side pilfered a defensive 10m line-out, the ball was swept along the line for centre Matthew Wright to burst and score a trademark try for him which was converted by Thrasher to seal a bonus point victory and more importantly, promotion to division 2.

Final Score: Taff's Well 29 v 12 Treharris


The Verdict

First and foremost, you have to congratulate Treharris for their fortitude as it had to be tough turning up to a Taff’s Well ground full of expectancy with 95% of the crowd roaring for a Taff’s Well win and promotion. They made the home side work for every point and we wish them good luck for next season, especially as they will have several returning players.

The Taff’s Well Story

First of all the negatives…nah, can’t be bothered, what’s the point, we’re up! This season’s story finishes on all high notes. This wasn’t a game about standout performances, it was the culmination of season’s effort from all the squad which totally out-performed all expectation with so many retirees from last season. The youngsters have blossomed and acted like to the manor born and it was great to see so many proud parents present wiping a tear or two.

The Axel Rees Story

Former Taff’s Well player Axel Rees came back to the club with the sole intention of taking Taff’s Well into division 2 after promotion two seasons ago, a tall order for his last term, but he’s done it and I’m sure the whole club would want to congratulate him on a well-earned and hard-earned achievement. He has shown a commitment which will be the benchmark for all following coaches as he has supported teams at all levels throughout the club and it’s not surprising that players from all teams are seen on the touchline supporting other sides which they do not play for. The bad news for many, is that he will be back at the club next year helping out with the reformed veterans side so fair warning, now’s the time to go ex-directory, he’ll be after you.

The Back-Room boys and Girls

The achievement of the club over the past three years can never be down to just the players, they are the entertainers but someone needs to provide the stage. There is a hard-core of committee members and backroom staff who selflessly give their time so others may take the glory and their true value to the club is known to few – please take a bow guys, you’ve done a great job in providing an environment in which young men and women can express themselves with unfloundering support.

The Sixteenth Man

Travelling support has been exceptional providing the ‘16th man’ on so many occasions, especially with some of the very tight wins this term, so every one of you who supported the teams through the club this season – please take a bow. On so many occasions this season, we have managed to provide more support than the home sides and this has such a telling effect on the players – this from the players themselves.

That’s me done for another season, can’t wait to have Sunday morning off, please keep ‘sharing & ‘liking’ the posts, the social media has been great from the team of Terry, Tracy, Hywel and of course Chris who has provided some great photos, the family is building but we all have to play our part.

Match Day Photos:  Press Here


Coming up…

Today is the big one for the women’s section so make sure you’re down the club today (Sunday 13th May) for the SWALEC Bowl Semi-final, KO is 2.30pm.

May 26th sees a Taff’s Well XV take on London, touring side Brockleians RFC, kick off is at 1.30pm, there’s talk of making it a club day to celebrate the season so look out for news via social media.


Dave Beese  mail davecbwales@gmail.com

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