Rhiwbina RFC | 1st Team 3 - 0 Llanelli Wanderers RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
08 December 2018 / Team News

Squirrels through to last 16 of Plate

I’m tempted to ignore everything that happened before the 78th minute when Lewis Pearce slotted over a superb winning penalty kick, followed by some seven minutes of additional time and six nail-biting Rhiwbina scrums before James Griffiths finally kicked the ball into the wetlands and the ref blew for time!  But that would be to ignore a tremendous effort from both teams, and especially from the Squirrels in the opening 20 minutes of the second half, when they dominated the game and should have scored at least one try.

Anyway, Rhiwbina kicked off with a strong wind behind them and there was an early run from young right wing Kris Roberts. Olly was also rampant and he went on to have a great game, ably supported by the whole pack with captain Jamie DeAbreu leading by example and Kris Bowden having another dominant game both in the set piece and in defence, especially in the closing quarter when he pulled off some bone-crunching tackles to keep the Wanderers out in the bottom corner.

There were far too many errors in the first half and Rhiwbina did have a chance to go ahead, but Lewis’s penalty kick faded just left of the posts. There were also some notable clearance kicks from James Moscardini and Lewis Pearce, but just as the Squirrels looked to have made the key breakthrough, the ball was lost.  So it was 0-0 at the break, with the Wanderers contributing to an interesting and tight game.

Rhiwbina won the ball from the restart and then dominated possession for the next 20 minutes.  James Griffiths made the first of several strong runs from around the breakdown.  Another break from Sean Monaghan and a chip from Lewis saw the Squirrels finally into the scoreboard corner – just as well as the scoreboard operator was losing concentration having no points to put up yet!

Rhiwbina were awarded a penalty by the posts, which was taken quickly much to the consternation of the Old Grey Squirrel who had warned of such frivolity in his programme notes. How Olly didn’t score is still a mystery, even more so Jamie who was also deemed to have been held up over the line as the Wanderers defence came in from all angles. Rhiwbina continued to pound away but the Wanderers eventually found themselves in the Rhiwbina 22 and this led to some heroic and well-disciplined defence by the Squirrels, who kept the visitors out without conceding a penalty.

James Griffiths again ran out of defence and a clearance kicked trapped the Wanderers winger who was bundled into touch on the half way line.  Further Rhiwbina rumbles eventually led to a penalty against the visitors and, despite the gusty wind, Lewis superbly slotted over the kick to take the Squirrels ahead into those dramatic last minutes.  And dramatic they were as Rhiwbina again held their nerve and discipline to win six successive scrums and ultimately win the game by the narrowest of margins.

A great team performance and hard-fought game with both teams a credit to their clubs – but it’s the Squirrels who are through to the last 16 of the competition and I hope the rugby gods will smile on us and give us another home draw.

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