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23 September 2019 / Club News

First XV lose despite battling display at Pontyclun in the cup.

 

The Blood and Blacks took the short trip across the Vale to take on Pontyclun who are in the division above them in the National Cup and despite running them close Pontyclun showed their experience and proved too strong winning an entertaining game 26-17.
Pontyclun had last season reached the semi finals of this cup and had started their own league with two comfortable wins; so Llantwit new they were in for a tough task as they took on the The Badgers on their own patch. But Llantwit were in no way over awed by their opponents and arguably edged  the opening phases but it was soon Pontyclun who were rattling up the points as they scored two quick tries to dampen down the visitors both scored out wide with the first a good cross kick which when executed well is so difficult to defend against. The second more a case of being outnumbered in defence as the home side applied the pressure at the breakdown.
However Llantwit kept in touch with a penalty and then some good set piece work in the twenty two allowed outside half Josh Austin to show some lovely quick feet to dance over and the scoreline suddenly wasn’t so daunting at 14-10 at the break.
The second half though saw Pontyclun come out of the blocks and threw everything at Llantwit in the first period no doubt in an attempt to stamp control and dampen any thoughts of a cup upset from the visitors. With Llantwit back peddling and scrambling to defend the defensive wall was soon broken and Pontyclun once again stretched their lead to 21-10.
Once agin though the Llantonians battled back into the game and with the pack holding their own and even creaking the big Pontyclun eight in the scrum a good phase of play was rewarded when three quarter Rhys Balmont finding himself with space in the centre of the field scored a great individual try; stepping inside two defenders before racing away from the covering defence. The conversion bringing the game to a knife edge for the last quarter at 21-17. With the next score no doubt deciding the outcome Llantwit had their best period as they camped themselves in their opponents 22, but as much as they tried they just couldn’t muster up enough to finish of the good field positions and plays they worked so hard to develop. Admittedly a fine defensive display by the home side didn’t help their cause but also better execution during some crucial plays was also just to blame.
And is often the case in these tight affairs they were soon to have their spirits broken as a rare venture in the last period into the visitors half saw Pontyclun cross for the final try as they edged in the corner to send them into the next round.
Llantwit then we’re left wondering what might have been as they came so close to the proverbial cup upset. But even though it was a close game and Llantwit did battle well Pontyclun were worthy winners having led the game through out. The Blood and Blacks though can take a lot of positives out of the game, their set piece play more than matched their opponents and they showed enough of their own rugby skills were not out of place against a higher league placed outfit. Rhys Balmont who despite picking up a late yellow card still did enough in his robust tackling and open running to claim Man of the Match, further mention going to Jamie Lewis who put in a solid display at number eight.
This week there is no let up as Llantwit go back on the road in the league as they travel to Tonyrefail, who have had a very impressive start to the season, kick off at 2:30pm. Then on Sunday the clubhouse will be open from 8am as the eagerly awaited World Cup game Wales v Australia takes place, the bar will be open with tea and coffee available and half time food.

A.H.

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