The Villagers of Dinas Powys faced opposition from a higher division in the form of St Josephs from Cardiff in the first round of this season’s SWALEC Plate competition.
Coach John Dunleavy and his team were in the unusual situation of having lost their last two games and a tough contest was anticipated against a team that conversely had won their last three matches.
The breeze blowing along the Common from the village towards St Andrews was at the back of the visitors in the first half and this was a factor in outside half Ben White failing with an early long range penalty kick at goal. The home side enjoyed the best of the early exchanges and powerful runs by flanker Lewis Dunleavy and right wing Mark Good cheered the home crowd.
St Josephs showed their quality, gathering a poor kick from the home team and, with smooth passing, ran from their own tryline to score a stunning try. They soon extended their lead, crossing for a second try after twenty minutes following a prepared move from the base of a scrum. The quality of the visitors was obvious as their three-quarters had conjured two stunning tries and with an hour of the game remaining they deservedly lead by twelve points.
The home team were stung into action and captain Huw Thomas led his charges through example. A frantic period of play ensued with centres Bryn Evans and John Morris to the fore. The St Jo’s defence was robust and it was approaching half time before the ‘Villagers’ finally opened their account. Outstanding full back Sam Middlemiss gathered a clearance kick in his own half and went on a mesmerising forty metre run before passing to scrum half Nathan Williams who crossed in the corner. Dinas added to their tally on the stroke of half time as Ben White converted a long range penalty kick. At half time the score stood at 8-12.
The second half was dominated by the ‘Villagers’ to such an extent that the visitors were to fail to score during this period. Dinas scored two second half tries, both the result of stunning interplay between forwards and backs.
Replacement scrum half Tom Davies crossed for the first following another stunning break by Middlemiss who was assisted by the energetic flanker Ryan Shallish before the ball ended up on the hands of Davies. The lead was extended by a further penalty from White.
Victory was secured in the final minute of the game as right wing Rhys Evans (who maintains his try-a-game ratio) crossed in the corner to round off a stunning team try. FT 21-12.