By Dave Granville
It’s a lovely Sunday morning here at Hailey Park after a night of heavy rain that has left the ground a little wet and slippery. Hopefully this won’t affect the game too much and the boys will be able to show off their rugby skills. Today’s game is a clash between two of the top local teams here in Cardiff with Llandaff North hosting Rhiwbina, a fixture that has a lot of promise to be one of the best games of the season.
Llandaff North win the toss and kick off and make a great start with some great passes from Dylan out to Lewis and on George who whips it out to Sam. Lewis has looped around and gets the ball again. He runs straight ahead gaining ground he gets tackled and the ball goes out to Ieuan who dodges 2 defenders and passes out to Tienne who is open on the wing. He accelerates away and scores a cracking try. Less than 1 minute gone and 1-0 to the North!
Rhiwbina restart but make no ground with some great tackles from Tienne keeping them in their own half. Rhiwbina keep up the pressure and break through the defensive lines, George chases and catches them with a great tackle on the try line. Rhiwbina restart and mange to get over the line for their first try.
Llandaff North starts and immediately are into the oppositions half. Tienne to Finn and back to Tienne. He passes it to Lewis who makes a great run and puts the ball back to Tienne who is right there on his shoulder, he gives it to Nathaniel who makes a great side step and passes the ball out to George who takes a crunching tackle and lays the ball back nicely. Not sure what happened then but the ref has awarded Rhiwbina a scrum, maybe a knock on.
Rhiwbina start but their attack is countered by the solid wall of the North Boys at their tackling best. George is in there with Nathaniel and they will not let Rhiwbina past them. Great defensive play and pressure is rewarded as Rhiwbina knock the ball on
North ball in the Rhiwbina danger zone…
Nathaniel side steps through and passes to Sam ‘The Steamroller’ who smashes his way through 3 or 4 Rhiwbina players as if they weren’t there. Awesome rugby. He has 2 Rhiwbina payers hanging off his legs when he passes out to George who is tackled 5 metres from the line. The North Boys smell a try and line up in the perfect attacking position. It looks as if the ball is going to go to Tienne, but what’s this? As the ball leaves Georges hands there is a black and yellow blur moving across the pitch. It intercepts the ball and before anyone can react it has taken the ball over the line and scored an outstanding try. It is only when he drops below 100mph can we see that it is Lewis! Rhiwbina are left standing. 2-1 to the North.
Rhiwbina restart but get nowhere and Llandaff North get the ball from a knock on after a great tackle by Nathaniel.
Lewis gets the ball and sets of down the right hand side of the pitch and is just caught before he can get another score on the board. The ball is knocked on and Rhiwbina get it back.
Llandaff North have fallen asleep and as Rhiwbina attack only Tienne is making any tackles! C’mon boys. Three great tackles from Tienne but one boy can’t defend the whole pitch and Rhiwbina are through for a try. Boys we need to make all those tackles count…
The North restart and they look as if they want to make amends for losing the ball. George gets the ball from Dylan and bursts through the Rhiwbina defence and is tearing towards the try line. He side steps one boy and out runs another. He is grabbed 5 metres from the line and makes a lovely pass to Lewis who is wide open for the Norths’ third try.
Just seconds left now as Rhiwbina restart.
Llandaff North are celebrating a victory a little too early though, despite some great tackles from Nathaniel Rhiwbina are through for a last minute equaliser as the ref blows his whistle for the end of the first game.
Match score Llandaff North 3 – Rhiwbina 3
Series score Llandaff North ½ – Rhiwbina ½
Rhiwbina win the toss and are sporting a whole new team of players for this game. The North have made 5 changes and this includes the first airing of the future Wales winger Rees. Whoop Whoop!
Rhiwbina attack but their efforts are parried by a solid looking North with top tackles from Tomas, Charlie, Will, Ieuan and the last one was from Rees and he forces a knock on.
