22 January 2020 / Club News

Bawden saves the day for the Blood and Blacks

Another league game and another four points in the bag for the First XV, but boy were they made, yet again, to work thoroughly hard for this 15-12 home win against Gwernyfed. The visitors have been fairly consistent all season doing well at home but struggling a bit on the road. Not surprising as coming from the foothills of the Brecon Beacons virtually every away trip is a hard toll. But when you are top of the league every opponent raises their game and with Gwernyfed being a decent enough side anyway then it was no surprise that they gave Llantwit a right battle on a rare sunshine soaked Recreation Ground.

Llantwit playing towards the clubhouse in the first half started the game well and started edging the possession early on and with some nice phases finally coming back into their game plan they were the first to cross with wing Steff Godwin going over after some nice handling across the park and a lovely try winning pass from hooker Huw Williams with a lovely example of drawing the defender in. Howley adding two pints with the conversion.
But the visitors after shaking of their bus legs were constantly asking questions of the Llantwit defence especially in the tight areas and after a long period of dominance in the Llantwit 22 they piled over for a converted try to level the score to 7-7 at the break.
Llantwit started the second half brightly as they started using Howley’s kicking game to their advantage and had the big heavy visitors pack turning and stretching. A try following soon after with wing Evan Holloway racing free to go over in the corner. The conversion though just not sitting right for Howley to add to.
As in the first half Gwernyfed soon came firing back and after a a nice build up of play they equalled Llantwit by going over in the clubhouse corner. Again the conversion kick not having quite enough in it as it sailed wide.
So as the Llantwit supporters were after the last few weeks very familiar with it was time for a nervous wait going into the last quarter to see who would push ahead. Both teams having plenty of opportunities only for stout defence from both sides and some really big hits going in right, left and centre. The deadlock finally broken when Llantwit were awarded a penalty in Howley’s kicking range and as cool as normal he slotted over to give the home side the three points difference.
Now it was time once again to play out the game and Gwernyfed gave it a mighty effort to steal the show as they pounded and pounded the Llantwit defence back to their own line, coming close on several occasions but just being held out by some great defending. Then with seconds left on the clock, and just a few metres from the line, Gwernyfed looked to have created an overlap and went to spread the ball wide only for second row Dan Bawden to read the play beautifully, intercepting the pass and galloping off down the field and into the safety of the final whistle.
Man of the Match was after Bawden’s heroics shared between the big second row and hooker Huw Williams who showed his skill levels are far beyond what you would expect from a number two.
Another close and nervy win then but a win all the same, this still wasn’t the stellar performance from Llantwit we saw in the autumn but was much improved from recent games. And was against a great battling side who no doubt will be relishing the opportunity to take on Llantwit again later this year at their home ground.
This week it gets tougher again as they take on Llandaff in the capital. Llantwit were comfortable winners in the first game earlier this season but this is now a much stronger city team than they faced then. They have changed coaches and bolstered their squad with several new signings and last week they had many eyebrows raising with a strong win away to one of the top teams in the league in Caerau Ely. Another interesting clash awaits then as Llantwit go tentatively into the second half of the season.

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