The ‘Villagers’ team, devoid of many regular players, made the trip to Mountain Ash to face ‘The Old Firm’ in a contest between sides placed fifth and sixth respectively in the league table and both sides well above the relegation battle involving the six sides below them.
The home side got off to a flying start. Dinas, who appeared out of sorts and ‘still on the bus’, conceded a try within two minutes as home second row Jim Parfitt crashed over following a powerful forward drive. The conversion struck the post and bounced infield to limit the home sides advantage. Mountain Ash were rampant and within ten minutes the referee, Justin Evans, awarded a penalty try after two collapsed scrums in quick succession near the ‘Villagers’ try-line. A long and tortuous afternoon appeared in store, however, thankfully, that the last points the home side would score as the bedraggled visitors found some cohesion amongst the forwards and managed to match their opponents in the tight.
The ‘Villagers’, as always, attempted to play attractive rugby but it took them twenty minutes to enter the opponent’s twenty-two. A cross-kick by fly-half Ben White was brilliantly gathered by Rhys Evans but his pass back inside could not be gathered by second row Rhys Gambold. The unfortunate Gambold had to leave the fray shortly afterward due to a head wound and he was replaced by Corey Imperato, a player who is in excellent form but, due to work commitments, was unable to start the match.
The visitor’s defence was led by the imperious Lewis Dunleavy. Once again, Dunleavy was an inspiration to his teammates with his tireless work rate and, with Mountain Ash’s final rolling maul of the half successfully repelled the match official from Aberdare signaled half-time.
The second half started brightly for the Diana. They dragged the bulky home pack around the pitch and a quickly taken tap-penalty by super scrum-half Sam Middlemiss in his own half saw Imperato drive through the home defence. The ball was fed to centre Rhys Evans who drew the last defender and passed to the flyer Jim Wiltshire on the left-wing who outpaced the covering defenders and scored under the posts as he has done many times this season. With White adding the conversion the score stood at 12-7.
The rest of the game ebbed back and forth. Both sides missed kicks at goal but the ‘Villagers’ will feel that this was a victory that slipped away. Poor decision-making at crucial times coupled with poor passing and a ferocious home defence provided a frustrating afternoon for Dinas Powys Chairman Andy Vesey as the ‘Villagers’ failed to score again. The match ending in a 12-7 defeat.
The pride felt by all associated with Dinas Powys RFC in the achievement of one of their own, Ryan Shallish, who was a vital player for Wales Deaf Rugby as they were crowned World 7’s Champions, beating England by 21-15 in Sydney.
Ryan Shallish scored a vital try for Wales in the final and had the honour of being named the player of the tournament. Well done Wales and well done Ryan !!