Wanderers bench makes difference in tight win
“The crowd deserve medals for sticking that one out” commented Manager John Lyons “the weather made sure neither side were able to play any expansive rugby and we’re glad to come away with the narrow win against a side that deserve to be at the top end of the table”
“The game could have gone either way” Added Martyn Fowler “I think the difference was our strength on the bench at the end of the day”
On a grey afternoon at Riverside Park with only, at this point light drizzle, the strong wind dictated play. After some aerial tennis early on the Wanderers had a chance with a penalty to take the lead but Luke Fish saw his attempt blown into deepest LLanrumney. Some early pressure from the visitors saw the forwards driving up at close quarters but the young Rumney defence held firm and repelled any inroads when deep in the 22. After a series of attacks the Wanderers were awarded another penalty in front and this time Fish judged the wind well and he opened the scoring 0-3. From the kick off the home side turned the ball over and there began a spell of pressure from the Rumney forwards. The home side had a chance to level it up after the Wanderers were caught offside but once again the wind had the final say and the ball was blown wide. Despite that the home side had their tails up and the visitors conceded a series of penalties which allowed Rumney to exert more and more pressure. The Wanderers held firm but the referee issued a warning to captain Fowler for persistent offence. The conditions worsened with stronger wind, cold and rain as both sides struggled to bring real continuity to their play. Not surprisingly the visitors went down to 14 men for 10 minutes when Michael Owen saw yellow but despite the man advantage Rumney could not find that play that would break the visitors down. The home side drove away at the Wanderers line and the visitors certainly were relieved to hear the whistle for half time and to send the teams into the break at 0-3.
The start of the second half saw the home side still in the ascendancy. Driving well from a lineout they nearly scored but the Wanderers defence once again held firm. The pressure continued and Rumney were rewarded for their efforts with a penalty that levelled up the scores at 3-3. In an attempt to change the tide the Wanderers coaches sent on the Cavalry and it probably proved the vital change that eventually saw the visitors home. After Rumney has spilled a ball deep in the visitor’s territory they were able to clear to halfway and at last get a foothold in the game. With fresh front row legs on the field the Wanderers gained a penalty and they were able to put play back in the Rumney half after what seemed a very long time. Conditions continued to dictate play but a brief spell of attacking from the Wanderers gained them a penalty for a “no arms” tackle and Callum Bricknell, on as a sub, stepped up to put the Wanderers back in front at 3-6. Rumney responded well and within minutes they were back level again after Wanderers conceded another penalty and at 6-6 it was still anybody’s game. The game struggled along in the conditions with neither side able to bring decisive play to bear. The home side went back on the attack but turnover ball allowed Bricknell to clear well and Rumney were once again forced back into their own half. A small spell of Wanderers pressure followed and when Rumney conceded a penalty on their 22 out wide everyone expected the visitors to try and set up a driving lineout. Instead Bricknell took the ball and calmly slotted over the penalty from the touchline to put the Wanderers back in front at 6-9. Back came the home side and after a penalty was marched on 10 metres for backchat they had a chance to level it up only once again to see the kick blow right across the front of the posts and the Wanderers once again cleared their lines. As the game entered its final minutes the Wanderers were able to keep play in the Rumney half. Bricknell had a penalty chance to increase the lead but his kick went nowhere in the wind. Fortunately, the old legs of Lee Highgate were charging up and his tackle caused a spilled ball and a scrum deep in Rumney territory. The Wanderers were then able to run the clock down and finally kick the ball dead to record the narrow win and allow the faithful supporters from both sides a chance to head for the bar to warm up and dry off!
Pens : Luke Fish , Callum Bricknell (2)
Management Man of the match: Dan Apsee
Massiv Man of the match: Rob Weston