The reality of playing rugby in the first division hit home to those following the ‘Villagers’ up the Rhondda Fawr Valley who witnessed their team lose their grip on a match in which they appeared in control.
The contest started briskly with Dinas kicking an early penalty but Ystrad responded quickly with a try close to the corner flag. Playing with the slope in the first half the ‘Villagers’ scored their first try after twenty minutes — a powerful burst by flanker Ryan Shallish saw him break through the resilient home defence before feeding hooker Tom ‘Tank’ Baister who crashed over. The energetic Baister was the outstanding player on the park, putting in an individual performance worthy of Man of the Match. The try was converted by outside half Ben White and the visitors held a 10-5 lead with an hour of the contest remaining.
Dinas controlled most the first half but sloppy passing and errant kicking out of hand were to prove costly for the newly promoted team. A scoring pass from scrumhalf Sam Middlemiss to second row Gareth Williams was harshly called forward and a potentially crucial score was disallowed. The home side, buoyed by the ‘Villager’s’ inability to further convert their dominance into points, finished the first half strongly and with flanker Lewis Dunleavy spending a ten-minute spell in the sin bin for a technical lineout offence they finished the half strongly. A fine defensive effort by skipper Ciaran Driscoll and Duke Durham prevented home winger Kurtis Williams from grounding the ball as he crossed the tryline, preserving the five-point lead at half time.
The ‘Villagers’ started the second half strongly but the errors persisted. Neither possession nor territory produced any points. The quality of passing was poor and the youthful Dinas Powys side contrived to allow the home side sufficient opportunities to win the contest. The further they fell behind on the scoreboard the more frantic and desperate became their attacking as they ran the ball from all areas of the park in search of at least a losing bonus point. The home side by now had amassed a 24-10 lead. However, the losing bonus point looked possible as replacement Darren Ryan benefited from further fine play Baister to cross for a try which was subsequently converted by Middlemiss to reduce the deficit to 24-17. Disappointingly, just as Dinas threated to score and bring the scores level, they dropped another pass. The ball was gathered swiftly by the home side who crossed for another try that denied the visitors even the consolation of solitary point.
The fact that a defeat against an unbeaten side away from home by twelve points proves so painful is an indication of the standards expected by expectant coaches Dunleavy and Ryan.