Championship players aid Wanderers to secure victory

Hywel Jones
Date Time League Season Full Time
21st October 2017 2:30 PM WRU National League 1 - East Central 2017-18 80'

TeamScoreTriesConversionsPenaltiesBPPointsOutcome
Glamorgan Wanderers RFC2031104Win
Dinas Powis RFC600200Loss

The Villagers made the short journey to Ely to face the Wanderers on a day during which storm Brian battered the UK. Blowing along the pitch towards St Fagans, the weather predictably led to a match that was played in just a single half of the pitch. Dinas had the wind advantage during the first forty-minutes of the encounter and had soon used it to take an early three points from the boot of Ben White.

Wanderers’ scrum showed some early dominance, winning the ball against the head to set up their backs. David Jones made a break in midfield and when he was hauled down close to the line the quickly recycled ball was spun wide to the waiting Will Adams Jones who was adjudged by referee Andrew Maule to have squeezed over in the corner to the obvious bewilderment of the Dinas players. Luke Fish, the home fly-half, almost reached the posts with his admirable conversion attempt into the wind but the home side had to be content with just a two-point lead.

The match then settled into a period of intense pressure on the Wanderers and Dinas showed a willingness to move the ball despite the horrid conditions. With the home side’s defence stretched, the Villagers threw everything at them. The gale in their faces, the Wanderers were unable to clear their lines by any safe distance yet some solid tackling kept the visitors at bay. The referee was tolerant of repeated offending at the breakdown by the home side as they slowed down the ball and hindered the Villagers backline. When the Wanderers were eventually penalised for offside, fly-half Ben White saw ‘Brian’ blow the ball off course and wide of the posts. The Wanderers took a twenty-two drop-out to set up the second try of the game — Aaron Fowler tapping to himself before setting James Loxton on a run which saw him ease his way through the defence to break clear before being stopped at Dinas’ twenty-two. However, the Wanderers once again recycled well and a neat miss-pass from Fish put left wing Jones in for his second try to double the home team’s score 10-3.

The game re-established itself in the Wanderers half and once again the home side were forced into dogged defence but no matter how hard Dinas tried they could not break the home side’s defensive line. A second penalty did reduce the arrears to 10-6 but as the rain increased its intensity the home side was able to contain the attacks and the sides went into halftime with the score 10-6.

Dinas had failed to take full advantage of the storm at their backs and, with the wind now their foe, faced an experienced home pack bolstered by players from championship sides during their free weekend. The situation was exacerbated almost immediately after the restart as prop Andrew O’Malia was deemed to have used no arms in a tackle. In reality, he appeared to slip on the treacherous surface in front of his intended target. The match official who had issued several warnings to the home side in the first half allowed the Villagers no such luxury and banished the bulky prop to the sin-bin. The penalty was converted by Fish and the Wanderers extended their lead to 13-6.

The conditions were grim and with Fish keeping Dinas pegged in their own half, the outlook for the visitors appeared similar. The defending was ferocious and with flankers Lewis Dunleavy and Ryan Shallish (assisted by second rowers Rhys Gambold and Dan O’Donnell) to the fore it appeared for a while that the Villagers would hold on for a losing bonus point.

However, Dinas’ defence was finally breached as the referee penalised the visitor’s scrum and, whilst the referee was deep in discussion with the offended O’Malia who had returned to the fray, the home scrum-half Myles Churcher took a quick tap and crashed over for the try. To the consternation of all with blue and gold in their blood the referee awarded the try, the conversion was added and to secure the final two points of the contest.

Dinas continued to defend heroically and late breaks by scrum-half Sam Middlemiss, fullback Rhys Evans and the dynamic Jim Wiltshire on the right wing raised hopes that a losing bonus point could be gathered at the end. Disappointingly, the home defence stood firm and the Villagers eventually left the Memorial Ground empty-handed.

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