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27 March 2019 / Club News

First XV blown away in first half as Treherbert prove too strong for the Blood and Blacks

The First XV took the long trip up to the head of the Rhondda Valley in good spirits on the back of a good run where they had racked up twelve tries in two games. But promotion chasing Treherbert took no time in dampening down any thoughts of an upset as they raced into a fourteen point lead straight from the off and despite a magnificent fight back by the Llantonians pulled away again in the last period for a deserved win in a highly entertaining game 28-19.

A fine spring day welcomed Llantwit to Tynewydd Park which is nestled on the slopes of the Craig Y Lyn mountain, the highest point in Glamorgan. Perhaps then Llantwit could be forgiven for their sloppy start to the game as they battled against the altitude! But then that would be a disservice to Treherbert who played some stylish heads up rugby in the first quarter picking up their first try within minutes of the kick off after some strong running and mixed with the quickness of the pass catching the visitors cold. 
Llantwit did battle back when they finally settled into the game and had plenty of possession but just couldn’t turn it into any meaningful pressure. Treherbert on the other hand made great use of their possession and were soon converting a second try as their loose forwards made good gains into the visitors 22 and when spread wide they again exposed Llantwit’s defence.
With the score already 14-0 Llantwit needed points quickly and to their credit they knuckled down and started to claw back the difference as a period of good pressure saw them awarded two penalties in outside half Laurence Howley’s kicking range which he duly slotted over.
Then came the visitors best period as scored a great team try. The build up coming from a scrum Treherbert which Llantwit nudged back and with scrum half Ryan Evans and flanker Gareth Watts putting pressure on the Treherbert eight the home side were on the back foot and cleared their lines hurriedly. The kick collected at pace by fullback Connor Morgan who slipped through a double tackle and offloaded to wing Rhys Dixon who made a great break down the tramlines before being brought down on the 22 but made a lovely pass off the ground to supporting flanker Rhys David. David keeping the move alive as he set off on a lively run infield linking well with hooker Huw Williams who then spun a lovely weighted pass to prop Dave Taylor who came charging up the middle like a rampaging rhinoceros. No doubt the wisely experienced prop taking the shortest and quickest route from the preceding scrum! The big man pulling in the crucial defenders and as the ball was recycled hooker Williams picked and go and with some lovely handling at pace combined with flanker David again to put scrum-half Evans over next to the sticks. A splendid try and a good example of a combination of hard support running with good hands which brought great applause from both sets of spectators.
With Howley converting Llantwit were well and truly back into this game at 14-13 and with the half time whistle due could go into the break well satisfied. But as Treherbert went through some phases just inside the Llantwit half captain Geraint David gave away a penalty in the tackle area. The penalty right in front of the posts but probably just outside the Treherbert kickers range. But an ill disciplined David then chose to over remonstrate his interpretation of the rules with the match official and was rightfully marched back a further ten metres; and if he wasn’t in range before, the Treherbert kicker certainly was now and welcomed the opportunity extending the home lead to 17-13 at the break.
The second half commenced with Llantwit immediately putting the home side under a barrage of pressure with some hard running and with the home side defence backtracking a penalty soon came in a good field position for Howley to sweetly strike over and return the score to a points difference.
Llantwit’s scrum which Treherbert had subdued from its normal dominance was beginning to gain some dominance and a big shove by the pack on their opponents 22 was dutifully awarded for Howley to slot over and put the visitors into the lead for the first time in the game at 17-19.
Llantwit now had their tales up and scented an upset against this strong Treherbert side and battled hard to gain some ascendency and had a great opportunity close to the try line and hammered the home defence with phase after phase after phase but just as you thought the dam must finally break, Llantwit spilled the ball.
Llantwit did have a further opportunity with a penalty a mammoth distance out which Howley with his kicking going well elected to take, and he seemed to strike it perfectly but as it dropped towards the cross bar it fell agonisingly short.
Then the tables were finally turned as Treherbert seeing their promotion aspirations slipping away upped their game once more and a period of pressure saw then awarded a penalty of their own which they missed giving the Llantwit supporters a hope that they may just nick the game. But this was soon dashed as just as Llantwit had defended well to combat another Treherbert attack they gave away a penalty for not releasing. Treherbert this time not wasting the opportunity to regain the lead.
And it was Treherbert who had the last hurrah as a late driving maul gave their lively scrum half an opportunity to put the game to bed with a nice sniping run into the corner and that was that.
The home side then mightily relieved that they had survived the comeback and deservedly now look forward to pushing on with their hunt for promotion. Llantwit on the other hand were left to travel quietly backdown the Rhondda Valley pondering not for the first time this season why they can’t gain that extra edge to beat the top teams in the league.
From a neutrals point of view this was a great game of rugby though with both teams attacking each other at every opportunity, helped in no small part by a top refereeing display by the match official and a great advert for the community game.
Man of the Match for the second game running was Gareth Watts who had a big game at blind side flanker in his line defence coupled with hard running in attack. Further mention going to his fellow flanker open side Rhys David who has stepped up admirably in the unenviable task of filling the void left by injured player/coach Stuart Edbrooke. Plus Jack Austin and fullback Connor Morgan who had strong games at centre and fullback.
This week we welcome our side back home as they take on both Llandaff North and Llandaff from the capital city over consecutive weekends, kick offs at 2:30pm. The second game against Llandaff will be the last home game of the season on Saturday the 6th of April and will be our first community day as we host our Blood & Blacks Family Fun Day with food, drink, stalls and funfair attractions for all the family to enjoy starting from 12pm.

AH

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