Lloyd penalty takes the points
YNYSOWEN 14 - GWERNYFED 17
This was an enthralling encounter involving forty players from Merthyr Tydfil and Talgarth, every man jack of whom gave of their all in a thrilling game, one that spoke volumes for the commitment required of grassroots rugby footballers, writes Peter Weavers.
No one could say that this was a glamour tie. The short trip to the back streets of Troedyrhiw saw a modest crowd, visiting support in the majority, enjoy twenty minutes when both sides used the ball well. The home side’s efforts were built around a weighty pack but the green, white and blacks looked to run the ball wide and both full back Ryan Meredith and wingers Matty Price and Will Powell made plenty of ground without being able to finish.
When a score came it was the home side’s outside centre who wriggled through, but the lead was short-lived as indiscipline crept into the Merthyr men’s game when slowing down the release after Alun Lloyd and then Sam Stephens had threatened the line. Fly half Gerwyn Williams was the coolest man on the field and, notwithstanding the strong wind, popped over three penalties to open up a two point half-time lead.
When Rhodri Williams broke tackles going down the left to plunge over within minutes of the re-start all looked plain sailing. However, faced by some robust running by the Ynysowen pack, a war of attrition ensued with some mighty tackling by Levi Phillips, Craig Parry, Cellan Skyrme and skipper James Brute repelling all boarders, but at a cost as the visiting physio was soon the busiest person on the pitch. Alun Lloyd, scrum half Williams, wings Powell and Price and sub Charlie Parry were all removed from the fray. Tackling was at a premium and no one shirked their duty. However, the pressure eventually told and a converted try brought the scores level with twenty minutes left on the clock.
Heroics were called for and heroics is what the visiting support got. Sam Stephens, Kyle Davies, Toby Millington and Andrew ‘Chuck’ Norris chopped down man after man, joined by replacement Rhys Price who not only tackled and carried but turned ball over at the ruck. The big boot of fly half Will Lloyd relieved the siege on several occasions and on one rare trip to opposition territory a high tackle gave Lloyd an opportunity to recover the lead with a lengthy penalty, one popped over unerringly.
The hosts returned to the attack but found an impenetrable line of green, white and black, even when the visitors were reduced to fourteen men when Craig Parry saw yellow. Injury time seemed never ending but in the end, Stephens won the ball which was despatched into the surrounding streets accompanied by a final whistle that signalled a fine win for Gwernyfed in a wonderful game of rugby.
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