Wanderers Keith Stewart leads the team out for the final time with his family
Glamorgan Wanderers 36
“It’s nice to end up on a high” commented Team Manager Darren Joy. “A fitting end for Keith’s career” added Director of rugby Billy James after the Wanderers had recorded only their second league win since November to round off the season.
On a bright evening at the memorial ground the Wanderers were first out of the blocks. At the first scrum Mike Grimes set up an attacking ruck, Mark O’Leary drove into the heart of the Bridgend defence and Gareth knight was denied the opening score by a double movement on the visitor line. As the game settled both sides showed their intent to set their backs free and the game flowed from end to end. After 12 minutes the Ravens registered the first score after the home side were penalised at a scrum and Gareth David kicked the opening penalty. The Wanderers were straight back on the offensive and before long they were on the scoreboard. After a lineout on the visitors 22 the ball was moved left and right. And as the defence became stretched Lloyd Williams seized his chance to dart through from the base of a ruck to score under the posts. James Thomas converted. The Ravens immediately took play back to the home side. Their backs looked dangerous with ball in hand but the Wanderers defence held firm. After 26 minutes Lloyd Williams broke again but as the Wanderers tried to offload in the tackle ex Wanderer Geoff Hobbs stole in with an interception. Bridgend broke downfield and after some interplay between forwards and backs they crashed over to regain the lead. David converted and the visitors lead 7-10. Back came the home side and after another attack involving several phases a Bridgend offside allowed Thomas to level the scores 10-10. As the half entered its final phase some poor kicking out of hand and some even poorer tackling by the Wanderers allowed Bridgend to gain the lead again with their second converted try. Their lead was extended in injury time when an offence at a ruck allowed David to kick his second penalty and the visitors went into the break with a healthy 10-20 lead.
The Wanderers coaches made a couple of changes at the break which changed the course of the game. Alex Luff replaced Gareth Knight and Mark Roper came on at outside half. The home side were straight on the attack. After a break involving backs and forwards the Wanderers took play up to the Bridgend line. Roper moved the ball wide and Alex Luff slipped a scoring pass to Mike Grimes who crashed over in the corner. Thomas converted and the Wanderers were back in the game. The home side then grabbed the advantage 2 minutes later. A break from Lloyd Williams started by Mike Grimes took play to the Ravens 22 and replacement Luff was on hand to charge over to give the Wanderers the lead 22-20. The home side had their tails up and with the momentum behind them they put the Ravens under pressure. The Wanderers scrum was becoming dominant and the visitors defence became more desperate. They were forced into giving away a series of kickable penalties and the referee finally handed out a yellow card to leave the visitors with 14 men for the remaining 10 minutes of the game. Rhys Jones stepped up and converted three of the kicks to extend the lead to 31-20. As the game entered injury time once again the Wanderers scrum disrupted Bridgend ball. Mike Grimes pounced on the loose ball and despite the attention of several defenders he crashed over to seal a fine end of season victory.
Author: Alyn Humphreys