A tale of missed opportunities and charmed opposition
A sunny, crisp day greeted the return of the ‘Villagers’ to the historic Common following a weather and six nations enforced break of seven weeks.
The visitors from Dowlais outscored the home side by five tries to three in a physical encounter that proved a frustrating contest for the home coach John Duleavy. The home side enjoyed the majority of territory and possession but as is the trend in modern rugby defence once again proved to be decisive.
Dowlais defended stoutly for the majority of the contest, rarely leaving their own half and yet scored five tries. The ‘Villagers’ produced one of their brightest performances of the season, with second row Rhys Gambold, hooker Tom Baister, scrum half Sam Middlemiss and centre Ciaran Driscoll producing individual performances that would normally have ensured a home victory.
Dinas dominated the fist quarter of an hour however failed to capitalise on the territorial advantage as two penalty kicks at goal went astray. Conversely the visitors, on their first foray into the Dinas Powys half, walked away with the first points of the match. Having been awarded a penalty, Dowlais kicked to the corner and secured the ball from the resultant line-out. Thus started the inevitable rolling maul. Dians appeared to have the situation under control however the official decided that the maul was stopped illegally. The procedure was repeated and home prop Andrew O’Mallia was deemed to have transgressed again and was dismissed from the pitch for a ten minutes. This proved to be a crucial decision by the referee as the visitors from Dowlais were to score the opening try of the contest form the resulting rolling maul as it lumbered over in the corner. With an excellent conversion from out wide the visitors led by seven points.
The youthful home side responded immediately with a penalty from the boot of fly half Ben White. However hero quickly became villain soon after as White’s ill-judged kick deep in the Dowlais half relinquished possession. The ball was gathered by the visiting scrum half who, following smart interplay with his fellow three-quarters, resulted in him scoring a second try in the corner.
Notwithstanding it was the ‘Villagers’ who finished the half dominating territory and possession, their efforts rewarded with a try scored by flanker Lewys John to reduced the deficit to 8-14. Dinas were unfortunate not to finish the half ahead as right wing Rhys Evans was adjudged to have dropped the ball during the act of scoring. At half time the score stood at a tense 8-14.
The second half started as the first had finished with Dinas Powys encamped in the Dowlais half and looking the more likely to score. Home centre Ciaran Driscoll blasted his way towards the opposition’s try-line and was the secong player to drop the ball as they crossed the whitewash. The feeling along the touchline was that it was simply not going to be the ‘Villagers’ day was affirmed after a speculative kick by the Dowlais left wing was charged down only for a sequence of freak ricochets led to the ball being regathered by the kicker who raced unopposed to score under the posts!
Ever full of determination and resilience, the home side resumed their pounding of the opposition defences but again misfortune befell them as an apparent scoring pass to Rhys Evans on the Dinas Powys right wing was intercepted by the charmed Dowlais left wing who ran the full eighty metres to score his second try of the game.
The feeling of disbelief looking at the score of 10-26 amongst the supporters was obvious. The strength of character was admirable and the home side were soon on the attack once again. A sequence of fine interplay released Rhys Evans to score in the right corner. With the score standing at 15-26 the home three-quarters attempted to run the ball from everywhere but an optimistic long range pass on their own tryline was dropped and the visitors scored their fifth try and, with the simple conversion added, they extended their lead to 15-33.
The spirit amongst the home players was evident as they repeatedly attacked and a series of powerful surges by Lewis Dunleavy and Ryan Shallish from the back row resulted in Tom “Tank” Baister crashing over for a well worked team try.
Final score Dinas 22 -33 Dowlais