GWERNYFED 13 PENTYRCH 5
It has to be said that this was a game for the dedicated supporters of the local game rather than a celebration of running rugby. Whilst the rain relented the pitch was heavy, the ball greasy, the wind disruptive and both teams were prone to sacrifice good ball. Nonetheless, the game was never less than compelling and in completing the double over the Vale of Glamorgan side Gwernyfed did no harm to their position towards the bottom of the table.
For most of the first quarter the home side, led by Dave Roberts in the absence of injured skipper Sam Stephens, had the better of the exchanges. The front row, Ian Powell, James Holmes-Powell and Craig Parry, dominated the scrum and in the loose Lee Hammond, Ben Barrell and Dan Draper scrapped to good effect. However, the line out stuttered and positional advantage was lost, allowing the visitors to get into the game, indeed to take the lead by way of a maul that saw half back pair Rees and Moore capitalise upon territorial gains, Moore going over in the corner.
The score stung Gwernyfed into action and a score was tantalisingly close when Kieron Jones picked up a loose ball thirty meters out only to be brought down inches short. The resultant scrum was awarded to Pentyrch but the visiting eight were pushed off the ball, home number eight Ben Barrell skilfully controlling the ball before plunging over. Gerwyn Williams converted well from wide out and added an equally impressive penalty to extend the half-time lead to five points.
The runes looked to predict a comfortable win for Gwernyfed as they turned round against a side struggling for fitness in the heavy conditions. However, the green, white and blacks have regularly conspired to make life difficult for themselves and they continued the trend, failing to clear their lines and committing offences when opportunity beckoned.
Throughout most of the second period the travelling half back pair and full back Marc Evans controlled the game but were thwarted by some excellent defence in midfield where Andy Hill and Haydn Murphy performed with distinction. The result was a largely uneventful midfield contest punctuated by errors caused by the conditions and robust tackling.
With fresh legs coming on in the last quarter Gwernyfed finally made inroads into the Pentyrch half and after a long Jack Williams punt into the twenty-two some good follow up work caused the defence to transgress. Gerwyn Williams maintained his 100% record, admirable in the conditions, converting the penalty to allow the home side the relative luxury of an unassailable lead with minutes to go.
The whistle offered both a much needed win and some relief that a lengthy run of bad luck had come to an end. Whilst this game was not a spectacle, coaches Chay Billen and Danny Skyrme were delighted with the outcome and hope that the momentum can be maintained in what will be a difficult game next week at the home of unbeated Cambrian Welfare.