Wanderers dramatic late score snatches victory
Ystrad Rhondda 18
“We were second best for over an hour yesterday. Ystrad are a decent side whose luck will change but we have character and resilience in spades amongst this group and they never give up.” Commented Martyn Fowler “The fresh legs introduced to our pack made the difference when it mattered”
“We needed a spark as we were up against it for a long period of the game” Added backs coach Darren Gibbon “Young Jake Beetham’s moment of magic ignited our game and we scraped through with another win on the road”
Testament to the work Ystrad have put into their pitch the sides were greeted with a superb surface considering the weather of the previous 24 hours. The early exchanges were cagey as both sides went through the phases looking for signs of weakness. An intervention in the line from Will Adams Jones set up field position and when Ystrad offended Paul Short slotted the penalty to give the visitors a lead 0-3. From the kick off the home side picked up their game. Behind a powerful scrum they started to dominate and from a driving lineout soon afterwards they opened their account with an unconverted try 5-3. Both sides were happy to use the aerial route for attacks but it was the home side who were getting better of the exchanges. After they turned the Wanderers over in midfield they countered superbly and after some slick handling they raced away down the right wing to score their second try. The conversion was good 12-3. At this time the Wanderers were struggling to get any decent foothold in the Ystrad 22 as the home side continued to control the game. They dominated the breakdown and the Wanderers defence was stretched. A penalty shot from halfway drifted wide but soon afterwards another penalty, this time for offside, gave Ystrad another shot which was successful giving them a 15-3 lead. The Wanderers were struggling to find any continuity in their play. A rare attack involving Callun James carrying well resulted in a penalty which Short landed to reduce the arrears 15-6 but the game was still dominated by the home team. Their scrum continued to provide rich pickings and after another scrum infringement Ystrad extended the lead to 18-6. As the half drew to a close the Wanderers did have a chance with a lineout deep in Ystrad territory but good defence and poor execution allowed the home team to defend their lines and send the sides into the break at 18-6.
The second half saw the Wanderers begin brightly. Josh Sheehan had a trundle down into the bottom corner of the field and with some sensible kicking from outside half Jake Beetham the pressure, for once, was in the home side 22. The Wanderers had clearly had a talking to at half time and the renewed vigour in the attacks started to force the home side onto the backfoot. Despite being stuck in their own half Ystrad managed their defence well and the visitors struggled to find the key to unlock the defence. The home side scrum still had the edge but Ystrad could not find the play that would put the game to bed. The Wanderers attacks became more frequent but once field position had been achieved the home side scrambled well and more fine work at the breakdown allowed them to keep their line intact. The visitors sent for some fresh legs up front and then out of nothing the game changing moment arrived. Lineout ball on halfway was sent out to Beetham who stepped the defence and broke clear. He chipped the last line of tacklers and gathered the ball as he raced over for the score that got the Wanderers back in the game. Short converted 18-13. The visitors sensed a change in the game but Ystrad rallied and the game ebbed and flowed in and around the halfway line. As the game entered its final minutes the Wanderers needed one big last effort. A penalty for a tip tackle allowed Beetham to kick deep into the 22 and from the lineout Chris Budgen went on a trundle. A fortuitous bounce of a loose ball gave the Wanderers a scrum five and that set up the dramatic end to the game. The Wanderers got a nudge on in the scrum and when the Ystrad front row collapsed a penalty was awarded. Short took a quick tap and was brought down immediately giving the Wanderers another penalty and reducing the home side to 14 men for the rest of the game. A series of scrums and penalties ensued and as the clock went red Short drove off the back of a scrum and Dan Watts was on hand to force his way over for the equalising score. Short then stepped up to convert the try from out wide to break the Ystrad hearts and give the Wanderers a dramatic win. Final score 18-20.
Tries: Jake Beetham, Dan Watts
Cons: Paul Short (2)
Pens: Paul Short (2)
Wanderers Management man of the match: Callun James
Massiv man of the match: Jake Beetham