Wanderers 2nd half efforts in vain
Wanderers 26 Cardiff Met 31
“Frustrating afternoon but we’ll lick our wounds take the positives and focus on St Peters next week” commented assistant coach Lee Highgate.
“I don’t often have sympathy for referees” commented Tony Murphy “but nearly every collision could end up in a penalty. No wonder towards the end of a game as tiredness sets in some crucial decisions may be missed”.
“The slow start left us with too much to do” added Manager Mark Gould ” We must adapt to the new tackle laws but if some loose passing had been more accurate the result may have been very different”
On a bright Sunny afternoon the students were ahead before some of the crowd had taken their places in the stand. A jackal from captain Osian Phillips was deemed unlawful and from the resulting penalty the Archers produced a well-executed catch and drive and opened their scoring with a try 0-5. It was clear from the early exchanges that penalties for high tackles under the new directive were going to prevent a flowing game (something we’ll see often as players and officials get used to the new laws). The Wanderers opened their account soon afterwards as another penalty for a high tackle allowed Jasmin Hodgkins to land a kick at goal 3-5. The penalties for poor tackling continued and another infraction from the home side meant another deep kick and another catch and drive. This one was held up but the students were able to break away close to the maul and secure their second try 3-10. A rare foray into the Met 22 saw the Wanderers go close but some over anxious attacking when the line beckoned allowed the students to defend their line. From the lineout deep in the Met 22 they then executed a neat blind side break and the wing raced away. Showing great pace he outpaced the cover to score the third try of the afternoon and with the conversion the students were comfortably ahead 3-17 with only 20 minutes gone. The Wanderers were forced into a few early changes as Gruff Tough and Harry Arundel were forced off the field and the game still suited neither side as penalties continued at a regular interval, but at least the home side started to bring their game to the party. A second penalty from Hodgkins reduced the arrears to 6-17 and following a break from sub Steff Davies the home side set up decent field position. A good Wanderers scrum, which was starting to dominate, then gave the home side a penalty which meant Hodgkins could land his third penalty making it 9-17. As the half headed towards its close the home side had a further chance to reduce the arrears but once again over eagerness allowed the defence to hold firm and the sides went into the break with the home side still in touch at 9-17.
The second half started with another decision that left some baffled. A legal below the waist tackle saw the ball carrier fall into an oncoming defender but because the tackler fell into the defender and contact was at shoulder level the tackle was deemed as high and yet another penalty ensued. The students then increased their lead. An attempted grubber through the defence by Hodgkins was blocked and the ball bounced kindly into the hands of the wing who once again raced away to score 9-24. The Wanderers were then chasing the game. On the back of the ever more dominant scrum they started to exert pressure on the visitors. After the students’ defence became more and more stretched they starting conceding regular penalties and eventually their first yellow card followed. The Wanderers camped in the opposition 22 and Morgan Williams crossed in the corner for what looked like a perfectly good try. Unfortunately, the referee decided (somewhat surprisingly to all near to the incident) that the ball was lost and he awarded a knock on instead! Despite the set back the Wanderers continued on the attack and they were rewarded when Sam Turner crossed for his first try in Wanderers colours. Hodgkins converted 16-24. Back came the Met and they probably ended any thoughts of a Wanderers win when they scored their fifth try 16-31. The game entered its final quarter and the Wanderers dominated the play. Turner crashed over for his second score 23-32 but try as they may the score that would make the last few minutes nail biting never materialised. The students saw yellow twice more in the last minutes but there was no way through for the home side. The game entered injury time and when yet another penalty was awarded to the home side captain Osian Phillips took the pragmatic approach and asked Hodgkins to gain the home side a losing bonus point. Under the pressure of the last play of the game he landed the goal and the Wanderers were left wondering what might have been as the students ran out deserved winners 26-31.
Tries: Sam Turner (2)
Cons: Jamin Hodgkins (2)
Pens: Jamin Hodgkins (4)
Massiv MOTM: Sam Turner
Management MOTM: Sam Turner