|22nd September 2018||2:30 PM||WRU National League 1 - East Central||2018-19||80'|
Dinas Powys secured victory to win their second league match of the season with a slender three-point margin over Mountain Ash on a wet and windy Common. Those brave souls that huddled under their umbrellas on the sidelines inevitably saw a low-quality contest hampered by dire conditions; the distant industrial towers of Dow Corning were barely visible at the start of the game and had all but disappeared into the increasing gloom as the rainfall increased throughout the match.
The Villagers’ forwards showed their prowess to gain total domination of the scrum during the first half. JamesGreenfield, Tom Baister (Capt) and Andrew O’Malia, supplemented by Joshua Dunleavy and Ryan Hall in the second row, pushed the visitors pack backwards and provided the platform for the eventual victory. With weather conditions leading to a large number of scrums, the surprise is that the victory was so narrow. Mountain Ash, who only entered the Villagers 22-metre area twice during the match, will, perhaps, be content to leave the Common with a losing bonus point.
Playing into the wind, the home side dominated possession and territory. With their dominance and power up-front, a try seemed inevitable for the Villagers especially when the referee awarded them a five-meter scrum in Mountain Ash’s half. However, the official then penalised the Dinas pack for the first and only time of the afternoon to the bemusement of all present.
Halftime arrived and neither side had registered a score. With weather conditions deteriorating the prospects for any quality rugby in the second half appeared slim.
After an hour of the contest, the Villagers secured the first of the encounter’s points courtesy of a Ben White penalty. After a further five minutes, White repeated the feat to extend Dinas’ lead by 6 points.
From the restart, Mountain Ash enjoyed their best period of the game and they were awarded a penalty of their own. They kicked to touch and from the resulting line-out, their pack rumbled forward allowing scrum-half Morgan Williams to cross for the only try of the game. Fullback Alex Hughes kicked the difficult conversion and unbelievably Dinas Powys trailed 6-7.
The Villagers spurred into action and persisted in moving the ball through the hands despite the slippery conditions. Mountain Ash conceded a plethora of penalties at both the scrum and at the breakdown — the referee appearing sympathetic to the conditions as he displayed great tolerance by refraining from brandishing his yellow card.
With time running out, Dinas took a more pragmatic decision and, when faced with a long-range penalty opportunity, opted for a scrum. The Dinas pack unceremoniously drove the visitors back ten metres and eventually drew another penalty which was now within kicking range. White held his nerve and added the goal to seal the win by two points. The final score Dinas Powys 9 – 7 Mountain Ash.
Upon reflection, Dinas’ coaches will be pleased with the home win. However, they will also be mindful of the team’s inability to convert their scrum dominance into a more comfortable victory. Failure to get the ball to centre Sonny Driscoll baffled supporters as did the reluctance to kick for territory and position on the field during certain periods of the game. These are aspects of the performance that the team can work upon during the relative calm of autumn and before the storms of winter set in.