Treorchy find Wanderers “Tough” opposition
“Players showed great character on a difficult afternoon” commented Head Coach Paul Matthews “Going down to 14 so early in the game made the job much harder and we got dragged into a bit of a dog fight”
“Treorchy were a tough nut to crack” commented manager Mark Gould “Fortunately we had a Tough in the side!”
“Wasn’t pretty but we ground out the win” added Mike Bishop who was standing in for Murph who was a little tired!
Before the game there was aa act of remembrance with both sides, supporters and a number of military veterans standing to mark Remembrance Day. The captains laid a wreath on the pitch and Emyr John played an impeccable last post to accompany the reflection.
The day was grey, cloudy but dry and on a heavy pitch it was clear from the outset that both sides would find handling hard work. The Wanderers were dealt a blow before the KO when scrum Half Steff Davies pulled up in the warmup and Chadd Davies, who ran a half marathon in the morning, had to be replaced by Matty Osborne and Asanje Mofor respectively. (rumours that Chadd was still going late into the afternoon were greatly exaggerated!). The home side began brightly. A counter by Tom Hughes set up play and a penalty conceded by the Zebras allowed Gruff Tough to step up and open the scoring 3-0. The slippery ball (that was the players excuse) meant there was a lot of stop and start but the Wanderers scrum looked powerful early on and Tough soon had the chance to extend the lead with a second penalty which he accepted 6-0. Treorchy started to find their feet and when the home side spilled the ball again they kicked deep. The Wanderers chased back and killed the ball resulting ain a penalty which was converted to half the arrears 6-3. The scrappy nature of the game continued with the Wanderers in the ascendancy but the resolute defence from the Zebras keeping them at bay. Both sides showed plenty of endeavour and spirit but as one would expect with the season starts both sides have had the quality of delivery from both teams was a little short of the mark. The half appeared to be going nowhere but just before the half hour things livened up. The Home side tried to exploit their scrum dominance but despite several penalties and scrum attempts they could not find the play required. Treorchy cleared their lines then as most were watching the ball in midfield an incident saw Tom Walsh the Wanderers number 8 sent off. Puzzled looks all round but it meant the home side had a mountain to climb for the rest of the game. The visitors continued to concede a number of penalties without sanction and Tough added his third penalty to make it 9-3. To send the sides into the break with very little between the teams.
Treorchy came out of the break the stronger and after going through some good phase play they were awarded a penalty and they reduced the arrears to 9-6. The spilling of the ball continued from both sides adding to its scrappy nature but the effort was still there from the teams. The Wanderers extended their lead again after Sam Turner found himself in open space. Like all good thoroughbred props, he showed a good set of wheels taking play deep with fellow front row forward Jacob Newman in support. Good recycling caught the visitors offside and Tough added his fourth penalty along with a spell in the bin for one of the Zebras back row 12-6. There was a little more freedom in the Wanderers play now and eventually the try deadlock was broken. Pressure was applied to the Treorchy line and after another penalty, this time taken quickly and a number of close quarter drives Osian Phillips was on hand to crash over despite the attention of several defenders. Tough added the conversion giving the home side some daylight on the scoreboard 19-6. The game started to open us as both sides started to call for fresh legs the game went back and forth showing that when passes were held there was good rugby in both teams. The penalties against both sides continued as tiredness resulted in several high tackles and from one of these the Wanderers scored again. A home side lineout was well challenged by the Treorchy forwards but the ball went loose and Finn Davies was quickest to react. He gathered the ball and raced away to score in the corner Tough added another great conversion 26-6. With time running out and the game probably beyond them the visitors rallied well they applied pressure with several phases. Having their best period of the game they mounted attack after attack forcing the Wanderers into plenty of defensive work. Eventually their persistence paid off and they crossed wide out for their first try of the game 26-11. The game entered its final minutes but the effort from both sides didn’t let up. A great carry from sub Dan Stancombe set up a play then caried on by centres Josh Male and Rayn Nunes. The ball was fed to Rob Weston who cantered away to score under the posts 31-11 Rob picks up the story of the try “I received the ball on our own 22 along with four defenders. I shrugged them aside and set off downfield. Several sidesteps later I found my self in open space 80 metres from their tryline. As everyone knows Zebras can be very quick but they didn’t account for my pace and I showed them a clean pair of heels” That was on one pint of Guinness! Not sure what the story would have been by the end of the night! Those very same Zebras still didn’t give in and they had the last say in the game when an attack and a nice chip over the top allowed them to record their second try and to end proceedings. Final score deserved win for the 14 man Wanderers 33-16.
Tries: Osian Phillips, Finn Davies, Rob Weston
Cons: Gruff Tough (3)
Pens: Gruff Tough (4)
Massiv MOTM: Rob Weston ; special Mention Finn Davies
Management MOTM: Gruff Tough : Special Mention Rob Weston
Match Pics: https://flic.kr/ps/c7gzd