Mountain Ash RFC | 1st Team 20 - 13 Rhiwbina RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
30 October 2017 / Team News

Best Performance of Season Puts Mount Into 3rd Round Draw

The Old Firm gave their best all-round 80 minute performance to knock Division 1 East Central championship contenders and one of the favourites for the SWALEC Plate, Rhiwbina, out of the cup competition last Saturday at Duffryn Pennar Park. It was nothing more than Mount deserved as they had the better of the game throughout, even when playing against the wind in the first half. The Mount pack to a man were tremendous and built up a head of steam which came to a crescendo in the final minutes of play when they laid siege to the Rhiwbina line looking for the winning score.

The Old Firm went in front after just 6 minutes when scrum half Ross Davies – who was inspirational throughout and led from the front – broke and took play up to the visitors’ 22 where the Mount forwards slipped the ball nicely and retained it well to take play to a metre out, where prop James Cowdry drove over for a try near the posts. Full back Jack Roberts converted for a 7-0 lead. Mount were well on top territorially and turned down a couple of kickable penalties in the Rhiwbina half to kick for position in the Rhiwbina 22 where they were just denied another try in the corner. A first Rhiwbina attack after 15 minutes saw full back Roberts display a cool head and a nice piece of skill to secure the ball and side step the oncoming wing and clear the ball. The visitors set up another attack and took play into the Mount 22 where several drives and rucks were repelled by the Mount defence but after the ball was moved wide, flanker Sion Parry went over for a try, expertly converted from near the touchline by wing Alex Cooke, which made it 7-7 after 25 minutes play. A Rhiwbina penalty was kicked up to the Mount 22, where a powerful run by a Rhiwbina forward was stopped by a superb tackle from behind by scrum half Davies, who also did a tremendous job snuffing out Rhiwbina’s strong running No.8 when he tried to pick up and run from several scrums. Right on half time, with play in the visitors’ half, Mount flanker Jordan Coxley ripped the ball from a Rhiwbina player, broke away and kicked ahead to just 5 metres out, but the visitors recovered well and cleared to bring a competitive half to an end.

At the start of the second half, a tackle by flanker Chris Edmunds, who covered a Rhiwbina overlap stopped a dangerous run down the touchline on halfway. The visitors took play up to the Mount 22 where they kicked a 25 metre penalty to go in front 10-7 after 43 minutes. It was short lived, as an offence from the restart saw Mount full back Jack Roberts kick the resulting 35 metre penalty to make it 10-10. A well-placed chip over a maul by Mount scrum half Ross Davies found space and was latched onto by the quickly-up Declan Conway who beat two men and looked as if he might score but an ankle tap brought him down 5 metres out, but sloppy play at the scrum by the Old Firm saw the ball turned over and cleared by Rhiwbina. After a long passage of play which saw both sides attack and counter attack, the Old Firm were quickly into a ruck on the Rhiwbina 10 metre line and awarded a penalty, which full back Roberts kicked with a fine strike to put Mount in front 13-10 after 65 minutes. After a long range kick at goal by Rhiwbina was touched down, a charged down drop-out led to a 25 metre penalty to the visitors, which Cooke converted to level the scores at 13-13 after 71 minutes. The last 10 minutes belonged to the Old Firm, scrum half Davies putting a delicate chip behind the defence which gave Mount a lineout 20 metres out from which a penalty was awarded. Although full back Roberts’ penalty hit an upright, the Mount forwards were quickly in to hold the ball up and get the put-in to the scrum. Patient play and excellent ball retention by the Mount forwards saw play edged towards the Rhiwbina line. Drives by prop Tom Harper and hooker Jarrod Parfitt upped the ante and saw another penalty awarded in the 80th minute, this time outside half Matthew Parfitt shaving the wrong side of the upright. There was no respite for the visitors and from the drop out, a strong run by Mount flanker Jordan Coxley took play back into the visitors’ 22 where the Mount forwards once again took play up to the Rhiwbina line, where two roars for a try came from the Mount support in that part of the field. With the Rhiwbina defence stretched, the ball was moved wide and thrown into midfield where centre Liam Jones jinked past a defender and although tackled, placed the ball near the posts to the great delight of the home support, outside half Parfitt slotting over the conversion in the 84th minute to end his 200th 1st XV appearance for the Old Firm in memorable fashion and confirm Mount’s place in this week’s 3rd round draw.

This was an excellent win for the Old Firm against a very capable Rhiwbina side who will be in the running at the top of the Division 1 East Central table. The Mount XV and substitutes showed what they are capable of when they play at this intensity for 80 minutes. Crucially, the defence on Saturday was the best it has been all season, only conceding 13 points. Further wins will come IF this attitude and performance can be repeated, and that's the challenge for the Old Firm, maintaining this standard. An away League game in Dinas Powis is next up this Saturday which the Old Firm need to win to climb out of the bottom four up to mid table. 

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