Rhiwbina RFC | 1st Team 31 - 20 Mountain Ash RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
25 January 2020 / Team News

Superb second half secures valuable win for the Squirrels

Squirrels score three second half tries


Things remained close at half time thanks to the tenacious Rhiwbina defence, and this set the scene for a tremendous second half with the Squirrels scoring three tries and securing a valuable win at a gloomy and damp Caedelyn.

I have to say, as if this job isn’t hard enough as it is, it comes to something when players’ mothers pressurise you into saying something nice about their sons in the match report! I’m not going to mention who they were but there may be some clues as to their identity later in the report.

Whilst the first half was dominated by defence and the second for attack and keeping possession, the whole game was characterised by a tremendous team ethic and commitment which sent the Rhiwbina faithful away with smiles on their faces. The evergreen Dave Gilbert had a man of the match performance at scrum half, keeping the Squirrels in the match with four first half penalties and never putting a foot wrong, supported closely by a solid shift from Chris Williams.  James Griffiths at full back never seemed in trouble and he made some telling runs out of defence, one of which set up the second Rhiwbina try. It was good to see Josh Davies back at fly-half and he had a steadying effect, especially in the second half (his Mum said so!).  Ben Thomas capped another fine performance with a try, before he was sent to the naughty step with ten minutes left.  Sean Monaghan grasped his opportunity well and the second row pairing of Kris Bowden and Jack Corney were very solid, with Jack playing his first full 80 minutes (his Mum was well chuffed!).

Anyway, back to the game.  Rhiwbina had very little of the ball in the first half and were rarely able to go through any phases, as the Old Firm dominated possession. However, with 35 minutes on the clock, Rhiwbina led by 3 Dave Gilbert penalties to two by Mtn Ash. The Old Firm continued their pressure on the Rhiwbina line and were rewarded with a converted try, but a fourth Dave Gilbert penalty just before half time made it 12-13 at the break.

Rhiwbina were a different team in the second half and were on the front foot straight from the kick-off. Rhiwbina at last got themselves in the red zone in the fire station corner with a neat penalty kick by Josh Davies.  From the line out, the forwards kept the ball tight, then quick hands saw Ben Thomas cross for the corner try to give Rhiwbina a 17-13 lead. Two interventions by James Griffiths led to Rhiwbina’s second try, together with a neat chip to the corner by Josh. James ran strongly down the blind side and passed to Tom Slocombe who crashed through defenders to score a superb try, and Dave Gilbert converted to make it 24-13.  Rhiwbina now had the best of the scrums, and it was good to see captain Jamie Deabreu back on the field and making an instant impression.

Mount then got themselves into the Rhiwbina half for the first time since the break, but once again, tremendous defence kept them out, despite Ben Thomas getting a yellow card for a late tackle.  Rhiwbina stole the ball in the top corner and James Griffiths put in  a great kick into the fire station corner. Rhiwbina stole the line out and a succession of drives saw Kris Bowden cross for the try and Dave Gilbert converted to make it 31-13, and not even the most pessimistic of home supporters could see the Squirrels loose it from here. But they did their best to make it easier for the Old Firm as first Chris Williams and then Elliott were yellow carded.  I think Elliott was a bit unfortunate as he was accused of a no-hands tackle on a Mount forward who was twice his size and who he bounced right off! Pat Ware made good ground and the excellent James Griffiths made another run out of defence, but with Rhiwbina down to 13 men, Mount ran a quick penalty and were rewarded with a consolation try before the ref finally blew for time somewhere out in the gathering gloom.

Next Home Match – we play Barry at Llanishen 3G pitch at 7.15pm on Friday 31st January


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