A thrilling game of rugby in which the Villagers of Dinas Powys scored four tries, gaining a bonus point in the process, but losing a nine-try thriller to their illustrious visitors. The contest can be divided into three sections — the first thirty minutes when the Villagers scored two tries and established a 12-0 lead, the next forty minutes when the powerful Wanderers pack dominated possession and denied the exciting home backline the ball and scored five tries (and all their points), and the final ten minutes when the home side scored two further tries.
The Wanderers are pushing hard along with Ystrad Rhondda for promotion to the Championship and provided a stern test for the village side. An interception by ex-Wanderer Darren Ryan on halfway saw him scamper clear for a try which was converted by scrum-half Sam Middlemiss to establish a 7-0 lead after two minutes. The third tackle of the game saw home centre Ciaran Driscoll sent to the sin bin by the enthusiastic match official yet, despite being a player short, the home side continued to dominate and during this period a couple of scoring opportunities were allowed to slip. The home side added to their score after half an hour as tighthead prop Andrew O’Malia exploded off the back of a rolling maul to charge over from ten metres. Following this period of play, the Villagers’ formidable captain and hooker, Tom Baister, was forced to leave the fray and the home side was forced to reorganise their pack. The Wanderers responded well and for the first time in the game, they started to show some real structure to their play. From a penalty, they established good field position and the forwards went on a concerted drive. As the maul edged close to the line Lee Highgate peeled away and he forced his way over with help from Max Wootten to put the visitors back in the game. Halftime Dinas 12 – 7 Wanderers.
The Villagers were looking dangerous at the start of the second half, however, a dropped pass was fly hacked on by visiting centre Cameron Gibbon in his own half. Gibbon followed up his own kick in front of the covering tacklers to touch down and put the Wanderers ahead. The visitors’ pack was dominating the ball and a further three tries were from the same playbook as the Wanderers mauled their way towards and over the try-line. The final ten minutes saw the bulky Wanderers pack tire and the home side ran the ball from all areas of the pitch.A huge ball carrying performance by Villagers number eight, Corey Imperato, was augmented by flanker Ryan Shallish and replacement hooker Dan Watts. The Villagers’ spirit was indomitable and two tries from backs Ben White and Nathan Williams on the nearside secured a solitary but nevertheless important bonus point.
An enjoyable, physical contest that entertained the large crowd and tested the resolve of both teams, and which will provide coaches Dunleavy and Ryan with the belief that they have a group of players that will develop and improve as they gain experience at this level.