07 May 2017 / Club News

2nd XV Nail Runners-Up Spot with 33-10 Win Over Old Penarthians

With the 1st team players away carrying the flag in Spain, it was left to the 2nd XV to end their season on a high note as they came to terms with an Old Penarthians side vying with them to finish as runners-up in Div. 1 OF The Cardiff & District League bringing a team that would dwarf the Taff’s Well side in terms of physical stature but which would prove to be not enough to stop the' The Rags' from trying to entertain the crowd with some Barbarianesque style rugby in the first half.

With the larger visitor’s pack trying to assert their authority from the kick-off, it was the home pack that was starting to get the early nudge in the scrums but with a few too many tentative chips over the top tossing away possession, most of the game was taking place between the two2 2’s.  Chris Kidley-Burgwyn showed a glimpse of what he could do as he broke to head for the line before being called back for a minor infringement but it wasn’t long before Ronan Barrett started to put his mark on the game as he broke from outside-half to leave the full-back for dead and add the extras himself to get the scoreboard ticking.

Before he had time to catch his breath he was back at again with a slicing break that saw the line open up before him but as neared the whitewash, he started to lose his footing showing enough presence of mind to offload to youth scrum-half Tom Cattle who was tearing up in support to put the ball in the bread basket and go over for a second home try with Barrett converting to show an comfortable and early lead of 14-0. With a penalty reply by Old Pens, it was up to pick-of-the-pack No 8 Ricky Edwards to show some fireworks as he broke from deep to feed right wing Kyle Baker who set off on a mazy run down the touchline and although he was halted 10m form the line, he kept his legs pumping and used the oncoming support to drive over in the corner for a superb effort with Barrett brother number No2 Connor playing at flanker not wanting to be kept out of the picture with a fine conversion.

21-3 up and all looking good especially as Taff’s Well were looking dangerous every time the ball went wide and with hard tackles going in from the back-row of Barrett, Edwards and flanker Lewys Jones, the Old Pens defence was starting to loose cohesion under pressure and when a loose kick from behind a retreating scrum fell into the grateful arms of Ronan Barrett, he beat the first up line of defence to find himself with a one on one with the unfortunate full-back when there was only going to be one winner as he turned him inside out again for another fine individual try.  Taff’s Well were not going to get it all their way though as the visitors worked their way up to the home line for outside-half Dean Cruz to take on the defence with a series of brutal hand-offs which saw him score a fine individual effort after some good all round approach play.

        Half-time Score:  Taff’s Well 2nd XV 26 v 10 Old Penarthians

                                             Second Half

If the first half was a rip-roaring affair, then the second half was to prove to be something of a stop-start affair with Taff’s Well trying to be a bit over-ambitious attempting to run the ball from everywhere but invariably coming unstuck on a number of occasions which gave the visitors cause for hope as they started to apply pressure of their own and keep the home side on the defensive. It was now taking a great brick wall effort from the Taff’s Well pack to keep Old Pens from getting over the line which was to eventually produce a decisive moment in the match as the visitors looked good to go wide from 10m out when centre and poacher ‘Smudger’ Smith locked onto a pass in flight and did incredibly well to hold on as he juggled for 20m before hairing off for 90m finish score and produce a lot of dejected faces in the travelling ranks and the game out of sight at 33-6.

This was about as good as it was going to get for the rest of the match as Old Penarthians did well to try and turn things around with their big pack toiling away to start giving quality possession and territory but with the game being punctuated by so many stoppages, it sort of died as a spectacle with the business side of the game being settled and dealt with. Taff’s Well always looked to have enough in the bag to close out the game and I guess there was an air of inevitability as the game started to develop the feel of the dying embers of a long arduous season and thoughts were turning towards the clubhouse and the celebrations of another successful 2nd team season producing some great rugby and some superb tries in the process.

     Final Score:  Taff's Well 2nd XV 33 v 10 Old Penarthians 2nd XV

The Verdict

Firstly, congratulations to all concerned with The Rags, especially Manager Barry Morgan and medic Caroline who although not being able to make it yesterday, will be delighted at the manner in which the lads have carried and applied themselves this season with a number of the squad being called up to the 1st team and holding their own in the process. Not for the first time this season, the 2nd XV have refused to be intimidated by much larger sides playing some excellent rugby along the way and introducing youth players onto the ranks who again, have more than proved worthy of their call-ups.

The first half yesterday produced some great tries which were heavily influenced by the contribution of outside-half Ronan Barrett who gave the Old Pens defence a torrid time while feeding a back-line which looked menacing out wide. Kidley Burgwyn, the Baker Brothers – Kyle & Jordan, ‘Smudger Smith’, Barratt and Matthew Wright  oozing gas and experience with youth player Tom Cattle proving that he will enjoy himself when he steps up into the senior ranks next year. Although the backs took the plaudits in the scoring stakes, it was the forwards who had to quell the huge Old Pens pack and the difference in size was nowhere better depicted than in the case of youth back player Dewi-Shapland Davies who was parachuted into the second row but showing that he may have been one of the shortest second-rowers selected but he definitely has one of the biggest hearts.

With the bench being emptied, there’s not enough space here to commend everyone on their performances but everyone played their part in a fitting end to the season, from the evergreen front row pairing of Mark Davies and Warren Rees through to the whole front five; Ricky Edwards would have got man-of-the-match in other circumstances if not for the contribution of Barrett but both he and his currently injured brother Lewis will look forward to next season after only recently rejoining the ranks. Should also mention that Dai Watkins had to cancel his shopping trip yesterday so he could medic for the game, if that isn't didication to duty then I don't know what is. Job done all round  for the lads and a long rest ready for next season where they will be again setting their sights high. 

Good luck to the Ladies today as they take on Blaina away, what a season it’s been for them so come back with a win girls.

The End is Nigh

Well, that’s another season over but I think the youth will be taking part in a 7’s tournament soon and don’t forget the presentation evening on June 3rd. Speaking of breaks, I will be looking forward to my journalistic sojourn over the summer months although I'll perhaps try to put together a recap on the season to put things into perspective, I hope you’ve enjoyed the reports and thanks to Chris Edwards for his superb photography, Hywel Graham for his Social Media contribution and Terry Potter for his news and enthusiasm. We’ve gone from being one of the most uninformed rugby clubs to being one of the most informed, comfortably in many top five stats for page views, reading time etc throughout Welsh rugby so let’s keep it going next year as there’s so much more to do – but we are getting there!

It's been a season of customary highs and lows but the highs have it, there's been so many good and positive things about this season ranging from the hosting of major games through to much needed life being breathed back into the club with the name of Taff’s Well RFC becoming synonymous with the word ‘success’, both on and off the field. The Ladies and Youth sections continue to go from strength to strength and by any standards, the 1st and 2nd XV’s have had incredibly strong seasons but we still need to underpin it all with a robust and self-perpetuating Mini & Jnr system to produce the players of tomorrow so spare a thought for the hard working administrators of Taff’s Well rugby club who give a lot of time to ensuring that the club remains one of the shining beacons of Welsh rugby.

Match Day Photographs

Dave Beese  mail

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