“With a pack whose ages in total just about reach Gareth Culls it’s so good to see them have reward for all the effort that they have put in” commented head coach Matthew Bolton “You cannot single one of them out, you cannot praise the youngsters enough”
“A win gives you momentum. If we can carry it on into next week who knows what might happen” added manager Luke Burton.
On a cloudy cold afternoon at the Memorial ground there was an early penalty for the visitors after returning full back Loren Quick was late tackled in midfield. Llanharan kicked deep into the home 22 but resolute defence, a sign of the recent Wanderers play, kept them at bay. The home side cleared but soon afterwards Llanharan took the lead. A speculative kick ahead behind the home side defence seemed to panic the defenders and Tom Pascoe was on hand to score in the corner 0-5. From the kick off the Wanderers hit back. Moving the ball out wide Mike Stephens broke clear and nearly put Mike Smith over only to see him held up over the line. From the resulting scrum the visitors were caught offside and Ianto Griffiths slotted over the penalty 3-5. Kick offs seemed to be a problem for both sides and from the visitors restart they recovered possession and went on the attack again. Despite desperate defence the Wanderers ran out of cover and Morgan Williams crossed for Llanharan’s second unconverted try 3-10. Griffiths had a chance to reduce the arrears soon afterwards but his kick went just wide. The game was warming up with both sides showing willingness to run the ball when opportunity arose but then the home side suffered a double blow. Gareth Cull and Mike Smith were forced off with injury and a reshuffle was needed as Luke O’Brien ended up on the wing and Josh Hurley filled in at centre with Mike Stephens. Despite that the young Wanderers forwards showed that they had plenty of passion with Will Higgins and Henry Williams proving more than worthy. After a series of drives and a break by Stephens again, Higgins was up in support to crash over and with Griffiths adding the 2 points the Wanderers were back level. As the half grew to a close the Wanderers showed a willingness to drive at close quarters and they reaped the reward with Griffiths landing his second penalty just before the break to put the home side in at half time 13-10.
The second half began with a bang as Ryan Davies stormed up-field from the kick off only for a poor kick to waste the position. Llanharan hit back and Ryan Evans levelled things up with his first penalty of the afternoon 13-13. Not long afterwards the visitors took the lead again. Ambitious running from deep by the home side went wrong and a simple penalty allowed Evans to put the visitors ahead 13-16. The game was flowing from end to end as it entered its final quarter and a spell of excellent attacking put the Wanderers back in front. Firstly good driving by the pack resulted in Llanharan having to kill a ruck and Griffiths landed another penalty 16-16 and then, from the kick off, Stephens and Josh Hurley attacked from deep. When the ball was recycled quickly the visitors were caught offside and Griffiths stepped up to put the home side ahead 19-16. Without a win for so long the Wanderers faithful started to chew their nails to the quick as they dreamed of victory but Llanharan started to pile on the pressure. The Wanderers defence held firm and the decisive moment came when Ed Doe, now playing at centre, intercepted a pass and ran 65 metres to score under the posts. Griffiths converted to put the home side ahead 26-16. All looked at their watches but because of the long injury to Gareth Cull earlier there was still plenty of time in the game. Llanharan stormed back and with 5 minutes on the clock Rhys Walker crossed to put them right back in it 26-21. What little hair some of the Wanderer’s wrinkly section had went grey as the team hung on. Once again the young element in the side stood up to be counted and the game ended when Dave Ellis broke away from the Wanderers 22 and the home side were able to put the ball out of play to record a much needed and deserved win 26-21.