|13th October 2018||2:30 PM||WRU National League 1 - East Central||2018-19|
The ‘Villagers’ switched this fixture from the Common to Parc Bryn y Don due to climatic and financial considerations , the strong winds negated marginally by being less exposed than the Common , and allowing entry charges to be collected. This contest against newly promoted Cambrian Welfare, from Clydach Vale which is within the Rhondda Valley , was a hugely physical contest , when the ‘Villagers’ bravery and commitment was tested to the extreme and resulted in a thrilling victory.
The visitors had a large , experienced pack of forwards that dominated possession for the first quarter of the contest , resolute defence from the ‘Villagers’ ensured that the Welfare did not score. A series of rolling mauls were countered , and a series of lineout steals against the throw by Lewis Dunleavy and Allan Sharkie allowed the game to remain scoreless.
Against the run of play it was the ‘Villagers’ that opened the scoring , a superb pass by scrum half Sam Middlemiss freed centre Rhys Evans on a dazzling side-stepping run before throwing a long pass to left wing Jack Maynard who crossed in the corner.
The remainder of the first half was largely dominated by the visitors , and the scores were levelled on the stroke of half time as the Welfare got a rolling maul moving forward and crossed for the try in the right hand corner, which saw the score at half time level at 5-5.
The ‘Villagers’ inspired by a motivational half time talk by coach John Dunleavy , scored immediately from the restart , the ball was gathered by flanker Corey Imperatto who drove into the visitors defence , the ruck ball was gathered by hooker Tom Baister who carried on the drive in his inimitable manner before feeding the ball to prop James Greenfield who crashed over the tryline in determined manner.
The try was converted by Middlemiss , the team from the Rhondda trailed by seven points , were inspired by their large travelling support into greater effort. The defensive effort was enormous with backrowers Ryan Shallish and Joshua Dunleavy prominent in the effort against their larger opponents. The pressure eventually led to the visitors second try as their left wing crossed in the corner.
The second half was a brutal affair that tested the temperament of players and referee to the maximum and provided a thrilling contest for the followers of both teams. The amount of possession enjoyed by the ‘Villagers’ was sparse and they were having to defend far more than they would have hoped . The visitors lost the ball at the breakdown following strong work by Baister and a powerful break by centre Ciaran Driscoll the ball was passed to fly half Dai Lloyd who produced a trademark scything break before feeding to Hayward who was caught in the air in the act of scoring , the Dinas forwards pummeled the visitors tryline , carries by Josh Dunleavy , Shallish and Imperatto were all repelled and the home side trusted their backline to move the ball amongst themselves . The overlap was created and the visitors right wing was forced to slap the final pass to the floor, the try was deemed likely to have been scored and the referee awarded the ‘Villagers’ a penalty try and the score advanced to 19-10.
The visitors once again responded and eventually resorted to using their bulky pack with another rolling maul that crossed for their third try , with the conversion going wide the score stood at 19-15 and victory remained within the grasp of either team. The final few minutes provided excitement and a great deal of tension as both teams pressed hard for a crucial score , strong carries by Joshua Dunleavy , and replacements Gazza Williams and Sonny Driscoll allowed the ‘Villagers’ to enter the Welfare 22 metre area and a sweet pass by Lewis Dunleavy allowed skipper Tom Baister to exhibit his power by driving through a brace of tacklers to score the fourth and bonus point gaining try. The conversion was added by Middlemiss with what was to be the final meaningful act of the contest and the game finished with hard won victory for Dinas Powys RFC.
This was a crucial victory for the ‘Villagers’ , based on strong defence and fine individual performances, Joshua Dunleavy started at number 8, moved to second row and eventually to the front row displaying his versatility , his resolution in the face of severe intimidation during the game was a major factor in the victory. James Greenfield , Tom Baister and Jerome Bryan in the front row provided the platform that allowed the team to subdue professional and highly motivated opponents.