Wanderers bow out of cup
Match Report – Virtual Cup Round 3
St Clears 54
The Wanderers bowed out of the cup yesterday after a cracking high scoring encounter in West Wales. The Covid emergency made travel a little difficult so the 52 seater bus held 5 players, 1 coach and the team manager (normal away trip then???? Said Aldo Lyons) and the rest of the squad travelled separately by car, pony and push bike (Antony Cox). The Wanderers MASSIV were able to call on Army and Naval friends who provided a parachute drop into St Clears only to see Taff land in Whitland (sadly the last we’ll see of her). The players were all provided with essential travel letters from the South Wales Constabulary (friends in high places) so an exciting encounter was on the cards.
On arrival changing proved a little difficult with social distancing allowing only two players in at a time and the Martyn Fowler pre match talk was held via mobile phone so that everyone could hear. Once again Army connections were good as Duracell had forgotten his phone but Darren Gibbon is well versed in flag semaphore and he was able to pass messages on to the winger who was in isolation out wide (again normal Saturday – Aldo Lyons). With the bright sunny, but windy conditions, bound to play a part the toss was going to be crucial and Aaron Fowler called wrongly allowing the home side first use of the wind and more importantly with social distancing, the ball!
The game was refereed by a top WRU official from the comfort of his lounge and by remote TV (those of you may have seen the PDV TV darts recently) which meant he relied on a certain honesty from the players as to any offences. With social distances meaning no player was allowed within 2 metres of another player scrums and lineouts were replaced by tap penalties (hopefully for us forwards not a sign of things to come!).
Luke Fish got the game under way and the home side were rocked back from the off when a home side forward gathered the ball and ran straight into a Wanderers player who was observing the distancing rules. This resulted in him being removed by the local constabulary and fined £60 for breaking the Covid rules. The Wanderers therefore had first use of the ball and having realised that the opposition could not tackle them and making easy progress to the line Duracell seemed to be cantering in only for him to be called back when Marc Adams Jones, running the line remotely from his Vale of Glamorgan mansion deemed him in touch!. (It was later found out that he was actually watching a re-run of a 1980’s classic Wanderers game on Youtube and therefore could not have seen his son go into touch!). With the ball back in their possession and settling into their stride St Clears started to rack up the points. Their first try was scored out wide making the conversion in the conditions impossible 5-0. It was then pointed out to the St Clears players by their astute head coach that they should try and get round under the posts as the Wanderers could not tackle them! The game was then set fair as the home side rattled in the tries and they finished the half 54-0 in the lead.
The Wanderers retreated to a wide open field to observe the social distancing and think through their approach to the scoreline and confidence was still high as the home side kicked off the second half. The Championship side were quickly into their stride (except for an aquatic number 10 who doesn’t do anything quickly these days). A series of well worked tries resulted and they started to close the gap on the scoreboard (which was also being controlled remotely by a St Clears committee man). The crowd of 4 (one each side and one at each end) were totally enthralled as the game would certainly be heading for a Wanderers win (eight converted tries =56) but a rather controversial call with the score at 54-42 changed everything The official (who may have dozed off in his armchair at this point) awarded the 7th try for the Wanderers but deemed the grounding to have occurred out wide (possibly because the darkness of the light and the fact PP who scored it can’t be seen in the dark (sorry PP). The conversion by replacement kicker Rob Weston was sent wide. The referee, whose wife was calling him in for his supper and realising his guide dog needed a walk, blew up for full time!
A deserved win for St Clears 54-47. Those of you who were paying any intention to this will realise that score is incorrect (ref Mallett Cup Vs Rumney 2 seasons ago) but in fact after the final whistle the Wanderers were deducted a point for playing Sam Warburton under a pseudonym (Josh Navidi). How the manager ever though they’d get away with that nobody knows. Sam is much taller!
Final score 54-46 – Good luck to St Clears in Round 4.