The ‘Villagers’ of Dinas Powis crush the ‘Rocks’ of St Peters
The ‘Villagers’ of Dinas Powys lifted the East District Cup with a stunning victory over the “Rocks” of St Peters at the Memorial Ground, Ely home of the Glamorgan Wanderers.
A blistering first forty
The youthful Dinas side started the game with vigour and determination which was rewarded by an early penalty which was kicked by flame haired fly half Gavin Cooper. However St Peters brought the score level just minutes later as they were awarded a penalty of their own.
Dinas were having the better of the first quarter and were passing the ball sweetly, moving the larger St Peters forwards around the pitch. Quick ball from the breakdown was at a premium as both teams battled fiercely for possession.
Scrum half Nathan Williams has been outstanding all season and this match was no different as he took every opportunity to maintain the high tempo. Following a searing break from a quickly taken penalty, Nathan fed his brother Adam Williams, fresh from his SWALEC Cup win with Bridgend Ravens, who was driven over the tryline by an exuberant pack of forwards. The powerful centre was held up by defenders but the ever alert second row Gareth Williams took the ball from his team mate and fell to the floor to score the game’s opening try which was met with rapturous applause from the huge contingent of travelling supporters.Cooper converted from out wide on the left and the men from Dinas Powys led by 10 – 3 against their opponents from a higher division.
The usually reliable Cooper failed with two further penalty kicks at the posts and with the first half drawing to a close St Peters enjoyed their best period of the contest, reducing the deficit to four points through a penalty kick just prior to the half tie whistle.
Ice cool kicking clinches the cup
The second half saw a change of tactics from the ‘Rocks’ who decided to kick the ball more often into the drizzle filled skies over Ely. The heroics of the forwards against their larger opponents has to be noted, and the efforts of teenage prop Caleb Robinson and his fellow prop Andrew O’Mallia deserve special mention.
Injured Cooper had been replaced at fly half by Ben White during the interval and he made an early impact, landing a penalty to extend the lead to 13-6. The quality of the rugby from both teams was of a high standard delighting the large partisan crowd gathered to view the spectacle.
The physicality of the contest was impressive, and a robust performance from hefty second row Huw Thomas was to gain him the man of the match award from the sponsors. It was from a charge by Thomas that provided quick ball which was passed along the backline before full back Dai Lloyd hit the line at an impressive angle before passing to open side flanker Lewis Dunleavy to cross for the Dinas’ second try of the evening.
Although the conversion was missed, the ‘Villagers’ lead was extended to 18-6, crucially more than two scores separating them from their opposition. However this lead was however soon whittled away as St Peters reverted to ‘pick and drive’ rugby in the deteriorating conditions, the powerful forwards crossing over for their first try of the evening. The successful conversion brought the score to 18-13. The floodlights gave a yellow tinge to the events unfolding on the pitch as O’Mallia was forced to leave the fray with an injured shoulder.
The ‘Villagers’ gained a penalty in their own half as St Peters were again penalised for offences at the breakdown, to the surprise of many White pointed at the posts. His short run up was soon covered and a hushed crowd watched the ball sail high and true between the posts, a stunning kick that drew cheers and gasps from both camps.
An eight point margin seemed momentarily to be enough but, with the contest coming to a close, St Peters scored their second try through Ugandan right wing Benon Kizza who used his blistering pace to score in the corner, 21-18.
The tension was palpable, surely the contest was not to have a final cruel twist?
St Peters threw everything at the Dinas try line. A rolling maul lumbered towards the corner and a try seemed inevitable, when suddenly the Dinas hooker Ryan Shallish burst from the maul with the ball clutched to his chest. Shallish passed to captain Josh Dunleavy who relieved the pressure with a kick downfield.
But Shallish was not finished, leading the chase to regain possession of the ball and with it hopes of a further try. Unfortunately the pursuing hooker was impeded in his efforts and a penalty awarded to the ‘Villagers’. The ice cool White stepped forward and nailed the kick to advance the score to 24-18.
The thrilling contest was over and the fearless warriors representing Dinas Powys RFC had won the East District cup.
The club would like to congratulate Ryan Shallish who has been chosen to represent the nation when Wales Deaf Rugby travel to South Africa to play two test matches in August.