08 November 2017 / Club News

First XV Crumble as Caerau Ely snatch a draw at the Rec

The First XV lost valuable points as they capitulated in the last ten minutes of this league game. That they were for most parts in total control as Caerau Ely scored two tries in the last ten minutes to earn a 25-25 draw at the Recreation Ground.

The game started with Caerau Ely racing into a seven point lead as some early pressure had the Llantwit defence back peddling and some desperate tackling was not enough to stop a forward drive over for a converted try at the School End.
The home side though were quickly into their stride as some strong runs from back row players Donovan Stoppel and Gareth Watts earned a scrum deep inside the visitors 22, and with the Llantwit lack already showing their strength in the early scrummage exchanges it was no surprise that the referee was gIven no choice but to award a penalty try as the Caerau pack buckled and infringed to stop the Llantwit eight.
And for the rest of the half the home side played some of their best rugby of the season as they started to encompass their strong forward plays on the visitors in dominating possession, allowing a new half back pairing of Connor Morgan and Lawrence Howley to let loose their three quarters at will. But for all the adventure they only mustered a further try before the break as Rhys Balmont used his pace to break through. The score at half time 14-7 which at the time was acceptable but with the invaluable gift of hindsight really wasn’t enough reward on the scoreboard for the effort and dominance they had inflicted upon the opposition.
The second half started in the same vein as the first ended with the home side dominating proceedings and after gaining some good territory Howley increased the lead with a well taken penalty kick.
At this stage you would have thought Caerau would have started to capitulate such was the dominance of the home side but they just wouldn’t yield and kept coming back at Llantwit especially in the tackle are where they arguably had parity. This resistance rewarded as they scored an unconverted try from an impressive driving maul.
The scores extended equally as the final quarter approached with each side exchanging penalties.
Llantwit’s next score came as they earned themselves a line-out inside the Caerau 22 after Stuart Edbrooke used the wind to his advantage in sending a big kick down field. The Llantwit eight taking no time to secure the ball and set off a great driving maul of their own straight from the training ground which rumbled over with Hooker Huw Williams in control.
With three tries now in the bag and the a reasonable lead, Llantwit rightfully now went looking for a bonus point, however instead of relying on the tried and tested formula of the successful methodology they far too often attempted to go for gold individually or attempted brash offloads or passes which never came to hand.
They then when rewarded with a penalty within Howley’s kicking range decided to go for a line out but as they attempted to repeat the same driving maul unfortunately this time the ball was dropped over the line and the opportunity lost.
You would think at this stage that Caerau would have just been happy to keep the home side out but  to their credit they forced themselves back into the game throwing everything at Llantwit and they deservedly after a period of domination crossed to put themselves within seven points of a win. And with the home side now down to fourteen as a result of constant infringements in the run up to the try you could see they believed it was possible even though only minutes remained. And that’s exactly what they did with their tales up they took every opportunity to push Llantwit back and with the home sides set play uncharacteristically folding they sniffed the panic in the desperation of the home sides defence and after a series of drives in the 22 came away with another try.
With the referee declaring that time was up it was left with the Caerau kicker to decide a draw or win with his conversion and thankfully for Llantwit it was a draw that saved further blushes as his kick sailed wide.
Not a good day at the office then for the Llantonians. Caerau were not a bad side with their play certainly not mirroring their lowly position in the league and they did have several good players in their ranks including two former Wales rugby league internationals. But that aside this was most definitely a game that the home side threw away such was their dominance. They now need to bounce back quickly as this week they travel up to the County Borough of Merthyr Tydfil as they take on Ynysowen who are sitting third in the league. Kick off is at the earlier time of 1:30pm due to the Wales v Australia game taking place in the evening.
The seconds team the Druids game was sadly postponed as their opponents Nantyffyllon couldn’t raise a side. This week they are also on the road as they take on Maesteg Celtic in the league also at 1:30pm. 


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