MOUNTAIN ASH 11
“Conditions weren't easy and Mountain Ash are a better side than their record this season would suggest” commented Director of Rugby Martyn Fowler. “I’m happy that we showed real character when reduced to 14 men with nearly all the second half to play”
“A frustrating performance, we couldn’t really bring any continuity to our game” added head coach Mike Sheehan
On a cloudy afternoon after a lot of pre-match rain the game started scrappily for both sides. The home side saw an early penalty attempt drift wide and the Wanderers first foray into the mountain Ash 22 ended with the defence holding firm. Wanderers outside half Codey Rees had to leave the field for some Botox injections and whilst he was out of action the Wanderers took the lead. “Mountain Ash scrum, we pushed them off the ball, Crimmo picked up and passed the ball to Tom Driver who ran in a try in the corner” (commentary by Wanderers Massiv). Rees missed with the conversion out wide but the scoreboard was moving 0-5. The visitors soon extended that lead. Lloyd Chalke, restored to the side after a sabbatical in Thailand “finding himself”, broke the defence in midfield. He fed Luke fish who was hauled down just short of the line and when the ball was recycled Rees was on hand to finish the move in the corner 0-10. The Wanderers were in the ascendancy but their progress was halted when Ryan Davies saw yellow after an illegal clear out at a ruck. Despite the reduction in numbers the Wanderers continued to look dangerous. Owen Marshall set up an attack after a great mid-air take but good defence from the home side once again prevented further scores. As the half wore on the Old firm were starting to warm to their task and when awarded 2 penalties in quick succession they took the chance with a penalty to reduce the arrears to 3-10. Just before the break the Wanderers were back up to full strength but with the last play of the half the visitors tried to run a penalty on half way. Losing the ball they allowed the home side to gain field position and when awarded a penalty they claimed their second score to send the sides into the break at 6-10.
The second half began badly for the Wanderers. At a ruck around the halfway the home side were awarded a penalty. The referee reached for a yellow card for the offence and as it was Davies that he selected for punishment the yellow turned into red and the Wanderers were reduce to 14 for the rest of the game. The incident galvanised the home side and they took full opportunity. From the penalty they kicked deep and from a well organised drive they crashed over to take the lead 11-10. The visitors rang the changes of personnel and the Wanderers reduced pack started to reclaim the ascendancy. The game became a little more chaotic when the referee handed out two more yellow cards, one for each side, after two forwards disputed the merits of those celebrities left in “Strictly”. The rearrangement in the home side pack allowed the Wanderers to gain a little ascendancy and Rees edged the visitors back in front with a penalty 11-13. As the half progressed Mountain Ash fell foul of the referee on several occasions for similar offences and then they received their second yellow for a high tackle on Chalke deep in their own 22. With both sides down now to 14 men the Wanderers anchored themselves deep in the Old Firm territory as they drove at the home side line. The attacks were repelled but when the ball was released Driver eluded the cover tackles and crashed over in the corner despite the attention of several defenders 11-18. With time running out the home side threw on their subs but they could not break stranglehold of the determined Wanderers 14. Rees sealed the win with his second penalty and a relieved Wanderers left with a deserved but hard fought win 11-21.
Massive man of the match: Aaron Fowler
Tries: Tom Driver (2) , Codey Rees
Pens: Codey Rees (2)