Bargoed too strong but young Wanderers deserve credit
“Success can be measured in many ways. Look at the scoreboard and you see a big loss against a very good side but look at the faces of the players and the effort that they put in and you could not be prouder of this group. To come to Bargoed, a Premiership side, with no front row cover, 17 players and not take a backward step at scrum time or in any other aspect of the game and you leave with a really good feeling” commented head coach Martyn Fowler.
“Asking the two young props Gareth and Luc to start for the first time this season and give us 80 minutes with no chance of respite was a big ask but they stepped up. They have a bright future” added manager John Lyons.
On a bright cold afternoon in Bargoed the die for the game was set from the off with the home side dominating possession and the Wanderers on the back foot. The visitor’s eagerness to get off the defensive line resulted in early offside penalties and the home side elected for 5-meter lineouts instead of shots at goal. Bargoed applied the power but despite the Wanderers concerns about their scrum it held firm and it was the visitor’s lineout that faltered. On fifteen minutes having withstood the onslaught a lineout outside the Wanderers 22 was lost and the home side struck. Recycling the ball well they created space in midfield and crossed for the first try of the game 7-0. The Wanderers responded with a decent spell of play. Realising that they had to give the ball some width Josh Male and Cameron Gibbon made inroads into the home side defence and took play into the home side 22 but Bargoed controlled the attacks and soon regained possession to go back on the attack. Showing why they are challenging Pontypool at the top of the division Bargoed moved the ball well and extended their lead with a second converted try 14-0. The Wanderers were struggling to get decent possession when the chances arose with their lineout under pressure and just before half time Bargoed extended their lead. A penalty in midfield was quickly taken and the visitors defence was flat footed as the quick thinking Bargoed backs raced away to score their third try 21-0. In the dying minutes of the half the Wanderers “Massiv” did have something to cheer when a penalty on the home side 22 allowed Luke Fish, at last showing glimpses of what he’s capable of, to step up and land a penalty to send the sides into the changing rooms at 21-3.
Wanderers kicked off the half but were straight back on defensive duties as an outside break scythed through the defence. The defence was working to its limit but they kept Bargoed at bay and cleared their lines after being awarded a penalty. For the first time good off the top ball allowed the Wanderers to attack and James Loxton, once again playing at scrum half, broke downfield only to see the attack peter out on the opposition 22. The Wanderers were certainly not going to go down without a fight and they once again had a good spell. Cameron Gibbon broke clear and when Bargoed prevented the ball being recycled a penalty gave the visitors good field position. Going through the phases the Wanderers, for the first time, stretched the home side defence and Ryan Matthew popped up in a wide channel to take a pass and gallop over for a try, 21-8. Both sides started to ring the changes as Bargoed brought on lots of giant fresh legs whilst the Wanderers emptied their bench (both of them!) resulting in Mike Owen having to move to centre from the back row as Gibbon was injured. Normal service for the day was resumed as the home side piled on the pressure once again. The Wanderers legs became heavier and heavier as they tried to withstand the attacks but credit to the togetherness of this group they kept trying. Further tries followed comfortably gaining the Bargoed winning bonus point and then extending the lead to 35-8 with the fifth try. The game entered its final minutes and a rare visit to the home side 22 even saw the two young props carrying the ball despite the shift they had put in. Bargoed had one final attack and from a Wanderers defensive scrum they stole the ball and finished off the win with their 6th try. Final score 42-8.
Try: Ryan Matthew
Pen: Luke Fish
Massiv man of the match: Reid, Fowler, Williamson
Management Man of the match: The front row
Special Mention: James Loxton