09 January 2018 / Club News

First XV close gap with win against Canton

The First XV despite staying in fifth place in the league table closed the points gap to their rivals with another win at home last weekend this time defeating a resilient Canton side 18-5.

After last weeks tough win against near neighbours Cowbridge this was always going to be a tricky game for the Llantonians as they came down from the passion of the derby game to the rigours of facing a team very much in the bottom half of the league but showing recent improvements to warrant plenty of danger of underestimating them.
This though was put aside by the home team as they took heed and set about the visitors with a solid start and raced into a ten point lead within the first quarter of an hour.
With Llantwit playing towards the Clubhouse with an unusual and bitterly cold easterly wind in their backs, their first try came after a Canton scrummage deep inside their own half was seized upon by the Llantwit pack with a big push and hooker Huw Williams taking a strike against the head; the resultant quick ball allowed a break along the blind side and when initially stopped by the Canton defence; the home pack were quick up from the scrum to turn the stoppage into a platform for a driving maul which cantered on towards the try line allowing the big bear of a number eight in Gareth Watts to smuggle the ball over the whitewash for an unconverted try.
It wasn’t long before Llantwit were back in the same area of the field and smashing the Canton defence back to their own line as the ball was moved back and for across the field. Before prop and Man of the Match Damian Gardner-Ponting made one of his trademark runs and smashed his way over for another unconverted try.
This was though to be the last of any serious action as the rest of the half became a stop start scrappy affair. The score at half time 10-0.
The second half saw a complete reversal in fortune as Canton started in a frenzy throwing everything they had into the home side and deservedly came away with a try in the Bowling Green corner be it  a dubious one as the ball appeared to have been spilled on grounding.
Llantwit soon recovered though but then spent what appeared to be an eternity in the Canton half searching for a score but as much as they tried they couldn’t seem to put pressure into points eventually coming away with a solitary penalty kick from outside half Iestyn Jones as the game approached the last twenty minutes.
The third try did eventually come after some good positional play saw Gareth Watts tie in some defenders with a strong run and when the ball was recycled quick hands allowed Joel Thomas to cross. 
With ten minutes left on the clock you could see that the home side were going to go in hunt for a fourth try and a bonus point. But it was Canton who took charge of the conclusion of proceedings as they themselves went in search of a losing bonus point. And to their credit it was only some impressive rear guard counter defending by Llantwit and in particular replacement Rob Carter that saved Llantwit’s blushes from a game that for the most part they were in total control of.
This then was not the best of games and after last weeks events it looked at times as it might be a case of ‘after the Lord Mayors show’ as Llantwit struggled to get into gear at times. But this was a good win none the less on a boggy pitch which was a big settler and against  a much improved Canton side who showed they are strong defensively and have an applaudable never say die attitude to their game.
This week the Llantonians travel up the Rhondda Valley to take on the might of the Tylorstown Tigers who after putting Cowbridge to the sword last weekend with a 31-16 win are now the league leaders and yet another battle royal surely awaits.
There will be a bus leaving the Clubhouse at 12pm and any supporters are welcome to travel with the team. Kick off is at 2:30pm.


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