09 April 2018 / Club News

Lacklustre performance by First XV as they are dominated by Wattstown

The First XV had arguably their worst performance of the season as they were soundly beaten away last week at Wattstown 29-10. The preparations had all seemed to go to plan as the Llantonians knew only too well that Ynshir in the Rhondda Valley is never an easy place to go to and knew the Wattstown Ducks would put up a good aggressive display despite their lower half position in the league.

But as much preparation and team talks given once they took the field inspiration seemed to evaporate as they become a shadow of the side which they have developed into this season. 
Things didn’t start that badly as some good field position and a penalty allowed outside half Lawrence Howley to slot over three points. However this was short lived as they spent the next ten minutes camped on their own line and did well to initially keep the home-side at bay. And when they had thwarted an attacking line out by driving the maul back and further drove a loose ball carrier out towards the touch line, it looked as if they had rode the wave of attacks, but only to then inexplicably let a resulting loose ball be picked up by a Wattstown three-quarter who was first allowed to waltz around the pack before running straight through the back line and under the posts, without a single Llantwit hand touching him for a present of seven points.
And from this gift Wattstown built on their confidence and repeatedly pinned the visitors back and soon were awarded a further three points penalty. Then for the second week running Llantwit were reduced to fourteen be it this time for what appeared a rather harsh decision. But the numbers were then equalled a few minutes later as Wattstown were also reduced to fourteen as they had their centre sin binned after stopping the play back on their own try as Rhys Balmont had been hauled down inches from the try line after a great break from his own half.
This though was the only highlight of the first half for Llantwit as Wattstown continued to dominate proceedings, where their hard running forwards were causing far too many problems with either non existent first up tackles or powder puff efforts in the defensive line.
And the home side extended their lead with a further seven points as some more territory led to them squeezing in in the corner coupled with a great kick from the touch line to give them a 17-3 lead at the break.
As the second half kicked off Llantwit needed to get off to a good start but failed to gain sufficient territory in the first period to exert any significant pressure on the hosts. And even when they did manage to scramble some possession together they were quickly let down by loosing the resultant line out or spilling possession at crucial stages.
Then to put more misery on them Wattstown extended their lead further with another well taken converted try, leaving the visitors now a proverbial mountain to climb with a 24-3 scoreline.
To some credit they did rally briefly as finally some ball retention saw the visitors have a few charges at the Wattstown line with replacement Callum Stephens bringing some much needed vigour to the team, cruelly being denied twice on the try line. The break through eventually coming as some nice handling in the Wattstown 22, put speedster wing Luke Dawes free in the centre of the park as he raced over, converted by Howley.
But this in reality was it for the visitors as Wattstown defended well in the middle of the pitch for the rest of the game and extinguished any hopes of a come back for the Llantonians. And also had the last say as they pushed forward with the last play of the game and managed to score a final try just before the whistle for a thoroughly deserved win.
So what went wrong, well missing first up tackles seemed to be the biggest concern as they gave far too much space and distance to the Wattstown runners, especially their number eight who ruled the park all afternoon. But what was just as concerning from the sidelines was what appeared to be a lack of effort and heart from far too many players who seamed to go ‘hiding in the crowd’ and not match the effort of their fellow players like prop Geraint David and flanker Stuart Edbrooke who really couldn’t have done more to stem the tide such was their tackle counts.

But credit should also be given to the home side in what was a good performance from the Wattstown Ducks who had a big heavy pack who were all equally capable of making the hard yards with the ball in hand. 
Which all makes things very interesting this week as due to weather postponements through season they get to do it all again as the next game is also against Wattstown with Llantwit this time this time hosting.
Llantwit will no doubt be wanting to put in a big performance to answer their critics but equally Wattstown will now travel down with their tails up and looking once again to dominate; an enthralling encounter awaits then in this mini-series! 

Llantwit Major: R Balmont, L Dawes, Josh Austin, K Spillane, J Thomas, L Howley, S Godwin, G David (Capt), H Williams, D Taylor, D Bawden, S Shea, R Carter, S Edbrooke, G Watts.
Replacements: D Farrel (For R Carter 55), C Stephens (For D Taylor 55), Jack Austin (For L Dawes 67), A Whippy (For J Thomas 67).

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