The North switch on the style and play some outstanding rugby with a string of passes that brought a tear to the eye of their trainers. It was Max to Tomas to Lewis to Sam to Charlie to Rees to Max again back to Charlie to Rees to George back inside to Rees and over to Charlie who was tackled into touch. They ran 90% of the length of the pitch by simply running FORWARDS and passing when they were tackled. It was almost as if they listed to their coach. Outstanding skills.
Unfortunately now Rhiwbina have the ball and Llandaff North are caught off guard and some missed tackles allow Rhiwbina through for a giveaway try. 1-0 to Rhiwbina.
The North restart and again are working the ball along the line with ease Sam to George to Will and back to George and back to Will. 10 metres to go. Lewis get the ball and passes to Ieuan on to Charlie and back to Lewis who dives a la Shane Williams. 1-1
Rhiwbina restart but buckle under an invigorated and slightly more awake North who get the ball from a knock on.
North ball 10 metres from our line. Lewis runs forwards and is supported by Charlie who passes it to Tienne. Bang, Tienne takes a big hit but manages to get the ball out to Nathaniel who drives through the line and passes out to Reed on the wing. Rees takes a big hit and as he is spun around the ball goes forwards. Rhiwbina get the ball back and make it count with good running and support they gain that all important ground and trundle over the line for a try. 1-2 to Rhiwbina.
Just one minute to go and the North manage to keep their heads up and their legs going for one more play. Rees passes to Tienne who jinks his way through the defence and hands in on to the Steamroller Sam who gains another couple of yards. Lewis gets it again and on it goes to George, back to Sam and then back to Lewis. He gets caught half way and Charlie gets the ball Tienne is his wingman and gets the ball just inside the opposition half. Rees is there when it breaks down and he passes it to George, on to Charlie and that man Tienne is there again seconds and metres to go now! Ieuan gets the ball runs to the line and sets up Lewis for a draw clinching try. Full time and another hard fought draw.
Match score Llandaff North 2 – Rhiwbina 2
Series score Llandaff North 1 – Rhiwbina 1
Rhiwbina win the toss and Llandaff North hand them and try on a plate. At least three missed tackles from the North and we are 0-1 down with just seconds on the clock.
The North restart but look as if the gas has been turned down, 3 passes later we are way back in our own half and then the ball is knocked on and Rhiwbina get the ball in a dangerous position. Before you know it they are in for a second easy try. 2-0 down now!
Llandaff North restart and look as if they are moving form a simmer to a boil with a string of passed from George to Lewis to Nathaniel to Finn to George to Finn and then to Sam. This is more like it boys. Sam passes to George and he gives it to Lewis who get a try back for the North. 1-2.
Rhiwbina start but don’t have the ball for long as Tienne flys in and puts in the tackle of the day and forces them to knock it on.
Tomas gets the ball and shows Rhiwbina a clean pair of heals and gains some yardage before passing to Tienne it goes back to Tomas and then to Lewis. Lewis gets it to George who runs 20 meters to score a lovely try.
Rhiwbina have the ball but fail to cash in on another round of missed tackles as Nathaniel makes a great tackle and knocks Rhiwbina into touch.
The Rhiwbina coach keeps asking the ref to let him know when there is 5 minutes left and now we find out! With 5 minutes left and the score at 2-2 Rhiwbina bring on a whole new team! Clever tactics? Fresh legs against tired ones advantage?
The last half of the game is North, North, NORTH! Every Rhiwbina attack comes to nothing with barely a missed tackle. Every Llandaff North attack is text book with perfect passes and excellent support play from all the boys. The North attack with Tomas and George and Will and Max and Tomas again and Nathaniel and Tienne. It was Llandaff North at their best, they wanted the win and you could see it in their faces. Finally with one minute to go their hard work pays off Lewis is through for another try. 3-0 the North.
Just a minute to go and a lot of defending to be done. Lewis took one for the team and made a great tackle but took a kick to the head for his efforts.
Full time and a great victory for the North.
Match score Llandaff North 3 – Rhiwbina 2
Series score Llandaff North 2 – Rhiwbina 1
A well-deserved MOTM went to Tom Elias.
Well done Boys.
Match report – Dave Granville