Wanderers squeeze through to Mallett Cup semi after hard fought win
“We’d hoped to withdraw some of our first team regulars early and not use others but such was the quality of the Rhiwbina squad we were forced into doing everything we could just to secure the win.” Commented Martyn Fowler.
With the recent rain the pitch was heavy but both sides served up a real feast of rugby trying their best to play at every opportunity. The Wanderers were first out of the blocks. Steve Drummond claimed a Loxton up and under and the forwards carried the ball deep into the Rhiwbina 22. The Squirrels defended well but when they tried to run from deep they were caught and the home side were awarded a penalty. Luke Fish’s attempt went wide but from the drop out the Wanderers took the lead. The counterattack went wide and with an injection of pace from Rob Evans the defence was severed. He dummied and raced over for the opening score. Fish converted 7-0. The lead was short lived and Rhiwbina showed that they were more than capable. Gathering the ball in a ruck they broke clear as the Wanderers fanned out. A few passes later and they levelled the score with a converted try 7-7. The game ebbed and flowed back and forth with both sides going through the phases and testing the mettle of the defenders. The home side were having the better of the set pieces with ex Rhiwbina prop Andrew Deabreu to the fore but the Wanderers could not keep their shape after several phases and the attacks were comfortably dealt with by the Squirrels. Fish did extend the lead with a penalty making it 10-7 but despite the majority of the possession the home side could not break clear. Rhiwbina started to really find their feet and after a move involving forwards and backs they forced the Wanderers into conceding a penalty which they duly accepted to level the scores again 10-10. Back and forth the game went with both sides defying the heavy ground but the killer move was not forthcoming. The home side nearly took the lead again when Phil Pariyo seemed to in for a try only to be hauled back for a forward pass and the impasse continued and both sides were locked at 10-10 at half time.
The mud was making player identification a little difficult but it was Rhiwbina who came out of the break the stronger. Continuing to move the ball well despite the conditions they put the Wanderers defence under extreme pressure and the home side had to be at their best to keep the Squirrels at bay. After 10 minutes of the half both sides started to send for the cavalry with the Wanderers introducing several seasoned first team players into fray. A solid scrum provided the Wanderers with a chance and when the attack was illegally foiled Jake Beetham, on as a sub, landed a 30 metre penalty to put the Wanderers ahead 13-10. The game then settled into a long period when Rhiwbina had all the possession and the home side came under more and more pressure. Phase after phase stretched the defence but the visitors could not find the killer move. They did have a penalty but the shot slipped wide and the Wanderers remained ahead. Time started to ebb away and the visitors tried desperately to find the winning score only to be denied at every turn. The play was camped in Wanderers territory with little respite and very few attacking opportunities for the home side. The game entered injury time with the game still in the balance. A rare attack from the home side was thwarted with the visitors being awarded a scrum near their own line. Showing great enterprise they ran from deep and the Wanderers were once again stretched. A kick sent the defence backwards but Evans and Adams Jones were able to get back to clear to touch. The Squirrels tried to take a quick through but the ball didn’t travel 5 metres and the home side gained a scrum with time ebbing away. A Beetham kick turned the defence and Pariyo chased well catching the defence. The ball was held and the Wanderers were awarded a penalty. A quick tap was taken and as the defenders raced back Cameron Gibbon crashed over for the final score and last move of the game. Final score 18-10.
Tries: Rob Evans, Cameron Gibbon
Cons: Luke Fish
Pens: Luke Fish, Jake Beetham
Wanderers Management man of the match: Dan Watts
Massiv man of the match: Ryan Matthew