Penybanc 17 Gwernyfed Ladies
THIS final game of the season provided the expectant supporter with an all to play for game, with Gwernyfed Ladies and their travelling army of fans outnumbering and outcheering the home supporters.
This was a top of the table decider which Gwernyfed had to win. From the kick off it was all Gwernyfed and following a long kick down field the Gwernyfed forwards furiously pinned Penybanc in their own 22. After a gutsy turnover the ball was worked left and then right, scrum half Sian Dyke flipping a direct miss-pass to on running centre Del Thomas who crashed through the bewildered defence. From the restart a deft movement of foot allowed Sally Windsor to elude several chasing defenders and with a reverse pass Lucy Deacon drove straight into the remaining defenders, only to be thwarted by illegal play. With confidence high, outside half Jess Owen slotted the ball over from 40 metres.
No sooner had Gwernyfed converted Penybanc came back, but the move broke down as hard tackling from Lauren Smith provided the opportunity for Gwernyfed to counter. The match was being played at a tremendous pace, and as the ball was soon worked upfield with a mazy run from Georgia Williams. The forwards then took over before prop Lily Snape crashed over, with three defenders hanging on in desperation.
With the score at 17-0 Penybanc rose to the challenge and began to counter making many forays into the Gwernyfed’s half. One such attack resulted in a try in the corner, but too far out for the conversion.
The game ebbed and flowed, but the Gwernyfed setpiece was beginning to dominate, the line out between hooker for the day Sally Windsor and primary jumper Katie Roby, was sublime, having no trouble securing their own ball and stealing their opponents’. Conversion took the half-time score to 5 -17.
At the start of the second half Gwernyfed switched off, allowing Penybanc’s winger to cross in the corner, bringing the score back to 10-17. Gwernyfed rose to the challenge, and there began a 10-minute period of one-way traffic which led to Owen kicking a penalty to within 10 metres of the try line. The resulting line out allowed the forwards to slowly work their way to their opponents’ try line and from a metre out Lily Snape was driven over by her mother and fellow prop Rosie Snape. Even though the visitors where leading by 24-12, all was not safe. Gwernyfed had to repel several counter attacks. In one Katie Priddle upended her opposite number, and as the ref allowed play to continue, a slick move saw inside centre Lauren Dixon interlink with wing Megan Compton, who was then tackled illegally high. A quick tap and run from the penalty by captain Rosie Jones and a smart off load gave flanker Megan Snape the room to glide through a punch drunk defence to score unopposed under the posts. It was obvious with her kicking boots on Owen wasnÕt going to miss from there.
Time was running out and with the coaching staff ringing the changes, former Youth players Catlin Alder, Catlin Pugh and Hannah Coles slotted into their required positions seamlessly Catlin Pugh ran and tackled with vigour, whilst fellow back Hannah Coles put in a huge hit that stopped this high tempo game for a welcomed break.
The penultimate score came from Panybanc bringing the score to 17-31, and with a grandstand finish in sight, back came Gwernyfed with a positive carry from Cortney Bailey. A pre-planed move finally saw Catlin Alder draw then pop up a sweet pass to Lily Snape to score the final try. It was superb play from Gwernyfed, providing a fully deserved victory, with the final score 17-38. The man of the match award went to retiring flanker Katie Roby, though hat trick hero Snape must have been in with a shout.