A Bridge Too Far 14/12/2014

With 4 wins in our last 5 games since the ‘Battle of Llandaff’ back in October the Sunday Casuals were looking ambitiously at new horizons. The squad, having left the Honey Pot Hoops of St.Joe’s in a sticky mess last week they licked their lips for more and with a gap in our diary we made ambitious plans; a drop behind enemy lines deep into the Gwent and Momouthshire district and the blustery outpost of Caldicot. It was the furthest we’d gone. It took detailed planning during the week. We sneaked passed the sleeping Roman guard of Caerleon, the Newport High School Old Boys and slipped through the Gwent Police speed traps and collectively dropped on the deserted home patch. It was like we’d surprised the locals and as if to play along with our WWII analogy out they popped in panic from their aircraft hanger shaped clubhouse one by one, scrambled into their black kit the Swans of Caldicot were ready to do battle.

A sodden surface meant we were allowed on the 1st XV pitch and we kicked off with the advantage of a bitter and strong wind blowing in from the nearby Severn Bridge. Caldicot had bulk but at first seemed no match for our cultured 15 man game. Suhaib and Morgan matched their physicality and when Ben Hembury broke down the right his clever and unselfish inside pass to Wing Ben Evans allowed his namesake to score his first try since the now legendary tour match with Pembroke last Spring. At 5 nil up all looked promising but opportunities were lost. Chris, today at Centre cut a gaping hole in the Caldicot line only to inexplicably stop to beat one more defender when his pace would surely have taken him under the posts. A chance gone begging and when the impressive Morgan, skipper and pack leader for the day, charged on he was pulled up inches short when all bookies had stopped taking bets on another score. Joey, dominating at Openside once more spilt ball on the line and only Harri Lewis’ lack of raw pace stopped him on the left wing.

Turning around 5-0 up was little reward for such dominance. We’d sprayed bullets around in a liberal, carefree fashion  but it was as if we’d punched ourselves out. Never before had we dominated a half so much to only lead by 5. It was a costly profligacy. Caldicot had commendably soaked up the pressure and now with the wind in their sails they dominated the second half like we had the first. The price for an injured Harry Owen at Prop who was unable to start, an ill Hooker Logan who had had to leave the field and now a wounded talisman Dylan Bignell was ultimately a bill we could not pay. Caldicot started to dominate the set piece and their strong forwards re-cycled cleverly to maximise their superiority with 1, then 2, then a third try on the far left hand side. We might have thought we’d played the better 15 man game but our hosts showed us how a pack can dominate and control a second half; we were suffocated out of the contest.

Caldicot U13’s 15 – 5 Llandaff North U13’s

Tries:- B.Evans

Man of the Match:- M.Strinati

We’d made great new friends in the Gwent district and they made us very welcome; promising to come west later in the year for a re-match, but for now our chances wasted had cost us dear. The Severn Bridge close by; well, it proved ‘A Bridge Too Far’ today.

Tom Jameson

U13 manager

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