CLWB RYGBI CAERDYDD 24
“Glad to be through but we nearly left Pontcanna with our tails between our legs” commented coach Lee Highgate after the Wanderers scraped through to the next round of the plate.
On a grey afternoon in the city centre the Wanderers had a dream start. After receiving the kick off Luke Fish moved the ball wide and fullback Rob Evans put Phillip Pariyo in space. As has happened so often this season Pariyo needs no second invitation and he evaded the defence and raced away to score, Fish converted 0-7. The home side settled down and started to string some phases together. Behind their strong scrum which certainly had the visitors in trouble they put pressure on the Wanderers but the Division one side’s defence was solid. Looking dangerous when the opportunity arose the visitors went further ahead on their next visit to the home side 22. A driving lineout nearly got over the line but when halted the ball was moved into midfield and James Loxton cruised through the defence to score. Fish converted again and at 0-14 the Wanderers looked to be on their way. The home side had other ideas and with plenty of possession they looked more and more dangerous. A series of penalties gave them good field position and after some good offloading they were soon on the scoreboard with a converted try of their own 7-14. Confidence in the home side started to grow and when the Wanderers went down to 14 for 10 minutes, as Fish saw yellow, they levelled the scores. A defensive kick was charged down and it was the home side that gathered the ball and crossed for their second try 14-14. The balance of power had certainly changed and with the numerical advantage and some poor Wanderers handling it was Clwb Rygbi who looked more dangerous. When another attack broke down the home side kicked deep and after a good kick chase they gained a scrum 5 metres out. Inevitably with their scrum on top they drove the Wanderers back and the referee went under the posts for a penalty try 21-14 and the Wanderers were staring into the face of a defeat as the sides went into the half time break.
The Wanderers coaches called for the cavalry at half time with the introduction of their bench all in one go. This did little at first to alter things and the home side edged further ahead with a penalty to make it 24-14 but the score did galvanise the visitors into some positive action. Attacking from deep Aaron Fowler set up an attack and once again space was found for Pariyo who finished in style to put the Wanderers back in the game at 24-19. The game ebbed and flowed with the Wanderers being forced into defending against a well-coached and structured home side. On the flip side the visitors seemed at sixes and sevens with how they were intending to play as they failed to bring any continuity to the game. Fortunately, they still had some weapons to utilise and after a penalty was awarded on halfway they kicked deep with the wind. Everyone knew what was coming and the visitors executed their driving maul from the lineout well and as a try was inevitable the maul was stopped illegally and the referee went under the posts for the second penalty try of the game 24-26. With the Wanderers faithful giving a collective sigh of relief the game entered its final quarter. The home side threw everything at the visitors but the defence found its composure once again and with the scrum now holding its own the Wanderers were able to hold out. Both sides had further chances but when the final whistle came they was a huge sense of relief from the Wanderers as they saw themselves into the next round despite the better side on the day being the opposition! Final score 24-26.
Tries: Phillip Pariyo (2), James Loxton, Penalty try
Cons: Luke Fish (2)
Massiv man of the match: Aaron Fowler