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01 October 2019 / Club News

First XV notch up a big win at Tonyrefail

The Blood and Blacks made the relatively short trip to Tonyrefail in the league and won in some style racking up nine tries in a 7-61 win. This was the proverbial game of two halves as the match was a tight affair right up to the break despite a 7-21 halftime scoreline.

The game kicked off in the forecasted monsoon conditions and it was the home side that settled into the game the quickest as a rampaging pack with several heavy runners soon had Llantwit back peddling and despite some last ditch tackling briefly stemming the flow it was Tonyrefail who raced into the lead from a driving maul for a well taken and converted try.
And it was the same again for most of the first quarter as a determined home side battered the Llantwit fifteen but the defensive line held strong as they were pulled from side to side with the back row particular putting in a big shift of tackles. Then cruelly for the home side against the run of play Llantwit scored from their own twenty two. The move starting when fullback Josh Austin seizing a loose kick spotted a gap in the follow up runners and weaved his way up the touchline, combining well with his sibling centre Jack as they raced up field with some lovely interchanging of passes which was finished by supporting wing Joel Thomas, who just had enough gas left to out sprint the cover defence. Outside-half Howley adding the conversion to bring the scores level.
The next period saw a bit of an arm wrestle in the centre of the pitch as both packs competed for territory and it was the Llantwit eight who were then starting to turn the screw particularly in the scrum where they had the home side in all sorts of problems. And when ever Llantwit were awarded any gains the half backs normally from a subsequent driving line out were always eager to get the midfield runners into the game. The tactic soon rewarded as some possession just inside their own half was taken up the centre and and then drifted right with some good three-quarter running, when just as the move was coming to an end by a spirited home defensive; the loose forwards were on hand to link with the backs to keep the ball alive moving play back in field and some desperate tackling wasn’t enough to stop number eight Stuart Edbrooke to race clear for another converted try.
Just before the half time whistle Josh Austin crossed one again to mark a fine first half for the full back who was a scourge to the home side with his attacking intent from any loose play dished up to him. 
It was bizarrely the half time break which broke the game as a competitive encounter, Llantwit expecting Tonyrefail to come hammering back at them in the second half such was their parity in most phases of the game so far. But they soon learnt that quietly Llantwit’s dominant scrum had been taken its toll on the home side and were informed by the match official at half time that due to having now used all their front row replacements they would have to start the second half with un-contested scrums and therefore play-out the rest of the game with only fourteen players.
Llantwit responded by scoring straight from the restart as they seized on a loose kick in their opponents twenty two and after a few surges by the loose forwards it was left to prop Dave ‘The Rock’ Taylor to drive over from less than a metre out. And of course in fine prop tradition that metre would grow and grow during the post match debriefing!
The writing was now on the wall for the home side with a 7-28 lead and outnumbered it was inevitable that Llantwit were going to run everything from here on in. But Tonyrefail are a proud and strong bunch and to their credit they battled back into the game for long periods but with the extra advantage any loose ball was quickly seized upon by the visitors. None more so than by centre Rhys Balmont who crossed twice in succession the first as he read a defensive kick from behind the try line perfectly in first charging it down and then reacting first to pounce on the loose ball. The second was a lovely example of quick feet leaving his defenders floundering as he raced through from twenty metres out.
And by now Tonyrefail were out on their feet trying desperately to defend all quarters. A driving maul from a line out allowed hooker Huw Williams to cross for the eighth try before replacement wing Evan Holloway crossed late on for the ninth try and send the very wet but now very happy Llantwit supporters home.
Man of the Match was scrum half Ryan Evans who was at the centre of all the Llantwit action. Further mention going to fullback Josh Austin and young Connor Treadgold who stepped up from the youth side with a solid performance in the second row. And last mention going to outside half Loz Howley who had a fine game especially with the boot converting eight out of the nine tries most from distance, we won’t mention the sitter he missed though!
This was a good win then for the Llantonians and yet again because they know that plenty of teams will visit Tonyrefail this season and not pick up any points so some well earned points in the bag. And there wasn’t much back slapping going on during the post match as the team realise it’s a long season still ahead and they face a formidable foe in their very next game as they welcome this week  Wattstown to the Recreation Ground. You always know what you get with this team from the Rhondda,  hard, uncompromising rugby, there having been some right battles between the two over last few seasons, kick off is at 2:30pm.

A.H.

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