“A superb effort by the boys, especially when we went down to 13 men commented captain Nick Kelly.
On a bitterly cold afternoon at the Arms Park saw the Wanderers begin brightly. A series of forward drives brought about an infringement at a ruck and Scott Sneddon opened the scoring after 4 minutes with a penalty. Soon afterwards a poor clearance kick by the home side gave James Loxton a chance to attack. He chipped ahead and after the Cardiff defence spilled the ball an offside decision gave Sneddon a 30 metre penalty to extend the lead to 0-6. Immediately from the kick off the Blue & Blacks had a chance to reduce the arrears but the penalty kick went wide. The visitors were having the better of the play using close quarter driving to keep the defence working hard but the Wanderers could find no way through. After 15 minutes Cardiff were awarded a penalty at a scrum and the home side reduced the difference to 3-6. The Wanderers were straight back on the attack patiently going through the phases but they lacked the final pass to break down a dogged home side defence. On half an hour Cardiff broke the deadlock. A neat lineout move created space out wide and an overlap allowed the home side to cross for the first try of the afternoon. The conversion was missed but Cardiff lead 8-6. The home side were starting to get some ascendancy and they extended the lead after a penalty at a ruck was advanced 10 metres for the visitor’s indiscipline. The Wanderers came back on the attack but once again they were foiled after driving several phases. Cardiff made promising ground on the blind-side from a scrum but the visitor’s defence held firm and the sides went into the break at 11-6.
Half time Harry says “A very lively start the boys were in control however Cardiff have got into their stride and they are dominating the set piece. We need to start getting over the gain-line from 1st phase if we are to have a chance.”
Cardiff started the second half using the strong wind at their backs to pin the Wanderers back. The visitors were penalised at a ruck but the Blue & Blacks failed to extend their lead. After 9 minutes the Wanderers hit back. A neat lineout move between Ross Johnson and Gareth Knight put Johnson free. Ross sprinted the 20 metres to line despite the attention of several Cardiff defenders. Sneddon converted and the Wanderers were ahead 11-13. The game then took on a totally different complexion. The visitors found themselves 2 men down as the referee out of blue sent Ben White and Steve Cullen to the sin bin. The home side took the lead with a penalty and the Wanderers were forced into a major rear guard action. Sensibly controlling possession the visitors drove time and time again into the Cardiff defence and Scott Sneddon was on hand to drop a goal to snatch the lead back at 14-16. The penalty count was mounting against the visitors as seemingly at every ruck the referee found fault. Eventually this told and 2 more Cardiff penalties gave the lead back to the home side at 20-16. The Wanderers were not to be out done. They came back on the attack and from a lineout drive Mike Grimes crashed over after a neat blind side move to take the lead back 20-21 with 5 minutes to go. Cardiff came back on the attack driving through several phases time and time again. The visitors defence held firm but as the game went into injury time up stepped Lee Jarvis to clinch victory with a drop goal. A final penalty, and another yellow card on the whistle, gave the home side the narrowest of victories 26-21.
Author: Alyn Humphreys