30 October 2017 / Club News

First XV knocked out of the cup at Abercwmboi

The First XV put up a good fight but Abercwmboi were just too good for them on the day winning this round four encounter of the National Cup competition 23-3.

This was always going to be a tough task for the Llantonians with their opponents Abercwmboi unbeaten and sitting proudly at the top of their table a league above them. Matters though were notably made worse by Llantwit having over twenty players unavailable for selection through various family and work commitments and a worryingly never-ending injury list. Such was the drain on players that it was remarkable and some achievement that the club not only managed to fulfil this fixture but also managed to put out a seconds and youth team.
So Llantwit traveled to the Cynon Valley with just nineteen players (one short of the amount allowed) and had in their line up four players who would normally been playing for the second team, three of whom you would lovingly call veterans.
As the game started the teams traded penalties before a period of stale mate in the centre of the field as both packs attempted to gain dominancy and Llantwit more than held their own with both back rowers Donovan Stoppel and Rhys Hewitt putting in big performances in both defence and attack.
But you just thought the home side had a little more edge to their play and any lapse in concentration or formation would be cruelly exposed; and this was the story behind each of Abercwmboi three tries, all of them arguably coming from Llantwit’s mistakes and all from distance.
The first coming from a missed penalty kick to touch, run back by the home defence, Llantwit were then exposed with a panicking defence and some lovely handling saw the home side cross for a fine try.
Llantwit though stuck to their task and had their own chance from the kick off as some early pressure saw Rhys Balmont manage to intercept a ball with a juggling display only to spill a subsequent offload in the tackle which surely would have been rewarded if kept to hand and recycled. 
This was the story of the game from the visitors point of view as any glimpses of gaining some points were spoilt by dropped balls or turnovers. But this is often the way when your under the cosh and Llantwit were with a scrum struggling and the home sides half backs controlling the game with huge kicks. It was no surprise then with Llantwit down to fourteen men from a yellow card, Abercwmboi crossed again, to go into the break with a comfortable lead.
The thoughts though from the team huddle was that Llantwit were not out of this game and if they could just get some territory they had enough in their arsenal to fight back. And this is how they set about the second half with a courageous and solid display but they just couldn’t get into a good position, too reap any reward for their efforts, with both Rhys Hewitt and Huw Williams going close to scoring only to be denied by some last gasp tackles. Inevitably then as the bodies tired Abercwmboi crossed again to put the tie to bed and send them through to the next round.
So back to the league then for the Llantonians as the cup run ends but they can take plenty of positives from this game, the defence was relatively sound and the game plan was assured, just beaten by a better side who just had one or two players of a higher standard who made the difference tell. Man of the Match was Tony Burrows who admirably at the age of 47 took the call to play and put in a tough shift at the coal face in the front row with a never say die attitude. Further mention going to Alex Keeton who had another solid game as he gets to grip with the positions in Union having been schooled mostly in  the thirteen format. This week Llantwit are back at home as they take on Caerau Ely at the Recreation Ground kick off at 2:30pm.
Team: C Morgan, D Liscombe, R Balmont, S Edbrooke, J Thomas, C Jones, S Godwin, G David (capt), H Williams, T Burrows, A Keeton, S Shea, R Hewitt, D Stoppel, D Farrel. Replacements J Hartley, M Young, I Jones, E Rees.
A minutes silence was held before all of Llantwit’s games on Saturday as the club sadly lost three of their former players who passed away last week, Frank Farrant, Tony Pilcher and Rhys Gould. The clubs thoughts and sympathies go to their families at this distressing time.
Frank Farrant whose funeral is on Wednesday at 2:15pm at Coychurch, Bridgend was captain of Llantwit during the 1975 & 76 season. Frank started his career with the club as a youth product and went onto play senior rugby well into his late thirties. An Ystradowen farmer he was drawn to the club after attending Llantwit old school during his childhood. A prop forward Frank was a fine exponent of the skullduggery of the front row brotherhood. In latter years his experience often showing when playing against young budding props, finishing some of their ambitions by his doggedness and prowess. His son Neil Farrant also followed his footsteps in playing youth and senior rugby and captaining the first team at hooker.
Frank after retiring later returned to the club for two spells as youth coach as well as becoming senior coach. Many, many players over the years including this writer and current player Shaun Shea were schooled by his unique teachings on and off the field. A great servant of the club and a sad loss.
An obituary for Tony Pilcher and Rhys Gould will be provided in further publications. Please see the club website or social media for further funeral arrangements.


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