Rhiwbina RFC | 1st Team 31 - 28 St Peters RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
13 March 2020 / Team News

Squirrels beat the Rocks in a high-scoring thriller

Seven tries and four Gilbey penalties in a high-scoring thriller at Llanishen 3G

It was one of the very few games to played anywhere in Europe on Friday night, and could well be the last both teams play for a long time, so it was great for the crowd to be entertained by an exciting and open game, with the usual nail-biting finish – which seems usual for both of the teams this season!

The Rocks got off to a strong start with a storming run from the kick-off, but Rhiwbina weathered the early pressure and it was Gilbey who stepped up to kick a penalty to give the Squirrels an early lead.  That was soon cancelled out when Ed Poynter replied for the Rocks, and they extended their lead with a forward drive try by Jamie Hall, converted by Poynter.  Gilbey reduced the arrears with his second penalty, but Poynter then stepped up to kick his second penalty.  In between this action there was a lot of good play from both teams but all too often the ball was lost. Rhiwbina then drew level following clean ball from a very solid scrum just inside their own half. Elliott Jones made a superb trade-mark break upfied and the ball was carried on through several pairs of hands and Chris Williams was on hand to score the try.  Gilbey converted to make the scores level at 13-13.

Liam Herdman always looked dangerous and he put in a great corner kick to place the Squirrels in an attacking position near the far corner, but the opportunity went begging.  The Rocks stormed back into the Rhiwbina 22 and from a neatly taken short lineout Dan Crimmins crossed for an unconverted try.  James Griffiths, who had another very impressive game, put in a high kick into the Rocks 22. Crimmins failed to gather and, with James looking likely to gather the ball, he tripped James and was shown a yellow card.  Gilbey kicked the penalty to make it 16-18 at the break, as the rain continued to fall.

Chris Williams made a very acrobatic charge into the Rocks half from the re-start and combined the run with a superbly executed forward-roll! The Rocks were penalised at the scrum and Gilbey again slotted over the penalty to give the Squirrels the narrowest of leads. The Rocks stormed straight back into the Rhiwbina 22 and Josh Boyce scored from another forward drive.  Matters were made worse as Jack Zilch was sent to the naughty step for chopsing and the game was restarted with a penalty from the half way line for the Rocks, but the goal attempt was missed.

Then came Rhiwbina’s best piece of play of the evening as Slogger showed a remarkable turn of speed to race into the Rocks 22.  Chris Williams and Morgan Kneath were on hand to secure the ball and swift passing saw James Griffiths cross in the corner for a well-deserved try, taking the Squirrels into another one point lead.

Then, with about 20 minutes remaining, who did we see looming out of the damp gloom, on as a replacement, but the unmistakeable silhouette of our nemesis Luke Fish! All too often in recent years Fishy has been the difference in winning and losing, so the Rhiwbina faithful feared the worse! The excellent Chris Williams made another couple of great runs along with Sean Monaghan, but sure enough, Fishy put in two giant kicks to pin Rhiwbina into their own 22.  There was some great defence by the well-drilled Rhiwbina and they became stronger in the scrums, but St Peters scored next through a Wayne Dacruz try - another familiar name to Rhiwbina supporters. This took the score to 24-28 to the Rocks with about seven minutes left on the clock. With two minutes remaining, a Liam Herdman break lead to some neat Rhiwbina handling and Olly Golden took the ball at top speed and broke through to score under the posts.  James converted to make it 31-28 to the Squirrels with very little time remaining.

However, there was still time for Fishy to put Rhiwbina under pressure, but the Rhiwbina defence held firm, and finally the Rocks knocked on and the final whistle was blown on a breathless last 20 minutes. The win, their fourth on the trot, takes Rhiwbina into fourth place in Division One East Central.

It was an excellent and entertaining game, played in good spirit, and just as well – the WRU Community Game Board meets on Saturday morning to decide what action will be taken regarding the Specsavers Leagues, with no realistic option but to suspend the season.



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