“This loss leaves us in a real scrap at the wrong end of the table. Next week we will see if the fight and the desire really exists in this team” commented a disappointed manager Luke Burton after the defeat.
“Our execution at times was poor but take nothing away from Bonymaen their desire was greater than ours. That score against the elements was the crucial score” added coach Matthew Bolton.
“I’d like to thank the teams for playing the second half all in the one 22. It protected the pitch at the one end nicely” added Steve Charles, groundsman.
On a very cold windy afternoon at the memorial Ground it was clear from the outset that the side that made the best use of the conditions would be the victor. The Wanderers had first use of the wind. At the first scrum a penalty to the home side allowed Ianto Griffiths to give the Wanderers an early 3 point lead but the visitors responded well and using their pack effectively they mounted a wave of attacks. The home side defence was strong and despite extreme pressure they were able to clear their lines. Although the wind was strong the Wanderers squandered opportunities to keep the play in the opposition half, often trying to run out of defence when a kick may have been more appropriate. A second penalty from Griffiths did extend the lead but Bonymaen showed that with the power of their pack they could exert pressure despite the weather against them. Both sides to their credit tried to play rugby but it was evident that moving the ball wide was going to be tough and the wingers were in for a cold and lonely afternoon. With half an hour gone the score that probably decided the game came. Bonymaen declined a possible 3 points into the wind for field position and they mounted a series of drives near the home side line. The pressure was intense and from a 5 metre scrum Greg Cunniffe crashed over to reduce the arrears to 6-5. The Wanderers responded. At their most dangerous when running in loose play Ed Doe set up a break from deep. He fed Lloyd Chalke who crashed through the defence, despite the attention of several defenders, to score a try which Griffiths converted. That gave the Wanderers a 13-5 lead at the break, which to most in the ground did not look like enough of a lead.
The second half began in the worst possible way for the home side. The rain got heavier and from the kick off an offside gave Rich Cunniffe a chance to reduce the arrears 13-8. The rain turned to sleet, the mud got thicker and the Bonymaen pack got stronger. A second Cunniffe penalty narrowed the gap to 13-11 and the strangle hold that the visitors pack had on the game became tighter. Despite all the game being played in their 22 the Wanderers defence was valiant in its attempt to stem the tide (of Bonymaen drives and the sleet). Eventually something had to give and Richard Murphy crashed over to put the visitors ahead 13-16. As the ability to recognise the mud covered players became more and more difficult the home side tried in vain to break free from their own half but each time they did they were pinned back by solid forward play and some sensible kicking from the visitors. There was only one winner from this point on and with the last play of the game Cunniffe added another penalty to secure the win 13-19 and allow the frozen spectators to retreat to the warmth of the bar.
match pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/12570451@N04/