Gwernyfed RFC | 2nd Team 19 - 35 Risca RFC | 2nd Team

Match Report
02 February 2015 / Team News

Athletic get back to winning ways!

Match report - Richie Evans

On Saturday the Athletic traveled to Gwernyfed for a league fixture and looking to put in a better performance after last weeks horror show against Caldicot. Again as it has been for the last couple of weeks the Athletic were short of numbers with 26 players unavailable for one reason or another so with 18 players we headed off for Talgarth.

This week the captaincy was handed to Craig Thomas as captain Dan Ridley and vice captain Matthew Plews were unavailable. The Athletic winning the toss decided to play into a very strong wind and on a sticky pitch and with the weather conditions changeable it was going to be a difficult first half. The Athletic started the game with the forwards carrying well again through Ieuan Davies and Owen Pearson, but there was still lots of handling errors early on which Gwernyfed just turned the Athletic with a big boot back down field. As the Athletic were under pressure and unable to clear there lines they moved the ball wide through good passing by the back line as they tried to move the large Gwernyfed pack around, only for the move to break down, from the resulting scrum a good drive by the Athletic pack turned the ball over for Chad Bushell to put an up and under in which held up in the wind and as the Gwernyfed full back tried to get there a good chase by Craig Thomas and Jake Knapman putting him under pressure the ball was spilled and Craig Thomas reacted first and hacked the ball into the in goal area and chased to beat his opposite number to the touchdown. Conversion missed. 
Straight from the kick off the Athletic missed touch which allowed Gwernyfed to build some pressure and with there one out rugby and there driving maul going well it was a question weather the Athletic could keep them out. On 15 Minutes a penalty was kicked to touch again Gwernyfed through there big forwards carried but good defence by Tim Barnes, Josh Bateman and Chris Lanigan kept them out only for another penalty to be awarded which was taken quickly by the Gwernyfed hooker and he barged his way over. Conversion Kicked (7-5). 
From the restart the wind held up the ball and a good catch and drive forward by Gez Roberts got the Athletic on the front foot again, then good ball from the ruck sent Chris Lanigan on a barn storming run which took play up to the 22mtr line where a scrum was awarded. A solid scrum which the front five of Ieuan Davies, Owen Cooper, Matthew Jarvis, Gez Roberts and Chris Lanigan was setting the platform for Owen Pearson to pick up then good hands by Iestyn Shaw and Aled Brown put Tom Josham in the corner. Conversion missed (7-10) The Athletic were trying to keep the ball in hand into the wind, but handling errors were again an issue with the sleet and hailstones now hammering down and the wind picking up it was hard to stay on your feet as the sticky pitch had now become heavy and a slippery surface.The Athletic kept taking the game to Gwernyfed and a good carry by Owen Pearson who off loaded to james Ravenhill who beat the first man but was unable to keep his feet and the move broke down, again from a good scrum Owen Pearson carried into midfield then with Iestyn Shaw with the pick up and run before off loading to Ieuan Davies who was unable to hold onto the slippery ball. The Athletic were making mistakes in the Gwernyfed half only to be put back deep in there half everytime with one boot down field. Just before half time Gwernyfed had a penalty on the Athletic 22 they decided to go for the corner and a catch and drive where good defence held them out, only from the resulting scrum there large number 8 picked up to score. Conversion kicked (14-10)
Into injury time of the first half the Athletic tried for one more attack again good ball from the scrum and a nice break by Chad Bushell got the Athletic up to 22, Gez Roberts and Matthew Jarvis carried to get to within 5 mtrs of the line, Owen Cooper tried the pick up and go only to be held up sort then as the ball was released a penalty was given for Gwernyfed off side. Athletic took the points from the boot of Craig Thomas Half time Gwernyfed 14 Athletic 13

Within a minute of the restart the Athletic were awarded a penalty just inside the 22 again Craig Thomas kicked the points (14-16).
A good catch from Tim Barnes off the restart and a long kick by Chad Bushell and a good chase lead to a lineout on the 22, from the lineout good ball won by Tim Barnes for Chad Bushell to make a break then off loaded to prop Ieuan Davies who was brought down good quick ball from the ruck and Iestyn Shaw feed Steve Barnes down the blind side for a lovely wrap around with Owen Cooper for Steve Barnes to get the touchdown. (With Steve being introduced at half time due to an injury to Aled Brown it took him less than 10 minutes to get his try on his Risca comeback).Conversion was kicked by Craig Thomas (14-23). Now you could see the confidence in the Athletic team with handling getting better and Gwernyfed unable to stop the Athletic carriers as they went in search for a bonus point. Good lineout ball supplied by Gez Roberts and the driving maul was in motion the drive taking the Athletic from just inside the Gwernyfed half up to the 22mtr line, where it was released to prop Ieuan Davies who carried then onto Chris Lanigan who got up to a couple of meters of the line then a poor pass from the breakdown went behind Chad Bushell but good work by wing James Ravenhill who gathered up the ball to beat 2 defenders and managed to get the ball down for the bonus point. Conversion kicked by Craig Thomas. (14-30).
The Athletic seemed to switch off for the next 15 minutes and let Gwernyfed back into the game, with a couple of wrong decisions and with the forwards switching off at the scrum Gwernyfed started to get more possession, from this the Gwernyfed scrum half put up an awful kick into the air for it to hold in the wind and with 2 Athletic players looking at each other the ball landed between them for the scrum half to hack it on and then pick it up to score, conversion missed (19-30)
The last 10 minutes the Athletic lifted there play again putting Gwernyfed under pressure, a cross kick from Chad Bushell was gathered by James Ravenhill but a penalty was conceded from the breakdown when another try was sure to be on. The Athletic wasn't done yet thou a penalty was kicked into touch for the forwards to take over 20mtrs out good ball was won by Gez Roberts and the drive was in motion only to be pulled down 5mtrs short, the ball again kicked into touch, good ball this time from Tim Barnes for another drive to the line for Gez Rowlands to get the score. Conversion missed (19-35). The Athletic finished the game on the attack but was unable to add any more points.

Final Score Gwernyfed 19 Risca Athletic 35

This was a much better performance still a few two many handling errors but I think a lot of them will go down to the artic type conditions we had during the game. Gwernyfed is not an easy place to go so to come away with a bonus point win is very pleasing.

Next week the Athletic are away to Garndiffaith.

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