WANDERERS EARN THEIR STRIPES
Bonus point win keeps Wanderers in touch with leaders.
On a bright but cold afternoon at the Memorial Ground 2 of the top sides in the division battled it out on a heavy pitch. It was clear from the off that there was to be 2 different styles on show with Treorchy keen to pick the tempo of the game up and move the ball wide at every opportunity and the Wanderers looking for a more structured game on the back of their big pack of forwards. From the off the visitors moved the ball back and forth but unlike the first game of the season they found progress difficult against a much stronger Wanderers back line. From the first scrum of the game the home side put the pressure on and after some close quarter driving by the Wanderers forwards they gained a foothold deep in Zebra territory. Again, the home side kept it tight electing to drive the lineout to keep the pressure on. The Treorchy defence was solid but after another drive Rob Lewis broke away and he had the power to force his way over despite the attention of several tacklers 5-0. Treorchy settled into their game and started to put together the phases and they forced the Wanderers backwards. Continuing to pick up the tempo they piled on the pressure forcing several penalties against the home side. From one of those penalties, an offence at a lineout, they reduced the arrears to 5-3. The game ebbed and flowed despite the heavy conditions and the Wanderers continued to look for set piece opportunities from which to score. They extended their lead from a move that started with a scrum deep in the visitor’s territory. Moving the ball wide this time they were halted short of the line but after a couple of close quarter drives sucked in the defence the ball went out wide left and Cameron Gibbon found plenty of space to canter in the for the second score 10-3. As the half moved into its last quarter the Zebras gained the ascendancy. Moving the ball well and varying their attack with some tight driving and some more expansive play they made life difficult for the home side. The Wanderers defence were stretched to the limit, but they managed to restrict the Zebras to a penalty on the stroke of half time and the home side were relieved to hear the whistle and the sides went into the break at 10-6.
The Home side made two front row changes at the break to provide fresh impetus up front, but the visitors began the brighter. The Wanderers found themselves down to 14 for 10 minutes after a series of penalties saw Kristian Smith go to the bin but before the Zebras had a chance to exploit the advantage they to saw yellow after an offence at a ruck. It was clear that the next score was crucial and it came from the home side. From a ruck near halfway they shovelled the ball out to Phillip Pariyo and there seemed little danger. He had other ideas and with some quick feet and forceful running he burst through the defence. Needing no incentive to stretch his legs he raced clear and despite the attention of plenty of defenders he forced his way over under the posts. Fish converted to put some daylight between the sides at 17-6. The home side certainly had their tails up and with Fish keeping the ball in front of his pack Treorchy started to chase the game. The home side were back to full strength and the pressure continued. The scrum started to really gain the ascendancy and a quickly taken penalty from a scrum offence resulted in Treorchy going down to 13, very briefly, as they saw yellow again. With an easy three points on offer some thought it odd that the kick was declined but the scrum in the middle of the field provided the bonus point try. As the visitor’s scrum was forced to stay bound to prevent the drive Rhodri Cole saw the space blind and he sliced through the defence to score. Fish converted again and it looked like the game was done at 24-6. Treorchy were not league winners last season without being built on solid foundations and they responded well. They were determined to fight to the death and once again the Wanderers came under massive pressure. The defence of the home side became more and more desperate as the Zebras pounded the line. As time started to run out a comeback became unlikely, but they fought and fought and were rewarded with a neatly worked try to reduce the arrears to 24-13. That was the extend of the revival despite all their valiant efforts and eventually the Wanderers were able to shut down a last attack to claim the bonus point win. Final score 24-13
Tries: Rob Lewis, Cameron Gibbon, Phillip Pariyo, Rhodri Cole
Con: Luke Fish (2)
Massiv man of the match: Rob Weston