Sixty Seconds From A League Upset

Hywel Jones
Date Time League Season Full Time
23rd September 2017 2:30 PM WRU National League 1 - East Central 2017-18 80'

TeamScoreTriesConversionsPenaltiesBPPointsOutcome
Dinas Powis RFC1731011Bonus Point Loss
Treorchy RFC2022204Win

More intrigue, controversy, drama and justified outrage (or unjustified depending on the side that you supported) than a dozen episodes of Eastenders is one summary of this torrid contest on the Common. The monocular supporters of the team from the Rhondda Fawr spent most of the contest proffering their views at the beleaguered match official. Yet, at the final whistle, they cheered his crucial decision. The Zebras scored the winning try at the death in controversial fashion which was a disappointing end to what had been an enthralling and highly entertaining spectacle.The visiting touch judge appeared to wave his flag on the far side of the pitch indicating that the ball was out of play. Dinas’ players, aware that it was the final play of the match, relaxed. However,  the youthful official allowed play to continue and the winning try was scored in the right nearside-corner. The Villagers, realising the significance of the situation, pleaded with the referee who sought clarification from the line judge who was now stood behind the posts awaiting the conversion. After much deliberation, the match official decided to award the crucial score and victory was snatched from the grasp of the Villagers. The contrast in the emotions of the various sets of supporters was palpable and passionate debates took place across the Common wherever contact was made between the ardent followers.

Dinas will be disappointed to have lost this contest having dominated large portions of the contest, but an over enthusiasm to run the ball and a couple of missed place kicks proved crucial in a league where the margin of success and failure are so small.

Treorchy, with the wind at their backs, took the lead through two long-range penalty kicks without once entering the home twenty-two before finally mounting a worthwhile attack and scoring a try under the posts. The visitors fly-half ran elegantly, drawing the home defence before slipping a deft pass to his burly flanker who, on a sweet angle, crossed for the first try of the contest after thirty-five minutes. Dinas pounded the visitors defence with wave after wave of attacks, but remained scoreless. In contrast, Treorchy, with much fewer opportunities, held a comfortable thirteen-point lead.

The Villagers were spurred into greater effort by the situation. A powerful burst by the peerless Gareth Williams initiated the move and passed the ball to centre Darren Ryan who forged forwards before finding flanker Ryan Shallish who agonisingly got to within inches of the try line. The ball was recycled for scrum-half Tom Davies who reached for the line with the ball in a single hand to open the scoring for the home team. The simple conversion was completed by fly-half Callum Bricknell to end the half 7-13.

The second half was dominated by the home side in every phase of play and even though the powerful scrum advanced at every scrum the match official ­— much to the consternation of coach John Dunleavy — penalised the home front row. It took the Villagers a full twenty minutes to add to their points total. Sweet passing released pacey left-wing Duke Durham who crossed in the corner for a stunning team try. The conversion from the touchline was wide and the home side trailed by a single point.

The Zebras enjoyed good field position for a few minutes before they spilt the ball in the backline. Replacement wing Mike Smith scooped up the loose ball and ran sixty metres before being grappled. The ball was regathered by the Treorchy fly half who, under pressure from Corey Imperato, threw a lofted pass towards his supporting right-wing, As the ball sailed through the air it was intercepted by Bricknell who crossed for the Villagers third try of the afternoon to the elation of the home supporters. Unfortunately, the conversion was wide of the posts yet the home side had scored seventeen unanswered points and now led by four precious points — 17-13.

With a quarter of an hour of the contest remaining, and with the visitors penned in their own twenty-two metre area, the constant baying of the impassioned travelling supporters was rewarded when flanker Shallish was shown a yellow card ensuring that he would spend the remainder of the contest on the sidelines. A man short, the home defence was breached in the final passage of play and defeat — not victory — was the outcome of the contest.

Treorchy are without question a quality team who have firmly established themselves at the top of division over the past few seasons. Outscoring these illustrious visitors by three tries to two will provide little solace for a brave and very proud Dinas Powys side who have already faced some of the toughest competitors the league has to offer this season.

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