Wanderers bow out of cup
Cardiff 34 Wanderers 16
“Playing Cardiff with a full side is hard enough but to play for 20 minutes with a man down is asking a lot” said a disappointed coach Chris Ower.
“We fell foul of some odd refereeing decisions but in the second half when we realised that they were only human we showed what we could do” added manager Gavin Walker.
On a cold afternoon at the Arms Park the Premiership side were straight out of the blocks. Going through the phases they put the Wanderers under pressure. From a lineout in Wanderers territory the home side forwards carried well and when the visitors infringed at a ruck an easy penalty gave Cardiff the lead. The Wanderers were not to be overawed though. Carrying and driving well they put the home side line under pressure and Gareth Cull levelled the score after 15 minutes. Back came the home side as they had the majority of possession and territory. The Wanderers were reduced to occasional forays deep into the Cardiff half but the home side could not break the deadlock. A Wanderers attack following some good support play set up a chance but a cross kick from Cull was well fielded by the home side defence. When the Wanderers pressured, a penalty to Cardiff allowed them to clear and the referee issued a warning to both sides about penalty offences. The Premiership side took play down field and when Owen Marshall offended at a ruck Dan Richards was sent to the bin for 10 minutes! Cardiff immediately made the visitors pay. Kicking into the corner the home side forward used their man advantage to crash over to regain the lead 8-3. The Wanderers responded well despite the loss of Richards. Taking the play to the home side they set up an attack on the home side 22. The ball was recycled but a professional foul and offside killed the attack. It seemed that both sides would be down to 14 men after the general warning but the referee deemed it ok to leave Cardiff at full strength. Cull did land the penalty and after 30 minutes the score was 8-6. From the kick off Cardiff extended the lead. When a poor kick out of defence was gathered, a counter attack left the Wanderers wide open and the home side crashed over in the corner 13-6. Once again the visitors responded well and when Dan Lovell had a chance to attack, he scythed his way through the defence. When he was pulled down he unfortunately reacted to the attention his head was getting on the floor and the referee deemed his reaction worth another yellow card. For a brief spell the Wanderers were down to 13 men. Once again Cardiff took advantage and they rounded off the scoring at the end of the half with a converted try to make it 20-6 at the break.
The second half began with the Wanderers having to make a change at full back with Mike Stephens being replaced by Tom Daly. Cardiff began well with ex Wanderers Captain Dan Crimmins to the fore. It was not long before they extended the lead. After some poor defensive tackling out wide their third try gave them a 27-6 lead. Both sides started to ring the changes and the game started to open up. Daly started to find some space and the Wanderers took the game to the home side but little success followed. From a scrum in the Wanderers 22 Cardiff finally made the game safe when Crimmins picked up and forced his way over for a converted try 36-6. Unfortunately for Dan he reacted to some attention on the floor and he was also sent to the bin for 10 minutes. The Wanderers saw a chance and they took it. Getting pressure on the home side from the kick off, they at last stretched the Cardiff defence. From a clearance kick Daly counterattacked and with good support Rhys Griffiths was set clear. Despite the attention of the Cardiff defence Griffiths had the pace to crash over for the score. 34-11. The visitors began to find real belief and the last 10 minutes were all Wanderers. The crowd were brought to its feet when loose ball was seized upon by Wanderers captain Mel Lewis. The prop appeared to have nowhere to go but a turn of speed and some delicate footwork set him off down the wing for a 35 metre gallop to the corner for the final score of the game. The Wanderers are out of the cup but they left theArms Park with their heads held high.
See pictures at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/12570451@N04/