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11 December 2018 / Club News

First XV shut out Llandaff North with 0-24 win

The First XV with an impressive second half defensive effort came away from the capital with all four points on offer as they took on Llandaff North at Hailey Park on Saturday. The park occupying a central position on the Taff Valley is named after its donor the great Victorian and Cardiff business man Claude Hailey who helped shape the future of our capital city as secretary of the prestigious Coal Exchange. A man that was director of thirty companies such was his business acumen but who was equally concerned for the welfare of employees and their well-being.

A keen sportsman he would have been pleased to witness this encounter between two old foes but would probably have been alarmed by the lack of well-being shown such was the physical nature of this feisty fixture.
Llantwit commenced the game by receiving the kick off with their backs to the River Taff and with it a very strong wind which they were clearly keen to use to their advantage as they took about attacking at every opportunity in the first period. And the bold move was quickly rewarded as some good field position allowed the tight forwards to draw in the defensive tacklers before the backs then moved the ball quickly through the hands and out to wing Alex Parry who had some room outside to evade the covering tacklers but instead neatly cut back inside and backed his own strength and speed to reach the line for a great team try. The conversion by Howley just sailing wide.
But in no time at all Llantwit were back and again a good platform this time allowed fellow wing Evan Holloway to see some space and raced over with this time Howley adding the conversion.
The third try soon followed this time a lovely backs move off the base of the scrum brought blind side wing Parry back into the action as he came inside and hit the gap flying through and on being stopped by the covering full back gave a nice off load to Stuart Edbrooke who like all good sevens was hunting in support and despite the attention of two further defenders scrambled over. Howley again converting.
Llandaff North are sitting at the bottom of the league but Llantwit in the build up to this game were cautious as some detailed observations of their results showed they have been losing games by small margins. And they were proved right as Llandaff reacted in combative style shoring up the gaps and by using their bulk in a big heavy pack they themselves started asking questions of the Llantwit defence. The blood and blacks were up to the task and the score at the break stayed at 0-19.
The second half began with Llandaff North again pressing for possession and field territory but Llantwit with centre Jack Austin organising the defence looked to work hard and soak up the pressure with an eye to counter attack when the inevitable chance unfolded.
The chance finally coming on the half way line as Howley at outside half spotting a gap behind punted over the Llandaff defensive line and when the receiver fumbled the Llantwit back row were quick to turn over possession only to see it reversed with the next phase but then such was Llantwit’s line speed they gain forced a turnover this time by prop Damion Ponting who quickly went wide and by drawing in the last defender gave a lovely timed pass to Howley who made some distance in a looping run to support and dived over in the corner.
This with the end of the points scoring but was by no means the end of the action as Llandaff now through everything they had at the visitors and for an eternity battered their defence pushing them back further and further till they were defending for what seemed an eternity on their own line.
Then captain Geraint David was shown a yellow card for being offside at the tackle area and with Llandaff now electing to run every penalty you would think the floodgates would finally open, but Llantwit stuck to their task and admirably kept the onslaught out. 
And then they were reduced to thirteen as some choice footwork by Llandaff on a prone Ryan Evans at scrum-half led to a bit of a dust up and with Evans joining the affray late with his own retaliation,  unfortunately the referee had choice but to issue him with an early shower with a red card.
So now surely the defence must buckle but they again held strong and organised and mustered enough to force a penalty and welcomed the big boot of Howley to clear their lines.
Man of the Match was Shaun Shea with further mention going to Rob Carter and Damion Ponting, all three at the core of the aggressive defence which caused the shut out.  
This was a good performance built on good game management and an excellent defensive display but it must be remembered was against a side who although played with plenty of grit and determination are languishing at the bottom of the table. 
If they are too restore some respectability to their season it will come in the next series of fixtures as they take on four really tough fixtures. First up is a daunting trip to Wattstown this Saturday and the men of the Rhondda Valley will be eager to see an revenge for their loss in the reverse fixture earlier this season. And at Wattstown Park I can assure you there will be little festive spirit on offer at least anyhow until the final whistle. 
Then after a weekend off Llantwit take on Old Penarthians (home), St Albans (away) and Canton (home). Three of the form teams in the league who are all still aspiring for promotion will be a huge test for the blood and blacks. But if they show the same effort and game management as they did against Llandaff North then they will be having a strong say in how this league forms out.
Also in action this week are the seconds, The Druids, as they take on our old adversaries Cowbridge seconds at home. Both games kick off at 2:30pm. A bus will be travelling to Wattstown leaving at 12pm with supporters welcome to travel with the team.

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