By Daniel Thomas
Today’s fixture was going to be the last home fixture for Llandaff North before the Christmas and the New Year break. It was another opportunity to get our season going and obtain our first win at Hailey Park this term. Again the Autumn internationals meant that several key players were unavailable and the boys that came in had another opportunity to impress. Treherbert RFC have had a similar start to the season as us, winning just two of their games up to this point. They arrived with a bare 15 and unfortunately had to go passive from the start; a position we have found ourselves in previously this season.
The North came out of the blocks well and played some really impressive rugby from the off. They kept hold of the ball well and built pressure by going through the phases. Spaces started to appear in the open but unfortunately the chances were missed, often due to a lack of accuracy. Skipper Daniel Thomas making most of the errors to this point; he threw a number of passes to the ground when there was a clear and obvious overlap or opportunity. The fact that we were not clinical meant that the boys started to get a little frustrated and lose a little bit of discipline. This allowed Treherbert into the game and score a couple of penalties in the first half.
Eventually the pressure told and the North were able to get their first score of the game. We were able to go through a number of phases deep inside the opposition half without coughing up the ball. Players offered themselves readily as runners and it was prop, Gareth Harrison, who used his formidable size to crash over from close range. All the good work however was undone when we conceded a very soft try no more than 5 minutes later. Treherbert threw the ball from side to side and their centre ghosted through the middle without anybody putting a hand on him. It was again Daniel Thomas who probably should have made the tackle…
Poor discipline saw the away team take their score up to 16 for the half. If it wasn’t for Kieran Scoble’s individual brilliance the half time score line would not have looked promising. From one of the resulting restarts Kieran was able to jump highest and gather the ball cleanly. He then broke through a number of challenges and made a break towards the try line. He was eventually caught and snagged but he superbly offloaded to Cameron Sayer who ran a fantastic support line to cross over for his first try of the season. We went into half time 16-15 behind after kicking one penalty ourselves.
The second half was a very different story to the first. The North came out of the blocks well again but this time they did not allow Treherbert back into the game. Within the first five minutes of the restart the North managed to keep hold of the ball again to build pressure. Peter Sixsmith took the ball on from first receiver just outside the twenty two meter line and ran in for his first try of the season. As he collected the ball he looked to hit it up and gain some momentum for the team, however he managed to bump the tackler and sprint away from him and the covering defenders as he cantered towards the posts.
With three tries already scored and the North starting to control the game the focus turned towards scoring a forth and gaining the bonus point victory. The uncontested scrums allowed for a great attacking platform for the backs whilst the line out also worked well during the contest to provide suitable attacking ball. From one of the scrums the backs ran a superb move (where Daniel Thomas was completely missed out) that gave winger Rory Pugh enough space and time to gallop across the whitewash for the illustrious bonus point score, another scoring his first try of the season.
Another two players managed to score their first try of the season as well. Youth player Josh Edwards and Richard Ham both scampered on loose balls to get themselves on the score sheet. Josh benefited after a loose kick was returned by Dom Bryan up the left hand wing. Dom beat the first defender for pace and tried to grubber the ball ahead. From there the ball ricocheted off a number of players before falling loose over the line. Josh was quickest to react and dived on the ball for the score.
The final score of the game came from another kick not being dealt with by the visitors. A well weighted kick from fly half Tom Jones found grass in the far corner as Richard Ham chased hard to apply pressure. The full back was unable to gather the ball clearly and eventually Rooney collected the loose ball and dotted it over the line without much challenge.
As the game started to run away from the visiting Treherbert a few of the players became visibly frustrated. Unfortunately one player was not able to control himself and hit out at our fly half as he unsighted and off the ball. The incident unfortunately marred the game from which Treherbert battled admirably in the circumstances they found themselves in.
Another point worthy of a mention was the return of Joshua Gibbs from his travels. He turned up to the pitch around half time coming straight from Heathrow, he was able to surprise his family members with his appearance. He came on during the second half and showed a great deal of control and leadership within the forwards and did very well in his circumstances too.
Well done to all of the lads who turned up and put in a shift in, starting to develop some real strength in depth now! Keep up the hard work! Huge appreciation for all those who came to support us too!