The last home game of the season saw the ‘Villagers’ of Dinas Powys entertain Porth Harlequins on sun-drenched Common for what turned out to be an exciting contest.
Porth Harlequins are among a group of teams desperately fighting to avoid relegation and securing league points was a serious consideration for them. The ‘Villagers’ produced a scorching display in the first half during which they scoring four tries to secure a try-scoring bonus point. The first try came after an intricate passage of three-quarter play that involved right-wing Jim Wiltshire on two separate occasions. Eventually, the ball reached to Tom Baister (Capt) who crossed in the corner closest to the clubhouse. This was the first of a brace of tries for the charismatic hooker who, once again, showed his blistering pace. The visitors enjoyed the lion’s share of possession for large periods of the contest but it was a case of the bludgeon and the rapier as the ‘Villagers’ had much more imagination and pace with ball in hand. The forwards played their part and the powerful pack drove the Quins off the ball to win it against the head. The pace of Wiltshire, with support from Lewis Dunleavy, allowed centre Sam Middlemiss to assume his preferred position of scrum-half at the ensuing ruck. Middlemiss fed fellow centre Rhys Evans who span in to avoid the tackle and score the second try of the game. Porth trailed by ten points and redoubled their efforts. However, a dropped pass allowed Dinas’ left-wing Duke Durham to set off on a powerful saunter. The ball moved sweetly and fly-half Callum Bricknell displayed his fine distribution skills during a move in which he was involved twice. The ball eventually reached Baister who outpaced the defense after a forty-five-metre charge to once again cross in the left-hand corner. Bricknell converted the most difficult of his attempts and the ‘Villagers’ led by 17-0.
The visitors responded immediately via a rolling maul over the try line to open their account and, with the extras added, the score advanced to 17-7. This score, together with their passionate fans, drove the visitors to even greater effort and they attempted to outflank the home defense. Unfortunately for Quins, Whilsthire intercepted an ambitious pass and ran in the ‘Villagers’ fourth try from seventy-metres. With the conversion added, the score at halftime was 24-7.
The second half was a tense and exciting affair as Dinas, with the victory seemingly secure, wilted slightly in the face of desperate Porth attacks on the sun-baked Common. Another rolling maul was deemed to have been collapsed by Dinas close to their try line. Porth took the resulting penalty quickly and made their way across the whitewash. However, the try was only awarded after a period of extended deliberation which brought the score to 24-14.
The closing gap seemed to wake the ‘Villagers’ from their slumber and substitute Ben White threw one of his trademark blind passes which Wiltshire gathered before he literally hurdled desperate lunging tackles to score under the posts. The conversion secured a 31-14 lead for Dinas Powys. With only ten minutes remaining Porth threw all they had at the home defense. Eventually, they were able to free their outstanding flanker Ieuan Rees to score acrobatically in the right corner and, with the last play of the game, they scored their fourth try of the contest. Not only did this earn them a try-scoring bonus point but an extra point for losing by a margin of seven or less. The Porth players and supporters celebrated; their delight and relief palpable as the two hard-earned points aiding in their struggle to avoid relegation. Meanwhile, the home supporters bathed in the warmth of the sunshine and another league victory.