15 January 2018 / Club News

First XV go down fighting at Tylorstown


The First XV picked up a losing bonus point and left the Rhondda with their pride intact despite losing to league leaders the Tylorstown Tigers 27-20 at Penrhys Park.
On a bitterly cold Saturday afternoon Llantwit were far too slow out of the blocks in this enthralling contest as Tylorstown hit them cold from the start causing the visitors problems across the park with hard running from all angles. The Llantwit defence spending the first quarter virtually camped on their own 22 such was the onslaught and eventually something had to give and it did as flanker Donovan Stoppel was yellow carded for one penalty too far and Tylorstown took no time in slotting over a kick and following it up quickly with an unconverted try to leave the visitors floundering, having hardly touched the ball such was the dominance of the home side.
And sadly much more was to come as after some very brief parity in possession and territory by Llantwit. Tylorstown once again pegged them back with some good tactical kicking and then forwards and backs combining to race over for a second and this time converted try
Llantwit on finally waking up from their slumber did finally push the tigers back into their half and some good field positions allowed full back Luke Dawes to convert a penalty to at least get them onto the scoreboard; but the Tigers were to have the last bite as they once again crossed to put themselves well in control of the game at 20-3 as half time approached. A further penalty kick awarded to Llantwit just sailing wide to rub salt into the wounds now being licked by the visitors as they trudged to their half time huddle. The only plus point of the half being that the dangerous scrummage which Tylorstown were renowned for had not materialised and Llantwit had held their own and been dominant. A platform they now needed to work from in the second half.
Something inspired must have been said by the coaches and captain in the privacy of the huddle as a totally different Llantwit side emerged in the second half as they upped their work rate and speed of play with loose forwards Gareth Watts and Man of the Match Dan Farrel making big charges into the home defence. With the tables finally being turned it was now the home sides turn to camp on their 22 as Llantwit threw everything at them and eventually some good interchanging running between backs and forwards gave wing Joel Thomas enough room to show his strength in powering over for an unconverted try.
More Llantwit pressure saw the reversal in fortunes continue as Tylorstown were now down to fourteen as they began to buckle further but as much as they tried the visitors just couldn’t convert pressure into points, not helped by what was now becoming a miss functioning line out which was giving ball away at crucial stages.
Tylorstown grasping upon one of these gifts put themselves close to the Llantwit line and came away with yet another converted try against what had been one way traffic to leave the visitors with a huge mountain once agin to climb with just twenty minutes remaining. However climb they did and fought back admirably with a great try by replacement Dan Bawden whose strong angled run left the defence in tatters. 
Llantwit now went hunting for a consolation third try which if converted would give them a losing bonus point with just five minutes left on the clock. And this last hurrah was intriguing for the now frozen supporter such was the entertainment as the visitors battled to get over the whitewash and the Tigers duly responded in a great effort to try and keep them out. The visitors finally managing to reap the reward for their final efforts with some great pick and goes from some endless rucks with the assured presence of old lock Shaun Shea at the fore calmly trudging the pack towards the whitewash. And with seconds left Donovan Stoppel powered over and with the final kick of the game Dawes managed to convert the try to at least give the visitors something to take home with them.
A final score then of 27-21 and a losing bonus point some reward for their second half effort. And plenty of plaudits from the home side stating Llantwit were by far the best side they had faced this season. But as the bus made its way back down the Rhondda Valley the Llantonians side knew this was really stark compensation. Yes they had been beaten by a good side who deservedly sit on top of the league but the feeling from the team was that they just hadn’t played anyway near their potential and were left thoroughly despondent, particularly in their first half performance.
They now need to do some quick soul searching and pick themselves up as things don’t get any easier this week as they welcome Treherbert to the Recreation Ground. Treherbert lying in third place in the league will be pushing for the top two promotion places and will no doubt be seeking revenge as Llantwit won the corresponding fixture 7-15 earlier in the season at Treherbert.
Back at home the second team finally got out onto the park after a few weeks off and put in a good performance in losing an entertaining game to Maesteg Celtic 29-14. The tries coming from Rhys David and Mike Sims with the reliable boot of Dan Powell picking up the kicks. This week they travel to Tondu which will be interesting game with it doubling as both a league and cup fixture.
The youth team rounded off a pretty glum weekend results wise for the senior teams as they went down to a heavy defeat at Cardiff Harlequins. The young Llantonians then will also be looking to get back on track as they take on Llanishen at home in the second round of the Blues cup. All kick off times are at 2:30pm.
A bit of gloom then in the results but it must not be forgotten that once again the club put out thirteen rugby sides over the weekend from under 7s right through to the 47 year olds in the Druids side. At a time when some clubs are struggling to raise sides and even folding, a great achievement for community rugby representing the town.


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