12 April 2018 / Club News

First XV gain revenge against Wattstown to draw the mini series!

The First XV after losing last week at Wattstown 29-10 had an opportunity to turn things around because unusually due to weather postponements they again faced the Wattstown Ducks on Saturday, this time at home on the Recreation Ground. And they proved they were up to the task as they won a hard and physical, but also very entertaining game 26-15.
The game commenced with the Llantonians playing towards the School End and both teams took no time in renewing acquaintances as they smashed into each other right from the off with huge hits across the field as they attempted to gain the physical edge.
The first try though soon came to the blood and blacks as some nice ball from the tail of a line out on the Wattstown 10 metre was put across the field by the three-quarters and into the hands of right wing Joel Thomas who on cutting back inside turned the cover defence and with scrum half Rhys Balmont tracking across he was able to keep the move going with great hands and release centre Josh Austin who had looped around to go over in the corner for an unconverted try.  
Llantwit did then have an opportunity to extend their lead with a deserved penalty in front of the posts after some good possession and territory but was sliced wide by the normally dependable boot of outside half Lawrence Howley.
The second try though came soon after, and again from another home line out this time just shy of the half way line which was from some great defence work by flanker Rhys Hewitt and Josh Austin who had forced a Wattstown attack out of play. A shortened line out then secured by lock Shaun Shea was quickly out through the backs and with number eight Rob Carter also running a dummy line the speed of the ball was too much for the defence and entering the line gave full back Luke Dawes enough space to show some gas as he evaded the covering tackles to race under the posts. Howley converting.
It was now time for Wattstown to come back into the game as they pressurised the Llantwit defensive line for a long period but the home side after a long seven days of reflection on last weeks performance had upped their desire and was shown in a big work load from one to fifteen to confine the visitors. And defensive effort soon brings rewards, as Wattstown were retreating they were forced to box kick infield and with Howley collecting he saw space out wide and threw a long pass across the field to his half back partner Balmont who linked with fullback Dawes who released Josh Austin to again go over in the same corner, this time with plenty to do as he jinked first inside and then back out to use the space of the touchline to dive over; this time Howley adding the two points with a huge kick. 
With ten minutes left on the clock that was it for the points scoring of the first half as the teams locked horns mainly at the centre of the field with neither team budging. Llantwit going into the break with a 19-0 lead.
The second half started with, as you would expect from this tough outfit from the Rhondda, Wattstown fighting back and they took no time in using some good possession to send a player racing away down the 5metre tram lines to score a great individual try.
Llantwit then after a great 30metre break from the base of a scrum from Balmont were camped in the Wattstown 22 but were being constantly thwarted by the Wattstown defence, that was till hooker Huw Williams took a quick tap penalty and made some ground and with the ball recycled few a couple of rucks it was spread out for first Lock Dan Bawden to have a charge at the line then Rhys Hewitt took it on further before prop Dave Taylor finally picked it up and using his years of experience dabbed it down at the base of the rugby post protector, converted by Howley.
With the score now at 26-5 and the heavy ground becoming more and more energy sapping both teams started to empty their benches. The game for the next period went back to an an attritional one as Wattstown throwing everything at the home side to claw there way back into the game. And the home side equally attempted to extend their lead. 
And the break through nearly came with quarter of an hour left with a nice period of play allowed a great break from replacement wing Evan Holloway but for him to be just hauled down by the last man racing back.
But a short time later it was Wattstown who broke the deadlock after some domination in the scrum in Llantwit’s 22 and a good number eight pick up gained some distance before the Ball was whipped out to the blindside for the wing to canter over for an unconverted try.
And this then spurred on the visitors who went all out for the last spoils as they hammered the Llantwit line right up to the final whistle and credit to them managed to touchdown with the very last play to make the final score.
A mightily improved performance then from the Llantonians to tie the mini series at one each! Man of the Match was scrum half Rhys Balmont whose sniping and link play was the nucleus to Llantwit’s forward momentum. 
Things don’t get any easier now for the blood and blacks as the season has been extended due again to all the weather postponements; meaning they now go into the last fortnight of the season having to play five games in quick succession. 
First up is another trip up to the Rhondda Valley on Saturday as they take on Ferndale, kick off at 2:30pm. They then have a mid week visit to Cardiff on Wednesday to take on Caerau Ely with an evening start of 6:15pm.

Llantwit Major:  L Dawes, Jack Austin, Josh Austin, K Spillane, J Thomas, L Howley, R Balmont, G David (Capt), H Williams, D Taylor, D Bawden, S Shea, R Hewitt, S Edbrooke, R Carter.
Replacements: I Moss, E Holloway, J Gibbons, L Jenkins, C Rees. 

Also in action on Saturday were the second team (the Druids)  who made the short trip over to Llanharan to take on the the Dairymen’s second team losing a spirited performance 38-22. 
A tit for tat first half saw two youth players starting their first senior game, Ben Simpson and Steffan Buggler  the latter tapped down in the corner after 10 mins for the first try of the match. After a serious collision lock Kennsett had to leave the field and juggling the line up in the scrum allowed Llanharan to dominate scrummage time. 
Although letting Llanharan in for four tries three of which was converted the Druids came back strong as the half came to a close with Damian Ponting scoring a powerful solo try converted by fly half Dan Powell who had also added a penalty, to make the half time score 26-15 to the Llanharan
Changing players at half time saw another youth player Alex Parry making his senior debut along with two guest players from Beddau who came along to help. 
The second half saw Llanharan up the tempo with replacements who were akin to a higher standard of rugby, bearing in mind the Llanharan first team match was called off earlier in the day due to their pitch being unplayable, however the Druids held firm from a serious onslaught from the home team which saw Llanharan scoring two tries to another from Ponting converted by fly half Powell for the final score. 

Druids: A Bloomfield, M Young, T Burrows, M Kensett, C Charlesworth, J McNaughton, M Ingram, D Bunting, G Burnett, D Powell, B Simpson, D Gardner-Ponting, R Gilbert, S Buggler, O Jauncey. Replacements T Jones, L Turner, A Parry, J Owen, C Oliver.



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