The large crowd that gathered for Dinas’ first home game since promotion to the first division were treated to a high-quality enthralling contest between the two newly promoted teams. Bathed in sunshine and with a blustery wind at their backs, the visitors from Llantrisant enjoyed the territorial advantage in the opening quarter of the contest.
The first score of the game came after twenty minutes. Llantrisant, whilst in the Villagers’ half, overthrew their line-out and Dinas’ second-row Gareth Williams secured the ball before feeding it to hooker Tom ‘Tank’ Baister who powered into the visitors half. A couple of sharp passes saw the ball reach scrum-half Sam Middlemiss on the left wing who outpaced the defenders to score in the corner by the clubhouse.
Despite conceding a penalty almost immediately from the restart, the Villagers completely dominated the remainder of the first half, thrilling spectators with quick passes between the three-quarters. Only some heroic defending by the Black Army against the powerful bursts by centre Rhys Evans and winger Duke Durham prevented a second home try. Dinas’ forwards were starting to gain the upper-hand and the constant pressure drew numerous infringements at the breakdown which resulted in a ten-minute visit to the sin bin for a visiting forward. The ensuing penalty was kicked to touch and the resulting lineout was driven over the try line but the ball wasn’t grounded. The following scrum produced clean ball and outside-half Ben White fed captain and powerful centre Ciaran Driscoll who, on a perfectly angled run, crossed for the second try of the day. The home side was making the most of their numerical advantage and moved the ball sweetly through their hands, flanker Lewis Dunleavy making the most of his opportunity and scoring the third of the home team’s trys to conclude the half at 15-3 to Dinas.
The second-half started as the first had finished and the Villagers scored their fourth try within three minutes — a powerful burst by winger Durham breached the visitor’s defence and he passed the ball to the highly impressive prop Rhys Forse who crossed the whitewash. The ten-minutes under the yellow card had cost Llantrisant dearly, Dinas scoring three unconverted tries and seemingly gaining control of the game, especially with the elements now in their favour.
With each team trying to capitalise on every opportunity, players from both sides were vocalising their displeasure at each transgression. Unfortunately for Dinas, Rhys Forse failed to heed the warning issued by the referee and received a yellow card for pointing out an opponents misdemeanour. The visitors scored two converted tries during this period and reduced the Villagers’ lead to a mere three points and creating a tense final quarter for both sets of supporters.
The returning Forse – revitalised by his enforced rest – was to be instrumental in gaining the victory, helping to frequently push the visitors off their own scrum feeds, depriving the visitors of possession. The home half-backs, with their abundance of possession, ensured that the game was played in the visitors half and Ben White took advantage by kicking two penalties during this period to secure a 26-17 victory.
A quality performance from both sides and the committed Llantrisant side surely felt disappointed with their last gasp penalty effort narrowly missing and therefore the gallant visitors left the Common without a losing bonus point. In contrast, the Villagers were delighted with the final score and the full five league points.