Gwernyfed scored their third try 10 minutes from time to beat table-topping Crumlin by three points, writes Peter Weavers.


Gwernyfed v Crumlin
Second row Will Eckley gathers the ball and presses towards the opposition half (Copyright: Mark Griffin)

It didn’t take long for Crumlin to illustrate why they are having a successful season. When forcing a defender into touch within Gwernyfed’s 22, the visitors were quicker of thought, took the line-out swiftly and touched down in the corner inside five minutes.

Zack Snape reduced the lead with a penalty, the visitors straying offside when faced with a series of drives led by skipper Sam Stephens, ably supported as always by Lewis Bowen, Craig Parry and Prys Eckley.

But Crumlin soon added a try from close quarters, with a successful conversion.

Play swung back to the other end and, with the green, white and blacks just having the better of the forward battle, half backs Luke Eckley and Snape released the backs from quick ruck ball. Both wingers, Johnny Rees and Matty Price, made headway and full back Will Lloyd caused consternation every time he came into the line. But it was centres Jack Williams and Tom Morgan who were the real danger, Morgan celebrating his return from a lengthy period in Australia by breaking the line to touch down near the posts, Snape’s conversion a formality.

Gwernyfed v Crumlin
Prop forward Prys Eckley attacks the defensive line (Copyright: Mark Griffin) (.)

The home support expected Gwernyfed to take advantage of the slight slope at The Brian Jones Memorial Field in the second period. Snape pushed the ball into touch deep in the visitors’ 22 from a penalty. The throw was plucked out of the air by joint man of the match Tom Lloyd and the rest was inevitable, Cellan Skyrme getting the final touch from the back of the maul.

Home support was quietened, though also impressed, by the delivery of a sweeping move that saw Crumlin put the ball through several hands in a move from 40 metres out, one of their own superb centres getting the try to open up a two-point lead.

Snape restored the lead with a penalty but the compliment was returned when Gwernyfed were too eager in defence, the three points penalising the offside decision and putting the visitors back in front. With 15 minutes to go Gwernyfed had it all to do.

Snape once again put his forwards on the five-metre line and history repeated itself with Lloyd initiating an unstoppable rolling maul and Cellan Skyrme touching down for his second.

Crumlin were great value and threw everything at Gwernyfed for the last 10 minutes. But the defence was sound and action was largely outside the 22. Referee Owen Stone allowed the game to flow and made his decisions crystal clear. When the final whistle went it was greeted by a huge roar from a crowd.

Local rugby stands down next week as Wales take on Italy, after which Gwernyfed head south to visit Whiteheads. Coaches Dodd, East, Lewis and Thomas will be looking to build upon this win with the benefit of a few training runs before the trip to Newport.