Wanderers crash out of Mallett Cup
“In some respects a classic cup tie. Not a great amount of high quality rugby but the side with more desire and belief won on the day” Commented Manager Mark Gould.
“4 different outside halves in the same game is surely an indicator that things weren’t going our way” added Chairman of Rugby Tony Murphy. “If the ref had given the try at the death It wouldn’t have been fair on Cowbridge who deserved the victory.”
On a grey afternoon with a strong wind in their faces the visitors were certainly out of the blocks quickly, putting the Wanderers under pressure. Both sides struggled to bring quality to their play but the desire of the Cowbridge side was clear to see. The home side were forced into an early change at outside half (the first of many!) when Amir Saleh was forced off with a hamstring injury, Josh Atkinson taking his place and the visitors did have first chance to register a score but a penalty shot went wide. The deadlock was broken after a quarter of the game when the new 50-20 rule came into force. A well-placed kick from the visitors gave them a lineout deep in the Wanderers 22 and after moving the ball well they created an overlap to score in the corner 0-5. The Wanderers were galvanised into action and after several close quarter drives in the Cowbridge 22 a penalty gave stand in kicker Cameron Gibbon a chance to reduce the arrears 3-5. The home side then had their best spell of the game with a period of possession and territory, but the visitors defence was solid and they kept the Wanderers at bay. The home side declined a shot at goal for a lineout deep in the 22 but once again the Cowbridge defence was up to the task. Eventually the resistance was broken. A move in midfield saw Gibbon break the line and after moving the ball on Dan Watts went close with a drive and he popped the ball to debutant CJ Davies who crashed over. Gibbon converted 10-5. The game then ebbed and flowed up to half time with both sides seeing kicks charged down and some scrappy play. Atkinson, on as a sub was the next outside half to go down as more reshuffling was required by the Wanderers backs. Just before the break a penalty for the visitors reduced the arrears to 10-8 at half time.
Cowbridge now had the elements in their favour and the Wanderers now had Jamie Murray acting as outside half. The Wanderers started to empty their bench in an effort to alter the course of the game and after a decent spell of pressure a second Gibbon penalty extended the lead to 13-8. The visitors also started to ring the changes. With the strong wind on their backs the visitors were able to clear their territory with ease and they started a period of pressure of their own. With the elements deteriorating the game became a classic cup tie with skill levels low and the ball in the air at every opportunity. The lead always looked shaky for the home side and it was no surprise when a penalty made it 13-11 with the game in the balance. The home side never looked confident enough to defend the lead and despite the scrum now being dominant the Wanderers faithful started biting their nails. Cowbridge mounted attack after attack and it was no surprise that a penalty, well kicked in deteriorating conditions, put Cowbridge ahead with the game heading into its final minutes. With time running out the visitors tried to run down the clock with a series of close quarter drives but the ref penalised them for sealing off a ruck and the Wanderers had one final shot at the victory. A lineout provided the chance and when Gibbon fed Josh Male a score was on. Male raced for the line only to be hauled down inches from the line. The referee deemed it to be held up and that was the last action of the game for the jubilant Cowbridge team and supporters. Final score 13-14.
Try: CJ Davies
Con: Cameron Gibbon
Pens: Cameron Gibbon (2)
Management MOM: Cameron Gibbon
Massiv MOM: Rob Weston
Pics on Flickr: https://flic.kr/ps/c7gzd