Wanderers begin 2019 with bonus point win
Gilfach Goch 19
“More than happy to come away from Gilfach with a bonus point win” commented Martyn Fowler “at times the rugby they played was far better than their league position would suggest”.
“Big shout out for Luc Williamson. First game of senior club rugby and an excellent performance against a side who are more than capable at the scrum. He has a bright future” added Lee Highgate.
On a grey, cold afternoon in Gilfach the game could not have started better for the visitors. From a scrum just outside the home side 22 the ball went into midfield and a neat inside pass from Luke Fish put Cameron Gibbon through a hole in the defence and he cantered away for the first score. Fish converted 0-7. Gilfach started to get into their stride but very soon they found themselves further behind. A cross kick from Fish was regathered by the Wanderers at a ruck and when the ball was recycled Dan Apsee put Will Adams Jones away. Despite the attention of several defenders he powered through the tackles to cross under the posts. Fish converted 0-14. The pressure was all with the Wanderers and the slope and it took some desperate defence to prevent further scores but Gilfach were resilient and a penalty against the visitors for not releasing inside the Gilfach 22 nearly produced a wonderful try for the home side. Quickly taking the tap they broke away from the 22 and raced upfield. Quickly going through the phases, they moved the ball wide and were only just denied a try by some last ditched defence. The move inspired Gilfach and soon afterwards they registered a try. From a lineout drive they moved the ball well and after a few phases the Wanderers defence ran out of tacklers and Gilfach crashed over in the corner 5-14. Back came the Wanderers and the game ebbed and flowed both ways with Gilfach giving as good as they got in a far more even game than the league positions would suggest. The visitors edged further ahead with their third try when Josh Sheehan stole opposition ball at the lineout. The ball went into midfield and Phil Pariyo went clear on the right wing. As the defenders raced across, he passed inside to James Loxton who stepped clear of the defence and crossed for the third try. Fish converted 5-21. The game continued to be littered with penalties at rucks for not releasing, breaking up the continuity of both sides and the Wanderers were guilty of creating chances but not completing them as poor handling and decision making let them down. As the half entered its final minutes the Wanderers finally put some phases together and furnished their bonus point try. With Rob Weston and Dylan Lawley both carrying well the visitors made inroads into the Gilfach defence. Fish then neatly chipped over the onrushing defence and Gibbon was on hand to gather the ball and crash over. Fish pushed the conversion just wide and the sides went into the break at 5-26.
The Wanderers were forced into a change at half time with the ageing bones of Lee Highgate replacing Michael Owen. At this point the play was predominately in the Gilfach half but as per the previous half clear cut chances were hard to furnish. After an attack that nearly resulted in a try a difference of opinion on when to take down your Christmas decorations saw Gibbon yellow carded and this appeared to spur on the home side. They started to rally and show once again that with ball in hand they could be a real handful. Fish did edge the Wanderers further ahead with a penalty but the dominance was definitely over. The visitors sent for the cavalry, there followed a period of pressure from the home side. Having regained their 15 players on the field the Wanderers were soon back to 14 as Josh Sheehan saw yellow and Gilfach took full advantage. From a driving scrum deep in the visitors territory they broke away to register their second try. This was converted 12-29. The game entered its final quarter and both sides, as legs tired, had their chances. The Wanderers went close with Highgate and Dan Schwartz nearly forcing their way over but dogged home side defence prevented further scores. Highgate was also in action in defence jackaling well when the Wanderers were under severe pressure. The scoring was rounded off when Gilfach scored their third try of the afternoon after another series of phases taking play from deep to the Wanderers line to make the final score 19-29.
Tries: Cameron Gibbon (2) , James Loxton, Will Adams Jones
Cons: Luke Fish (3)
Pen: Luke Fish
Massiv man of the match: Rob Weston