Rugby was the winner in a sometimes niggling affair at the Recreation Ground as Llantwit beat St Albans 33-0, scoring five try's in this league encounter which was also acting as their last game in qualification for the East District Cup.
The cup competition is run whereby each of the clubs in the East District of the Welsh Rugby Union are allocated eight games in their respective leagues, four at home and four away. The results of each game then count towards points in a league table format with the top four teams in the league then going through to the semi finals.
This commanding win over the Buns means Llantwit now have sufficient points to guarantee qualification to the semi finals with both games due to be played simultaneously on the evening of Wednesday the 19th of April at Llandaff North RFC. Their opponents though are still to be decided as other clubs still have selected fixtures to complete.
With their recent run of games consisting of good performances but the wrong results the Llantwit players were determined to grab their opportunity of cup qualification and started at a ferocious pace; but as in recent fixtures every time they made headway they were thwarted by spilled passes and a series of penalties awarded against them. Slowly though they managed to get their act together and started using their loose forwards on strong runs and then released centres Rhys Davies and Jack Austin to keep pushing back the Buns defence. The gains in territory eventually being rewarded by a well worked driving maul allowing prop Geraint David to smuggle the ball over for a try at the Clubhouse end. The conversion from far out near to the Bowling Green touch line just narrowly missed by outside half Dan Powell.
The next bit of action was sadly a return to the unsatisfactory side of rugby which still occasionally raises its ugly head. The game had already had a couple of flare ups as tempers got to players but had risen to nothing other than a bit of hand bags; however on this occasion an innocuous disagreement away from play between a St Albans prop and the Llantwit scrum half Iestyn Jones was left with Jones being knocked out by a sickening vicious punch. Unfortunately the referee in keeping up with the play was not able to deal with the matter as the only outcome would surely have been a red card.
Jones thankfully did slowly recover but was not able to take any further part as he was clearly suffering from concussion and will now have to miss three weeks of rugby as medical protocols are observed.
Returning to the rugby, Llantwit found quick retribution in the correct manner by shortly crossing the try line once again, this time after some good forward drives, a thunderous run by prop Damian ‘Cannonball’ Gardner-Ponting smashed through the Buns defence to go over close to the posts; Powell adding a further two points with the conversion bringing the half to an end at 12-0.
The second half started in the same manner as the first ended with another tremendous run by the Cannonball as he again smashed through even more defenders leaving several of them in his wake as he went over at the School-end, the conversion again slotted over by Powell.
Llantwit were now in total control of the game causing the Buns problems all over the pitch such was the quickness and execution of their plays and a further try was inevitable. And a peach of a try it was with the Buns making a rare venture into the Llantwit half, an excellent defensive ruck by No eight Jamie Lewis and Man of the Match Dan Bawden led to a penalty. Taken quickly by Josh Austin who raced off on a jinxing run leaving the visitors defence back-pedalling, the ball was then quickly released across the three quarters and into the hands of speedster Luke Dawes, who still had a lot to do but if given space there is not much you can do to stop him; and duly he went on an arcing run out pacing the defence to go under the sticks, again converted by Powell.
The final try was a proper tight forwards score, a series of scrums close to the Buns line had the visitors pack crumbling and eventually led to a penalty. With the backs screaming for quick ball to be released to them old sweat Shaun Shea was having none of it and elected for another scrum. His fellow forwards didn't let him down and responded by shoving the St Albans pack over their own line, replacement Number eight Rob Carter grounding the try. Powell again converting this time from far out wide taking his own contribution to eight points and his seasons tally over the hundred mark a fine achievement.
Sadly with only a short time left to play the game was again stopped with tempers again flaring and by this time the ref had had enough of the unwanted shenanigans and blew for the final whistle.
An adequate result then for Llantwit who had a good lesson in keeping their discipline and can now look forward to a semi final in the cup at the end of the season.
This Saturday there is again a break in fixtures for the final weekend of the Six Nations Championship with all games as normal being shown in the Clubhouse and members and non members welcome to attend. The next game will be away to Old Penarthians on Saturday 28 March, kick off at 2:30pm.