Dinas’ second-half performance earns them two vital points at Porth

Hywel Jones
Date Time League Season
11th November 2017 1:30 PM WRU National League 1 - East Central 2017-18

Results

TeamScoreTriesConversionsBPPointsOutcome
Porth Harlequins RFC193202Draw
Dinas Powys RFC193202Draw

The Villagers squad, much depleted through injuries and work commitments, travelled to the Rhondda for a 1.30pm kick off due to the national side playing later in the afternoon. The Welfare Ground is a bit of ‘bogey pitch’ for Dinas who have experienced defeat on their two previous visits courtesy of highly contentious last-kick penalties. However, a repeat of such events seemed unlikely as the home side scored two tries within the first half an hour.

The hastily assembled Dinas pack had a makeshift look about it and they struggled to win set phase ball and the home side looked destined for a comfortable victory. The Villagers eventually registered a score as veteran prop James Walters rolled back the years to harry the Porth outside-half into rushing his clearing kick. The ball was gathered by fullback Sam Middlemiss who ran strongly to establish a good field position. The home side were penalised at the resulting breakdown and the Villagers kicked to the corner and drove the resulting line-out over the try-line but the ball could not be grounded. The resulting scrum was won and the ball was moved sweetly along the three-quarters and Middlemiss crossed for a sparkling try near the left corner flag.

The Harlequins responded on the stroke of half time with a converted try of their own and the home side led by 19-5 at half time.

A difficult second half seemed in prospect for the Villagers as the home side now had the appreciable slope in their favour. Player-coach Darren Ryan gave the benefit of his experience with some considered words of encouragement.

The transformation in the Dinas performance throughout the second half was incredulous. The visitors totally dominated all aspects of the contest during this period — not even the most ardent of Villagers would have anticipated the improvement that would deny the home side any further points. Ryan Shallish, captaining the side as a flanker, led by example and, ably assisted by fellow back-rowers Dan Watts and Corey Imperato tackled and carried tenaciously, ensuring that the complexion of the contest changed dramatically. The Villagers pounded the home defence relentlessly and after a quarter of an hour of the second half centre Ciaran Driscoll crossed for the first score of the second half. With the conversion added by fly-half Ben White the score stood at 19-12.

The Dinas scrum, bolstered by the introduction of former club captain Tom Paterson, was gaining the upper hand as hooker Caleb Robinson and prop Luke Dyer regularly drove their opposite numbers backwards with gusto. The home defence was both durable and tenacious, and proved almost impossible to breach. Sniping runs by scrum half Tom Davies, supported by centre Nathan Williams and wings Rhys Evans and Jim Wiltshire, were all repelled. The home side were penalised deep into injury time and the referee announced that this was the final play of the contest. In a last ditch attempt, White kicked the ball into the corner. The resulting line-out was won and the ball transferred along the backline. Powerful centre Driscoll drew two defenders before releasing replacement Simon Baines who scampered towards the right corner, squeezing in for the try. The difficult conversion from the touchline had to be successful to secure the draw. Law graduate White judged it beautifully and as the ball sailed between the posts the referee blew the final whistle.

At half time it appeared unlikely that the Villagers would gain anything from the game yet, a dominant second-half performance meant that two vital league points were gained providing the symmetry after nine league games of four wins, one draw and four defeats.

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