A Gwernyfed team weakened by absences caused by illness and farming commitments embarked upon the longest trip of the season to the seaside.
Llantwit Major 24 - Gwernyfed 10
Report by Peter Weavers
The travellers faced a mature side on a dry pitch with the usual stiff south-westerly suggesting that this would be a game of two halves – which turned out to be the case, though not quite as initially foreseen.
Gwernyfed faced both the wind and the slope in the first period and yet largely held their own. The initial skirmishes saw the speedy south coasters’ backs being chopped down by some good midfield tackling involving Tom Morgan and Will Powell and the green, white and black back rowers Sam Stephens, Levi Phillips and Lloyd Rees, the latter making a welcome return from international shearing duty. When the visitors attacked it was through the forwards, Richard East and Andrew Norris making inroads but being held by an experienced Llantwit outfit.
The impasse was broken after 20 minutes of play in midfield when the home side touched down wide out but, thanks to some speedy incursions from Sean Waldeck and Ryan Meredith play then switched to the other end and though the only reward was a Gerwyn Williams penalty, the prospects looked good for a second half turn around even though the notion was slightly dented in the dying seconds when a missed tackle wide out on the left saw the hosts’ lead extended to seven points at half-time.
Far from being all Gwernyfed in the second period, a series of squandered opportunities when line-out ball was lost and the usually reliable green, white and black scrum malfunctioned, handed the impetus back to Llantwit Major. The penalty count against Gwernyfed grew, frustration being at the base of it, and on the hour a third, converted try extended the lead.
Notwithstanding the valiant efforts of the travelling band, the speed that the home side possessed behind paid off and their bonus point try on seventy minutes all but killed off James Brute’s side’s hopes.
However, their resilience was rewarded when Rhodri Williams intercepted in his own half and, having made good ground, released Tom Morgan who completed the task of touching down for what was a consolation try converted by Williams.
Not an entirely satisfying journey to the southern-most rugby club in Wales, though as always every man showed endeavour and grit. In this stop-start season the fields now lie silent for another fortnight in favour of the Six Nations with the next action at Trefecca Road seeing Gwernyfed welcome Treherbert on March 25 for what is always a close encounter.