Wanderers pride dazzled by Zebras
The Wanderers unbeaten start to the season ended as a young Treorchy side never let the home side settle and thoroughly deserved their win.
“The weeks preparation was poor and as a group of coaches and players that needs addressing” commented Martyn Fowler “that was then reflected by the performance but take nothing away from Treorchy who deserved the win and if they continue with that level of play they will surprise more top teams.”
On a cold afternoon at the Memorial ground Treorchy set their stall out early playing with a high intensity and tempo never letting the home side settle into their performance. An early penalty put the visitors ahead as the game went from end to end punctuated with a lot of penalties against both sides for breakdown infringements. The Wanderers struggled to bring any continuity to their game as the high pressure from the Treorchy youngsters thwarted any rhythm in their play. The high intensity clearly upset the home side as their set piece started to suffer with the normally safe lineout creaking and a series of knock-ons at the base of the scrum, something that happened a lot all afternoon. There was one bright interlude when James Loxton set Josh Male away only for the attack to be stalled with yet another penalty infringement at a ruck. The Zebras, despite their clear advantage took a while to create another scoring chance but after quick lineout ball in Wanderers territory they struck with a superb try out wide, converted to give them a 10 point lead. At last the Wanderers started to find their feet and when a penalty for offside was marched on 10 metres by the referee for backchat, something one or two of the visitors seemed prone to, Luke Fish reduced the arrears with a penalty 3-10. The let up was short lived when the Wanderers scrum gave away a penalty and the Zebras restored the 10 point lead with a second penalty 3-13. As the half drew to a close the home side had their best period of the game. A loose ball from an up and under was hacked through close to the Treorchy line and after a series of close quarter drives Ross Pritchard forced his way over for a try. Fish converted 10-13. Buoyed by the try the Wanderers attacked again. Wing Phil Pariyo was given a run by a long missed pass and he cut through the defence. The Zebras defence scrambled well to haul him down just short of the line and with the Wanderers forwards suffering a little white line fever they were able to force the ball into touch to secure their line. Treorchy hung on in defence in the final minutes to send the sides into the break at 10-13.
The second half began with the game bogged down between the 22s with neither side really making any progress. The game continued to be punctuated with scrums and penalties for infringements at rucks. Fish had a chance to level the scores with a penalty but his shot went just wide. The Wanderers coaches sent on some fresh legs in an attempt to change the fortunes but it was a bit of quick thinking that broke the deadlock. An up and under deep in the home side half was marked by Fish and as the visitors turned expecting a kick to touch he took a quick tap and broke free. Dan Apsee supported and Loxton was on hand to feed Male who raced away to score. Fish hit the post with the conversion but the home side were ahead 15-13. The Zebras sent for fresh front five replacements but they were reduced to 14 for 10 minutes after more backchat finally pushed the referee too far and he sent a player to the bin. Despite the advantage the home side could not make use of the man advantage as the reorganised scrum came under real pressure. A penalty advantage for offside was superbly used and a drop goal restored the Treorchy lead 15-16. With the Wanderers scrum now in disarray the visitors took full advantage another penalty edged them further ahead as they starved the Wanderers of possession. Dominating proceedings the Zebras, with their tails up, looked to kill off the game and with another well worked move they scored out wide to make the game safe at 15-26. The final minutes were taken up with the home side searching for a try to give them a losing bonus point but there was no organisation in the play and the Treorchy line remained secure to record a deserved win 15-26.
“Bad day at the office” commented Lee Highgate “but we can get back on the horse next week and I expect a positive reaction from the squad with a massive game against local rivals Rumney next up”
Tries: Ross Pritchard, Josh Male
Cons: Luke Fish
Pens: Luke Fish
Massiv man of the match: Josh Male