The chilly afternoon started so brightly for the Villagers as they stormed to a fourteen point lead after twenty-five minutes against the ‘Squirrels’ of Rhiwbina. Incidentally, the Squirrel name and logo that Rhiwbina RFC use came about as a result of the club prior to formation meeting in the Butchers Arms — an Ansell’s pub which used the squirrel motif as an emblem.
The first home try scored by centre Rhys Evans followed a fine break by co-centre Sam Middlemiss with outside half Ben White adding the the conversion the home side led by 7-0. This period of the game was dominated by the home side with the visitors pegged back in their half. Dinas’ scrum was comfortable with the front row of Andrew O’Malia, Caleb Robinson and Luke Dyer exerting pressure on their opposite numbers. The loss of O’Malia due to a leg injury after just a quarter of the game played was to prove crucial. The stout prop has proved an integral part of the team not only with his scrummaging, but also his ball carrying and deft distribution. The loss of O’Malia meant the introduction of club captain Tom Baister far earlier than anticipated after surgery on a dislocated shoulder. To protect his recovering shoulder from the pressure of scrummaging Baister ,normally a hooker went, to number eight and the magnificent Corey Imperato moved to hooker. The home side extended their lead after twenty-five minutes after a powerful run by Ryan Shallish set up fine field position. The move seemed to falter after a poor pass went to ground but the ball was gathered by fullback Nathan Williams who scythed his way between the visitor’s defence before passing to Baister who drove on, carrying two defenders on his back. Baister, in turn, offloaded to scrum-half Tom Davies who released right wing Jim Wiltshire who scored in the corner. White’s successful conversion meant that the Villagers led by 14-0.
This position of dominance was eroded before half-time as the professional Rhiwbina pack took complete control of the ball and scored three tries in the remainder of the first half — albeit one of these was an incredibly generous penalty try that confounded even the most devout Squirrel supporter. The home side did fail with two long range penalty attempts during this period but the early brightness was swamped by the men clad in black and at half time the visitors led 14-21.
The home side were penalised mercilessly at the scrum by the referee and these penalties presented the Squirrels with several line-outs deep within the Villagers half from which the visitors drove forward relentlessly. The powerful black-clad forwards of Rhiwbina added two further converted tries and a penalty, and after fifty-five minutes the visitors from the north of Cardiff led by 14-38.
Dinas’ youthful side defended grimly for the remainder of the match and, indeed, rallied to score their third try of the afternoon in the gathering gloom to produce a final score of 19-38.