Unfortunately Cowbridge were unable to field a full strength team during the first week back after the six nations break. They did not have enough cover for the front row so had to go passive from the start, the rules for this stated that they were unable to have any subs if this was the case.
It was evident from the very beginning that the North were going to be too strong for the visiting team. The powerful forwards were making large gains each time they ran the ball whilst gaps were being created out wide. The usual suspects, such as Lewys Jones, Dominic Scoble and Gareth Harrison, were carrying well; making numerous yards after the initial contact. It was however the North’s Victor Olaoye who perhaps surprised the sidelines with his ball carrying prowess. Victor probably had his most effective game for the North carrying from the base of the ruck on several occasions, going far beyond the gain line each time. His performances in the last few weeks have been steadily improving as his aggression in the tackle area has increased. Although he had a superb game his offloading skills leaves a lot to be desired.
Perhaps the most satisfying aspect of the game for the North was how well they were able to retain the possession for large periods of time. The forwards dominated the contact area and it was pleasing to see how the team showed patience and confidence to recycle the ball for a number of phases without trying ‘the miracle ball’. The driving maul proved to be very effective once again and often ate up the ground in front of them when it was deployed.
The backs ran some neat patterns and found spaces of their own from which they were able to take advantage of on several occasions. Rhys Morgan looked effective upon his return often punching up hard yards up the middle whilst strong running from Jordan Gibbs and Kieran Toynton out wide also saw them make solid yards. Another player making his return to the first team after a notable absence was Sam Cartwright, it was as if he had never been away. His gutless attitude to running the ball back and getting involved in the contact area would have brought a smile back to the coaches’ faces. At one point it was noted he took the ball from the scrum, as first receiver, and ran into two opposing players (not his best idea). Another player who needs to learn to run away from players rather than into them is Jack Tugwell, probably our quickest player who decides to maul players instead. Jack’s reputation of being made out of ‘stern stuff’ is slowly being diminished, he had to leave the field again citing a sore hamstring…
The game was a one sided affair which saw the North score 60 unanswered points. Many of the tries came from breaks deep inside our own half whilst others saw the pack power over from close range. A range of skills and abilities were displayed for the scores including little chips, cross field kicks, power full surges, deft hands and adept decision making. The full list of scorers were Lewys Jones (2), Gareth Harrison (2), Dominic Scoble (2), Jordan Gibbs, Rhys Morgan, Kieran Scoble and Joshua Gibbs.
Sweetman kicked well from hand in the game but was only able to convert four tries of the nine he attempted. Jordan Gibbs however managed to convert the one kick he attempted; those percentages will not help Sweetman keep the kicking tee for next week. At this point it must be noted the Rob Sweetman tried to ‘sit down’ the smallest man on the field and failed terribly, a pitiful attempt.
A great performance from the lads, well done! A huge thank you to Cowbridge RFC for fielding a team on a weekend where they were obviously short of numbers. The boys who took to the field gave it their all and stuck at it for the full 80 minutes, a credit to your club. Our appreciation also goes out to the supporters, coaches, catering and bar staff, groundsman and even Chris Ferrier who made an appearance to cheer a few people up. Another big game next week so please make the effort to get to training this week. Da iawn pawb!