26 April 2018 / Club News

Two wins on the trot for First XV as they face busy end to the season


First up was a trip last week to Cardiff to take on third placed Caerau Ely at Trelai Park which was once more used to horse racing than oval ball as it used to be the home of the Ely Racecourse. And this encounter was eventually one by what would be have been described as a head to head race as both teams edged ahead throughout and battled right to the final furlong with Llantwit finally just managing to shrug off the home side and get their nose in front at 24-31 in the very last minutes of a magnificent game of rugby.
Llantwit started well as they stood toe to toe with Caerau who came into the fixture with an impressive record of games against the top teams in the league and had held the Llantonians at the home fixture earlier in the season.
Llantwit though were the first on the scoreboard as a Laurence Howley tactical kick box kick inside the home sides 22 had the defence in sixes and sevens and when the ball was spilled good support work by centre Stuart Edbrooke saw him pounce on the ball to claim the first try, with Howley adding the conversion.
Caerau were soon on the scoreboard themselves as they battled back into the game and started to dominate possession with strong runs causing the visitors problems as they stretched their defence to cope with the onslaught. Caerau eventually scoring a fine unconverted try in the corner.
Llantwit were now well and truly under the cosh as Caerau were completely in control of the game but any slip ups in their domination the visitors were quick to exploit and did so next as they seized possession in their own 22 to go on a great break with some great handling taking them up to the Caerau 22 where only a forced penalty stopped Llantwit’s momentum. Howley adding a three points to extend their narrow lead.
Caerau though soon pulled the reins in on the Llantwit lead as their total domination saw a good  defensive tide eventually break under the pressure and they crossed once again to make the half time score tied at 10-10.
The second half saw another period of intense Caerau pressure but Llantwit still looked dangerous whenever they had any possession no matter where it was on the field. And they crossed once again after a switch from a scrum saw some lovely interchanging of hands from the back row and centres combining to put speedster wing Rory Budina over. Howley again converting.
The lead though was short lived as the home side put their pressure once again into points as they tied the score with an impressive driving maul from a penalty gained line out.
But the tit for tat continued as Llantwit making a rare excursion into the Caerau 22 had a good positional scrum and Rhys Balmont who had moved up from full back to take over at scrum half seized the opportunity for a great individual try as he broke from the scrummage to leave the defence standing and go under the posts.
Caerau as you would think by now were not done and dominated once again seemingly camped for an age toeing back and forth between Llantwit’s 10 and 22 line as the visitors stood tall against the stampede of the home sides attack. And eventually something had to break and it did big style for Llantwit’s hopes as they had a yellow card reducing them to fourteen for just about the rest of the game. Caerau Ely quickly replicating their earlier driving maul try from the resultant line out to once again tie the score at 24-24.
And now Caerau went for the jugular as they sniffed the win with the player advantage but remarkably and too great credit the Llantwit fourteen battled for every blade of grass between the try line and the home sides attack. And kept them out they did and then finished things off with style as just as the game was likely to end in a draw. A Llantwit line out just inside the Caera half saw a solid maul and then some great skills in passing running in the backs gave wing Budina another chink of light in his sight for the whitewash. And taking the blinkers off he raced away to the delight of the travelling supporters to make the winning score.
This was undoubtedly a great game to watch and Caerau Ely are one very good team they completely dominated the game but Llantwit played a great game of counter attacking. Man of the Match was Howley whose kicks to post repeatedly edged them ahead and big tactical kicking was so effective in keeping Caerau at bay. Further mention going to Stuart Edbrooke who despite picking up yet another yellow card was constantly the link player in the visitors play.

The next game then came three days later as the tired Llantwit players took on Tonyrefail at home, but this was a totally different affair as in fairness to the opposition they arrived with a scratch side and a mixture of mainly youth and even some retired players as this postponed game saw most of their regular team unavailable. 
Llantwit were then able to put on a show in a lovely spring afternoon at The Rec rattling up eleven tries in the process as they put the visitors to the sword with a 75-5 win. The try scorers Rhys Balmont 2, Luke Dawes 5, Jack Austin, Damian Ponting, Josh Austin and Rhys Hewitt.
Some of the tries were great displays of handling but all the credit in the name of rugby must go to the visitors who must have known they were onto a hammering but turned up with a heavily weakened team and proudly took to the field and battled all afternoon and even had the lions a share of possession in the last period such was their determination.
Man of the Match was Carwyn ‘Jaffa’ Rees who followed up some recent solid spells as a replacement with a solid game at number eight.
This week there was no let up as by the time this report is read they will have already taken on Canton on Tuesday night again away in Cardiff. A tough fixture as agin they will only have had three days rest and facing a much improved Canton side from the one they faced earlier in the season. Then this Saturday they take the long trip up to Hirwaun for thankfully the last fixture in this never ending season, kick off 2:30pm.


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