19 December 2018 / Club News

First XV edge tight game 10-12 at a rain soaked Wattstown

It certainly was ‘nice weather for ducks’ as a heavily sodden pitch and freezing horizontal rain in a 40mile an hour gale was what greeted the arrival of Llantwit Major RFC to Wattstown Park the home of Wattstown RFC who are known as The Ducks!

And the weather wasn’t the first obstacle which the team had to overcome as their bus failing to turn up meant the players rallying round and travelling late in cars to the fixture. The adversity meaning that they had no chance of a warm up with the kick off having already been delayed by twenty minutes.
The problems not ending there neither as they were soon under the cosh on the field going down to an early try and conversion by an eager and aggressive home side who scored early with a nicely taken try.
Which was a bad blow for the visitors as they were playing with the gale and the freezing horizontal rain at their backs for the first half. The weather so abysmal that the limited floodlights in operation were already  on so any brave watcher already knew this game would be low scoring. And with the referee declaring that he would call time once the conditions made playing unsafe and that score would stand then it was time for Llantwit to catch up big time!
Albert Einstein once said “Adversity introduces a man to himself”and the blood and blacks needed to do this and dig deep and to their credit they did. They took the game by the scruff of the neck and set about getting some points back as they peppered the Wattstown half with aerial bombs from number ten Loz Howley in an attempt to force their opponents back. The Wattstown back three though were up to the task in defence and the next period became a game of chess as both teams edged back and for across the rain swept field.
Then the home side dampened the mood further with a big penalty kick from their outside half to extend their lead to 10-0.
Although this was soon to change wi5 some great work by the Llantwit back row in turning over a home sides ball on the ten metre line gave Llantwit a penalty and with it the opportunity they were seeking. Howley booting the ball down the touchline. Then it was a case of securing the ball in the gale, which they just managed to do with fingertips before setting off for the line with the maul which initially was well sacked by Wattstown but Llantwit recovered it and set off again. Until number eight Rob Carter was soon given enough room to break free and scramble over. Howley adding the conversion. Halftime score though was still 10-7 to the ducks with them now having the advantage of the conditions for the second half which with light fading fast was bound to be called off early.
Llantwit had a couple of early chances in the second half but the Wattstown defence held strong as the visitors pack made several charges to the line only to be called short. The scrum though was where the game was being turned as Wattstown who had been a match for the Llantwit eight began to tire as the front row of Geraint David, Huw Williams and Dave Taylor began to leaver them back and with it some rewarding penalties. And with a line out taken close to the Wattstown line the break through finally came. Williams at hooker finding his man at the line out. The ball was smuggled down and they set off for the line once again. Wattstown though are a tough aggressive team and they held out several attempts to reach the line before the big bear in Gareth Watts saw a glimpse of the whitewash as he pirouetted of the back of a ruck to charge over and send the large travelling  support of two into raptures! The score at a knife edge at 10-14 with time now fast running out on the clock.
It was time to then batten down the hatches as Llantwit defended their slender lead for their lives and did so admirably that they even pushed Wattstown back such was their aggressive endeavour. Such was the adversity of the day there was no way they were going to surrender their lead now and held on they did to the sweet sound of the final whistle.
A good courageous performance then not just because of the travel problems and not just because of the awful conditions but more because this was a good Wattstown side who played very hard but fair in every quarter. The Llantwit pack were outstanding and have to be highly praised but Man of the Match went to full back Brad Morgan who was often a lonely and isolated and shivering last line of defence as he was bombarded with high balls in the gale by the home side; but stood firm throughout and with his accurate relief kicking helped turn the tide in Llantwit’s favour.
The Llantonians now have a break for Christmas before returning to action in a weeks time on Saturday 29th of December, and what a fixture it is which sees out the old rugby year as its derby day in the leagues. This is the fixture where the organisers place any derby opponents against each other in the league for the holiday weekend. And with our traditional opponents Cowbridge selfishly being promoted last season, our attention now turns to the wider county as Old Penarthians come to town for the Battle of the Vale! Llantwit will be keen to avenge a defeat by the Old Pens earlier this season and the visitors will no doubt want to claim the Vale of Glamorgan bragging rights and achieve the double. A crackling game then awaits the festive crowd, kick off is at 2:30pm at the Recreation Ground.
Plenty going on in the Clubhouse as well over the festive period with the club open every day including Christmas Day from 11pm to 1:30pm. Boxing Day then there is a live band ‘Juice’ playing in the night, with free admission. So come and celebrate Christmas with us, members and non members always welcome.

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