The Villagers of Dinas Powys started the new season with a league victory away to Bridgend Athletic who had finished third in Division 1 West Central last season before being moved to Division 1 East Central by the WRU. Their position towards the top of the table a testament to their quality. The playing surface at the renowned Brewery Field was in superb condition and the width of the pitch proved instrumental as it allowed left-wing Jim Wiltshire to show his blistering pace and outflank the home defenders to score a brace of thrilling long-range tries.
The first half had the feel of an early-season contest and both sides struggled for continuity. Flashes of quality by scrum-half Sam Middlemiss and centre Sonny Driscoll, both of whom had several searing line-breaks, led to nothing with Bridgend dominating territory and possession for sustained periods. However, it was Dinas that took an early lead after five minutes through a Sam Middlemiss penalty although the lead lasted only ten munites before the home side levelled with a penalty of their own. Both sides showed endeavour during the first half but neither side was able to score any further points and all was level at 3-3 at halftime.
Within a minute of the restart, the Villagers scored the first of their three tries. A trademark break from full-back Nathan Williams saw supporting flanker Corey Imperato gather the ball and feed it into the hands of Wiltshire. The deceptively fast winger stood up his opposing winger before outflanking him to run in from forty-five metres. The conversion by Middlemiss was good and the men from Dinas Powys led by seven points.
This score seemed to ignite the contest. The home side enjoyed a period of time within Dinas’ half, however, the Villager’s the defence was sound and the home side were forced to kick the ball away in order to relieve the persistent pressure. Unfortunately for Bridged, the kick found Wiltshire on the edge of his own twenty-two. The winger kicked the ball down the pitch and set off in pursuit. The ball was gathered by the home fullback who attempted to kick it back to where it had come from but Wiltshire was already upon him and it deflected into the hands of centre Rhys Evans. Evans drew the defending full-back before returning the ball to the alert Wiltshire who scampered forty metres for his second try. Middlemiss failed with the conversion but a few minutes later kicked a penalty kick to ensure that the Villagers had a comfortable fifteen point lead.
With a quarter of the contest remaining, the large home support urged their team forwards. Again, the Dinas defence was superb with hooker Tom Baister and flanker Lewis Dunleavy to the fore in this effort. Rolling maul after rolling maul was countered and every charge was halted during this critical period. Bridgend were encamped within the Dinas Powys twenty-two and a score seemed a foregone conclusion as the home fly-half charged towards his opposite number but he was dispossessed by Villagers number 10. The ball was deftly passed to Driscoll who went on a searing, arcing run before feeding full-back Williams who tore upfield and passed inside to replacement flanker Finlay Davies. The youthful flanker ran the final thirty metres to score under the posts making Middlemiss’ conversion attempt a formality. As the ball sailed between the uprights, the scoreboard registered a healthy 3-25 lead in favour of Dinas.
The remainder of the contest saw the home side press hard for a consolation score and finally, in the seventh minute of added time home, home flanker Ben Davies crossed for a try with the final play of the game.
Both teams played a similar style of rugby but the Villagers secure the win as they were the more clinical of the two teams. The bustling of captain Tom Baister, the defensive wall that is Lewis Dunleavy, the class of Middlemiss and the breaks by the powerful Driscoll — all complimented by the scintillating pace of Wiltshire — gave the Villagers the edge on this occasion.