Tough start to New Year at Memorial Ground

Wanderers 16

Maesteg Quins 18

“A game that got away from us and we’ve only ourselves to blame” commented Martyn Fowler

“Failure to execute and take advantage of good field position was our downfall today” added Darren Gibbon “We need to put it behind us, learn from it and move on. This side is very young and inexperienced at this level. They will improve”

A cold and grey afternoon greeted the players for the first encounter of 2020 and it was the visitors who took advantage of the Wanderers failing to come out of the changing rooms in the first minute of the game. Forcing a scrum from the first kick off they powered forward, gaining a penalty which set up a lineout deep in Wanderers territory. From the restart they executed a drive and crashed over for the opening score 0-5. The home side showed some intent soon afterwards moving the ball wide off lineout only for poor passing to let them down when a try seemed on the cards. Back came the visitors and once again the Wanderers were forced into a period of defence having to scramble to keep the Quins at bay. It seemed that they had weathered the next assault but a penalty gave the visitors a chance and they extended their lead with a penalty 0-8.  The score seemed to finally wake up the home team. A lineout proved the opportunity. Moving the ball off the top Paul Short looped around to put James Loxton outside the defence. He raced clear and put Phil Pariyo in for a try. Short converted from out wide and the Wanderers were back in the game at 7-8. The game ebbed and flowed for a while with the Quins comfortable in possession but unable to break down the resolute Wanderers defence. Eventually that defence gained the home side a penalty which allowed them to set up another good field position. Once again, off the top ball, allowed Josh Male to come on a charge and when he was high tackled Short was able to step up and land a penalty putting the Wanderers ahead 10-8. The Quins responded. Poor kick off reception by the home side set the visitors back on the attack. Using their clear dominance at scrum time they were able to dominate field position and the Wanderers spent a long time defending successive drives. As half time loomed it was the scrum power that once again proved decisive. The attacks continued and when awarded a scrum near the Wanderers line the outcome seemed inevitable. The home side dug deep but the Quins power was too much and they drove over for their second try sending the teams into the break at 10-15.

The Wanderers began the half in brighter fashion than they did the first. Getting the game on the move they built a little pressure on the visitors. A couple of penalties gave them good field position and with the Quins defence a little stretched they started to concede more penalties. The Quins coaches started to ring the changes but another penalty allowed Short to reduce the arrears with his second penalty 13-15. Eddie Drake replaced young Nathan Evans in the Wanderers front row and the balance of the game was tilting in the home side favour. Another offside offence allowed Short to put the Wanderers ahead 16-15 but once again poor kick off reception allowed Quins to re-establish some dominance in possession. Both sides continued to ring the changes and with their scrum still on top, although not as dominant, they forced their way back up field and after another long period of defence they gained a penalty which put them back in front 16-18. From the kick off it was the visitors turn to mess up and the Wanderers had a scrum deep in the visitors 22. Unfortunately, poor execution, kicking the ball away in the opposition 22 allowed the Quins to clear their lines. As the game entered its final quarter the game was in the balance but the home side continued to struggle to bring continuity to their play and didn’t really threaten the visitors’ line. As time ran out there was a final chance for the Wanderers but once again having moved downfield a loose pass allowed the Quins to regain possession. From this point the visitors used their power game to retain possession with a series of close quarter drives in and around halfway allowing the clock to run down. Eventually the referee indicated last play and the visitors cleared to touch to record a deserved win. Final score 16-18.

Wanderers scorers:

Try: Phil Pariyo

Con: Paul Short

Pen: Paul Short (3)

Massiv man of the match:  Tom Penry Ellis

Management Man of the match: Tom Penry Ellis

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