“Streetwise” Ystalyfera punish Wanderers
“They were just too streetwise for us” commented assistant coach Brendon Lampitt as the Wanderers succumbed to defeat at the hands of Ystalyfera.
“A great game if you were a neutral” added Manager Mark Gould “No complaints, best side won on the day, once again our inexperience shone through but we can take heart from some of the work we did.
On a very bright but bitterly cold afternoon the home side had the early momentum. Following a penalty at a scrum they exerted pressure. After phase play from a lineout, they moved the ball wide and found a huge hole in the Wanderers defence. Gladly accepting the offer, they crossed for their first try 5-0. The visitors responded well. From a lineout in Ystalyfera territory it was their turn to move the ball wide. A grubber from Cavan Slade was gathered by Jamie Murray and after shrugging off a couple of defenders he crashed over to score the Wanderers first try. Slade converted 5-7. From the kick off the home side were back on the attack probing the Wanderers defence their forwards, who showed good handling skills all afternoon, carrying well. The visitors were then penalised for hands in a ruck and Ystalyfera restored the lead with a penalty 8-7. The game flowed well with both sides showing an attacking intent with ball in hand and the feared gale proved to have minimal effect on proceedings. The home side soon extended their lead. Turnover ball on halfway set them on the attack. Space out wide was exploited with a superb run taking play deep into Wanderer’s territory and a neat cross field kick was gathered on the wing. The ball was then shipped inside to the support and the Wanderers line was crossed for the second time. The conversion was successful 15-7. The visitors responded well. Again, it was the backs who created the chance. Murray joined the line and put Tom Hughes in the clear. He was hauled down just short of the line and as the defence tried to reorganise Zak Fifield scooped up the ball and crashed over 15-12. The feast of running rugby continued despite the bitterly cold conditions. The home side forwards were once again prominent with ball in hand offloading on several occasions. The visitors defence were struggling to keep the game in check and once again after some neat handling the home side raced away to cross for their third try of the half. The conversion was good again and the lead was extended to 22-15. The remainder of the half saw the expansive play from both sides continue but despite chances on both sides there were no more scores and the sides retreated to the warmth of the changing rooms with Ystalyfera ahead by 22-15.
The second half saw the Wanderers needing to get back into the game and they were gifted a score from the outset. Having gathered the kick off a box kick from the home side was held up in the wind and Gabe Santos grabbed the ball, shook off the attention of a couple of tacklers and raced away to score the visitors second try. Slade converted 22-19. There followed a period of rugby that saw the Wanderers with all the territory but very little possession. The game was camped in the home side half but Ystalyfera maintained possession and although unable to break clear they never looked like conceding a score. Eventually normal service was resumed and a penalty extended the lead to 25-19. The Wanderers started to empty their bench in an attempt to change the course of the game but the home side pack started to really wear down the young Wanderers. With the home side scrum now dominant and the visitors seemingly unable to change the course of events Ystalyfera clamped a strangle hold on proceedings. The bonus point try followed after a series of five metre scrums were driven over making it 32-19 and the game was beyond the visitors. Despite this the young Wanderers battled to the end having the better of the final minutes of the game. Some excellent running from deep gave them good field position but even though Hughes went close and several forwards nearly crossed over, the Ystalyfera defence was in no mood to give the visitors a chance to get back in the game and they shut down every attack. The final whistle came as great relief to the crowd who were able to set off into the clubhouse to warm up after a thoroughly enjoyable and deserved victory for the home side 31-19.
Tries: Jamie Murray, Zak Fifield, Gabe Santos
Cons: Cavan Slade (2)
Management MOM: Alfie Llewellyn
Massiv MOM: Ethan Rault (using Massiv Criteria 3 section B subsection c)
Pics on Flickr https://flic.kr/ps/c7gzd