Risca RFC | 1st Team 8 - 21 Pontypool United RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
20 January 2019 / Team News

Risca 8 - Pontypool Utd 21

Match report by Clive James

The game against visitors Pontypool Utd.had the added incentive of Risca closing the gap or the visitors completing the double after winning 35pts.-28 in October and consolidating themselves in fourth position.

Risca changes from last week saw Ben Pesci coming in at full back and Brandon Kent replacing Taylor Barnes on the left wing.Evan Ash was brought in on the bench.

The first ten minutes saw both sides swapping penalties.Firstly Biddy landed a long range effort to open the scoring and then the visitors full back levelled things up when he slotted his kick after Risca were caught offside.The following fifteen minutes saw the visitors dominating and on twenty minutes they extended their lead.Strong running and carrying from no.8 Donovan and loose head Nash opened up the space for left wing Ryan Jones to brush away the attempted tackle and go over in the corner for a converted try.Then moments later another penalty was conceded on the 22 and Gwatkin made no mistake with the kick.

It took Risca thirty five minutes to have their first meaningful attack and gain a foothold in the visitors 22.Pontypool Utd were penalised at the breakdown but Biddy pulled his penalty attempt wide of the righthand upright.

The first half ended with the visitors leading 3-13pts.

From the restart Risca were lucky not to go further behind when a clearance kick was fielded on halfway by the impressive no.8 Donovan who having evaded a weak attempt at a tackle ran strongly into the 22.His decision making at the crucial time when a simple pass to his left would have resulted in a certain try chose to look to go through the last defender who made the tackle and the ball was eventually cleared upfield.

The relief was shortlived because back came the visitors and another penalty was converted by Gwatkin to extend the lead.

The home eight were beginning to dominate at the scrum and when Utd,were penalised for standing up Biddy found touch deep inside the visitors 22.From the lineout the pack drove over the goalline and 2nd.row Geraint Roberts touched down for an onconverted try.

The initiative was then given back to Utd.when tryscorer Roberts was shown a yellow card for blocking.Mills kicked to touch and after a series of phases on the Risca line no.6 Mason forced his way over in the righthand corner. for an unconverted try.

In the remaining period left of the game Risca were chasing a converted score to get within seven points.With five minutes left Pontypool Utd.had to withstand wave after wave of pressure as the forwards made every effort to get that score.Utd.defended and eventually won turnover to move out of the danger zone.The chance had gone and the final whistle sounded.

Very few times this season have Risca been starved of possession as they were today.The Utd. backrow were more aggressive at the breakdown and the ball carrying of Donovan and Nash kept the home defense busy.The Risca backs were living off scraps and didn't threaten all afternoon even though they were dominant at scrum time.Needless penalties were conceded which resulted either in three points or losing territory.Against Brecon next saturdaya big improvement is needed if we are to compete with the table toppers.

The plusses that came out of today was the performance of the front row that started and the replacements who came on.Wing Taylor Dimmick was immense all afternoon, each time he had the ball he was making ground and he's come a long way in one season.He was my Man of the Match.

Next Saturday Risca visit Brecon.k.o.2.30.


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