|3rd September 2016||2:30 PM||SWALEC Division 2 East Central||2016-17|
Derby day delight for Dinas
Anticipation for this encounter has built from the moment the fixture list was published. Having lost by just a single point in their last meeting, Dinas felt as though they owed Barry one and it was the home team that were to emerge victorious in a hard-fought dual on the Common.
Dinas and Barry have played each other on five separate occasions over the past two seasons with the results being split right down the middle; two wins, two losses and a draw apiece. It would have been a brave individual who would risk a significant wager on the outcome. The weather was also unfavourable for the time of year and in stark contrast to the Indian summer sunshine experienced on the opening day last season.
Barry started the game positively and with a confidence which may have based upon their superior position in the league table at the end of last season. Within ten minutes the visitors had crossed in the corner for the opening score of the match and the first points to be scored on the Common this season. An excellent kick from out wide dissected the posts to extend the lead by a further two points.
The riposte from the Villagers was swift as scrum-half Sam Middlemiss finished a move consisting of some lovely exchanges between forwards and backs, dabbing down in the near side corner at the Dinas end of the pitch. Unfortunately the conversion attempt by Middlemiss sailed across the face of the posts.
Almost immediately after the restart Dinas infringed and in doing so handed Barry the perfect opportunity to extend their lead. The ball was struck sweetly but looked to be swinging out wide until, at the last moment, it hit the inside of the upright and bounced over the crossbar. Barry were now five points the better with the score 5-10 to the visitors.
Ill discipline proves costly for the visitors
What followed was a sustained period of ill-discipline by Barry who conceded penalty after penalty, often within their own twenty-two – the so-called “red zone”. The official showed extreme tolerance to the visitors, perhaps taking into account the derby and that it was the opening fixture. Nevertheless, Dinas obtained six valuable points during this passage of play courtesy of Middlemiss’ boot and took the lead for the first time that afternoon.
The single point margin was soon relinquished as the Villagers transgressed. The penalty deftly converted, Barry were back ahead by two points. It was clear that the official’s patience was wearing thin and the visitors’ captain was soon reminded of his team’s continued offending at the breakdown. This conversation appeared to have fallen on deaf ears as just eight minutes later they had a man in the bin, whiling away ten long minutes in the wind and torrential rain.
Despite the advantage, Dinas were unable to extend their lead in the ensuing eight minutes. As the half-time whistle sounded it was the visitors who were ahead but maybe not the happier of the two teams. Dinas 11 – 13 Barry.
Feeling that they had Barry rattled, Dinas started the second half in a determined and confident manner. On many occasions they pounded the resolute Barry defence, edging closer to the whitewash each time. It’s to Barry’s credit that they stood tall and repelled the barrage that was Dinas.
Having already suffered at the hand of the referee one would imagine that the visitors would have tempered their ‘eagerness’ at the breakdown but alas this was not the case. The penalty count continued to increase leaving the official no choice but to reach for his pocket a second time, ushering the visitor’s captain to the side-lines for ten minutes and handing Sam Middlemiss a number of further kicks at goal. Successful with two of the opportunities presented to him, Middlemiss first regained and then extended the Villagers’ lead over their rivals by four points with just minutes remaining.
Knowing that a try (with or without conversion) could clinch the victory, Barry threw everything they could muster at Dinas. A tense final few minutes were spent in the Dinas twenty-two. The Villagers have proven to be superb in defence time and time again over the past few seasons and this was no different.
An almost audible sigh of relief and joy could be heard as the final whistle blew – Dinas emerging the victors 17 – 13.