Wanderers succumb to Bargoed power
“Both sides should be commended for putting on a decent game of rugby despite the rain and heavy pitch. Both sides were rusty after the enforced layoff and clearly we were under the cosh as Bargoed are a top of the table side, but we were pleased that we didn’t fold and the second half performance showed great spirit despite the scoreline” commented manager Mark Gould.
“Lack of rugby clearly showed through today. Proud of the effort we showed especially in the second half” added Cai Milsom
“Invincibility lies in the defence, the possibility of victory in the attack” said defence coach Andrew Roberts.
After the overnight heavy rain and a considerable rain shower as the game got underway a heavy pitch greeted both sides. It was clear form the outset the that powerful Bargoed scrum would be the key to their success and from the off the Wanderers had to dig deep. Despite the conditions the visitors were happy to move the ball wide but the home side defence was up to the task. The Wanderers had to make an early change when Alfie Llewellyn was forced off with an ankle injury and soon afterwards the powerful Bargoed scrum forced a penalty try at which Gareth Reid saw yellow. 0-7. Down a man, the home side’s plight was made even more difficult when a slick move off a lineout put the winger away to score out wide making it 0-12. The game settled with the Wanderers facing a major rear-guard action. Camped almost permanently in their own half all efforts to break free were met with a solid wall of Bargoed players. On the back of several scrum penalties the visitors were able to dictate the pace and course of the game but further scores were not to be found easily as the home side defence dug deeper and deeper to slow the scoring. As the half entered its last 10 minutes some concerted driving from the Bargoed pack and some close quarter driving saw the third try scored. This was converted to make it 0-19. The dying minutes of the half saw the players testing out the top of the field 22 for the first time in the game. Unfortunately, inaccuracy at lineout let the home side down and Bargoed relieved the pressure. The half ended with a disagreement between the packs as to whether Xmas decorations should be taken down on the 6th or 7th January and the referee decided everyone should dry off in the changing rooms for 10 minutes.
The second half saw a change of shirts for the visitors and a change in the front row for the Wanderers. Clearly the Wanderers liked playing against the new Bargoed strip and they raised their game to be far more competitive. With scrum penalties still an issue the Wanderers needed to keep ball in hand and raise the pace of the game. Challenging far more at lineouts the home side defensive effort was raised and they started to play more of the game in the opposition half. A fourth try extended the lead for the visitors but at last the Bargoed defence was called into play far more often. With the Wanderers forwards carrying more and more and centres Will Trethewey and Tom Hughes working hard in attack and defence the Wanderers faithful started to find their voice. Several charges at the Bargoed line nearly produced a score but each time they were met with a solid line of defence and very few clear cut chances. The last score of the game, not surprisingly, came from a powerful Bargoed scrum a fitting end for the powerful visitors pack which had dominated the game for so long. A well-deserved win for the visitors and a welcome return to rugby for all. Final score 0-31.
Management Man of the match: Huw Thomas
Massiv Man of the Match: Max Wootton