08 November 2017 / Club News

Druids on the March in East District Cup

On a blustery Saturday afternoon The Druids welcomed Glamorgan Wanderers development team to the Recreation Ground in the East District Stuart Ninian cup. 

Even though the Wanderers weren’t at full strength and started the game without the full complement of players. The Druids knew a daunting task lay ahead for them such was the calibre of players they faced. And such is the way with second team rugby if the first team sneezes then the Druids catch a cold as they lost four of their regular line up to the first team through player call ups. And that was before they looked at their own player drain through injuries and commitments. But after a busy couple of days Team Manager Roger Elliott managed to cajole enough players out of retirement to field a side.
As the game commenced the Wanderers spelt out their intentions from the off in immediately running from deep and forcing Llantwit to scramble back in defence. However once this initial onslaught was revoked it was all one way traffic for the Druids as they put in phase after phase and mixed up their angles of running nicely in order to pull defenders in with Nathan Howells, Paul Gore and Mark Kensett to the fore of these charges. The Wanderers defence at first held firm but as the onslaught saw no sign of abating then the dam finally broke with captain Gore going over for a well deserved try.
With their tails now up Llantwit went straight back on the attack from the restart and some more sustained pressure and good handling saw Kensett gallop over in the corner to put them in control of the game.
Llantwit then appeared to lose concentration and let the visitors back in the game and two quick scores put the visitors right back in the game. To their credit though the Druids knuckled back down and raised their game once again with several attacks coming from all areas of the park in a great show of running rugby. The pressure soon telling on a struggling Wanders defence as Llantwit stretched their legs with big Nathan Howells crossing to put the home side back in ascendency.
With a Wanderers player now in the sin bin for a string of illegal tackles it was a chance for the Druids to let loose, Scrum half and Man of the Match Gareth Burnett sparking the attack with a break, followed by the three-quarters spinning the ball out wide for full back Sam Pickford to pick a lovely angle in joining the line and with the visitors defence now floundering good support running by Howells saw him again cross this time even throwing a dummy in the process. The break not coming soon enough for the Wanderers to regroup.
And regroup they did in fine fettle as they came out all guns firing throwing everything at the Druids, this new pumped up version combined with some sloppy defending from the home side and soon the Wanderers were well back into the game with two further tries, complemented by some fine kicking from their outside half they held a slender lead at 22-27.
But again after taking the onslaught Llantwit soon settled back into the game and some good field position kicking by Dan Powell at outside half allowed the Druids to put pressure in the visitors defence once again and in winning a turn over, hooker Rhys Ellis put himself up as first runner but on seeing the opponents outside half in defence he decide to have a go and with some dazzling footwork that even Shane Williams would have been proud of he had the defender in such a daze he left him grasping for air as Ellis raced over the whitewash.
But yet again the Druids went to sleep and following more missed tackles the hard work was neutralised as the Wanderers scored from a quick tap penalty.
So Llantwit had it all to do once again with the game moving into the final ten minutes, but a series of dominating scrums took their toll on the tiring Wanderers pack and following an excellent kick down the line by winger Callum Manning and a subsequent knock on from the  defending line out gave the home pack just the opportunity they had been craving for and a huge push over scrum from 15m out allowed captain Gore to once again score. The subsequent conversion from Powell locking the score at 34-34 with the clock ticking down to the final whistle.
With confidence high and Llantwit attacking at will the visitors then cruelly lost a prop forward to injury forcing the game to go to uncontested scrums, unfortunately for the Wanderers the first scrum coming just inside their 22. With no scrum pressure and clean ball assured scrum half Burnett found fly half Powell neatly sat in the pocket for him. Powell then with ice cool nerve slotted home a beauty of a drop goal and into the next round.
All in all a tremendous performance by the Druids in a game that could have easily got away from them but lessons learnt from an earlier defeat in the season by Tondu meant they weren't going to drop their heads and work hard for one another. A big thank you to Glamorgan Wanderers for sportingly fulfilling the fixture despite their struggles to raise a full team. 
Every player 1-16 had a good game, with the few old heads proving that youth, skill and pace are no match for age and experience. Special thanks going to the ever sprightly Les Dixon who at 54 years young, once again dusted off the boots to help out at the dying hour.
Team: J Walker, R Ellis, L Dixon, M Kensett, N Howells, M Ingram, B Jones, P Gore, G Burnett, D Powell, O Jauncy, J Elliot, W Qalobulawasaikabara, C  Manning, S Pickford, L Turner.
This week the Druids are once again at him as they take on Nantyffyllon in the league, kick off at 2:30pm.
With both the first and second team at home it will be a busy weekend at the club as they will also be hosting their November the 5th Fireworks Display on Sunday starting at 6:30pm. Entry to the ground is free to all with donations to bucket collections warmly welcomed. With the bars open, a BBQ, music and a laser show accompanying the fireworks the night should all go with a bang!


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