By Daniel Thomas
The first home game of the season welcomed Abercwmboi RFC to Hailey Park. A new kit was unveiled and the team looked more familiar than that which took to the field last weekend. Abercwmboi had a convincing win against Pentyrch last week and the North were desperate to make amends and get the season up and running.
The match was a superb spectacle and testament to the level and commitment to grassroots rugby. The lead changed hands on several occasions throughout the game and it was fiercely competitive to the very end. Abercwmboi eventually ran out winners by a single point, kicking the final penalty with the last kick of the game directly in front of the posts. A bitter pill for the North to swallow as we outscored the visitors three tries to zero.
The North’s defence was vastly improved from that which played last week. The commitment and enthusiasm shown by the players was evident right from the start of the game. Each and every player put their bodies on the line and there were some big collisions left out on the field. None least than that from the North’s winger Sam Cartwright. Despite having a solid defence our ill discipline let us down on this occasion; whether it was being slightly offside or using hands in the ruck, we need to use our heads and let the opposition have the ball and set our line again when our defence is looking so strong.
When we did have the ball we looked dangerous. The forwards ran hard yards close to the rucks and were making good ground. Strong runs from the usual suspects Dominic Scoble and skipper Lewys Jones were supported by the rest of the pack, each making their own impact when charging up the field. Unfortunately on one of the occasions lock Kel Ross landed awkwardly and dislocated his shoulder, hopefully he will not be ruled out for too long. The backs looked dangerous too when they received the ball. Dafydd Williams had a strong game at nine, giving the ball wide when it was on whilst occasionally sniping to keep the defence honest.
The first try of the game and the only one in the first half came to the North’s centre Joseph O’Sullivan. A line out around the twenty two meter line came clean off the top. There were strong lines and ‘heavy’ decoy runners out wide when Joseph spotted a slight dog leg to ghost through and canter to the line. Owain Thomas found himself standing out in the thirteen channel and as the ball started to come out wide most of the defenders seem to gravitate towards him (or it may have been because Danny Thomas was also waiting to pounce on the outside) which left the gap for Sully to nip over.
The second try came from a scrum five meters out. The scrum had been a bit of a lottery during the day with Abercwmboi seeming to have the upper hand. On this occasion however the North were able to utilise it when it counted. A solid platform was created for Lewys Jones to pick up and power over from short range. Once again showing his prowess from short range.
The final try of the game was an exceptionally well worked score. Again coming from a solid scrum the North’s backline were able to execute a strike move from first phase ball. A neat little slight of hand in the midfield saw the ball given to the elusive Mike Curtis in the wide channel with plenty of space. With Sam outside him and covering defenders running towards them Mike put in a chip ahead and was able to dot it down over the line as he won the foot race between them. Mike had a strong game when he came off the bench slotting into full back after Rob Sweetman battled through the game, suffering a dead leg in the opening minutes.
A great effort from all of the lads involved and it was just unfortunate that we didn’t get the result on this occasion. A good crowd came to support and the boys appreciate your time and efforts when getting behind us. It was also pleasing to see our Athletic have a strong game and for us to field two strong squads. Keep up the good work everbody!
Team: James Walters, Max Cartwright, Josh Archer, Kel Ross, Eliot Gould, Dominic Scoble, Owain Thomas, Lewys Jones, Dafydd Williams, Rob Sweetman, Joseph O’Sullivan, Daniel Thomas, John-Rhys Davies, Sam Cartwright, Jordan Gibbs, Gareth Harrison, Kieran Scoble, Mike Curtis.
More photos available at the club’s Facebook page