“After the start we had it was always going to be a huge challenge for such a young side” commented coach Gareth Cull.
“We cannot be too hard on this group of players. They are young and learning in a very tough environment. If they stick together they will get the reward” added manager Luke Burton.
On a dry day at Glan-Yr-Afon park the visitors experienced a nightmare first 10 minutes and conceded 14 points. Tackling seemed non-existent at times as the fast running Blackwood backs and strong carrying forwards found holes the size of Cardiff Bay to pass through. The Wanderers looked shell shocked but the young side responded well. With patient phase play and some determined attacking from the forwards and backs they established a strong period of pressure in the Blackwood half. The home side defence were forced into some desperate tackling but they defended their line strongly. Ianto Griffiths reduced the arrears with 2 penalties and the Wanderers should have been even closer when Ed Doe made a wonderful break downfield only to see his try scoring pass spilled with the line at the visitor’s mercy. As the half drew to a close the tie seemed evenly poised but once again poor defence when the home side attacked from deep resulted in Blackwood’s 3rd try and sent the sides into the changing rooms at 19-6.
The sides emerged for the second half with the Wanderers knowing that they needed the first score to get back into the match. Unfortunately an early penalty followed up by another try put the match beyond reach as the home side pushed the score out to 29-6. Despite no hope of victory the visitors kept trying and when Mike Smith pounced on a loose ball he was able to race away to score a try under the posts to at least give the travelling fans something to cheer about. The young Wanderers (+ Gareth Cull on as a sub) continued to show great spirit and when Jack Sporcic crossed after a neat first phase move by the backs some even dreamed of a late victory. Sadly that was the end of the revival and the home side re-gathered their composure and with a late drop goal they sealed the deserved victory and a place in the next round of the cup.
Final score 32-18.
Pictures at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/12570451@N04/