Rhydyfelin RFC | 1st Team 29 - 32 Mountain Ash RFC | 1st Team
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Match Report
10 November 2019 / Team News

Mount Comeback Seals Dramatic Win

What a great win for Mountain Ash. After taking Rhydyfelin’s unbeaten record 11 days ago with a 25-17 win at home in the Mid District Cup, the Old Firm followed it up by also taking the unbeaten league record of the Division 1 East Central table toppers, scoring 6 tries in this away game.

Although behind 17-5, 24-10 and 29-15, Mount were never out of the game and there was always a belief that they could get back into it. They did that big time in the last 15 minutes, scoring three tries and converting one to run out winners of a game where 11 tries in total were scored, with both sides contributing to an entertaining game, hard-fought but fair.

Rhydyfelin went in front in the first minute of the game when home full back David Gratton cut the Mount defence open when he counter attacked from a kick. Quick ruck ball moved wide saw a three man overlap and a well-taken try which was also converted to make it 7-0.

The Old Firm started to get into the game and took the ball through a number of phases which involved full back Jarrod Cushion, prop Tom Harper, hooker Liam Attwell, and No.8 Jordan Burke – who had one of his best games for Mount, putting in several powerful runs. Pressure on the Rhydyfelin line led to a 5 metre scrum, No.8 Burke, scrum half Morgan Cartwright and outside half Declan Conway all handling to put wing Curtis Williams flying into the corner for a well-executed try which reduced the home lead to 7-5.

A failure to clear the restart saw the hosts awarded a penalty on the Mount 22 which they kicked to the corner, eventually working their way over for a try to increase their lead to 12-5.

Rhydyfelin, playing down the slope, took play down into the Mount 22 again. A player for each side was yellow carded for nothing more than a scuffle – the only one of the match – but with a Mount forward one of those sent off for 10 minutes, it seemed to affect the Old Firm more than Rhydyfelin.

Although scrummaging with seven, the Mount pack dug in at a 5 metre scrum and the defence did the same, eventually winning a penalty. Further pressure from the home team eventually led to another try in the corner which took their lead up to 17-5 after 33 minutes.

Mount hit back from the restart, flanker David Richards quickly up from outside half Declan Conway's well-placed, high, hanging drop-out – one of many he put in through the game – and hooker Liam Attwell turning the ball over with some excellent ripping to set another attack in motion. Excellent finger-tip passing across the Mount backline saw full back Jarrod Cushion put away for another well-taken try in the corner, making it 17-10.

Another attack by Mount and a strong scrum had Rhydyfelin going back but an attack from the hosts in which there appeared to be crossing in midfield saw a breakout which resulted in a 5 metre scrum. From pressure on the Mount line, Rhydyfelin once again worked their way over in the corner, full back Gratton converting with a superbly judged kick from the touchline to make it 24-10 at half time.

Playing with the slope, the Old Firm got off to a good start. A penalty kicked dead by Rhydyfelin followed by a pass which went to ground on halfway saw Mount centre Kieron Davies get away. He floated out a pass to wing Morgan James, and although it bounced he did well to take it and sprint fully 25 metres to outpace the home defence and score Mount’s third try of the day, in the corner, to make it 15-24 after 45 minutes.

The Mount forwards were competing for everything and did well to hold up a drive from a 5 metre lineout. Although the ball was cleared, a missed tackle in midfield from the resulting lineout saw a nice slip pass to full back Gratton who raced down the touchline for a try which increased Rhydyfelin’s lead to 29-15 after 55 minutes.

The Old Firm were far from finished and took play into the home 22. A quick penalty take saw scrum half Morgan Cartwright get to metres out but the home line survived. Another Mount attack from a lineout take and a drive near the Rhydyfelin 22 saw the ball moved wide to full back Cushion who showed the defence a clean pair of heels to burn into the corner for an excellent try which put Mount right back in the game at 29-20 behind after 66 minutes.

The Old Firm continued taking the game to Rhydyfelin, and from a penalty award on halfway with just 6 minutes to go, outside half Declan Conway kicked a good touch just 15 metres out from the home line.

A catch and drive had the home pack going backwards and the Old Firm were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty try for a collapse. The resulting penalty was kicked to touch and from another catch and drive, second row Adam Parry was awarded the touch down, wing James judging the conversion from 10 metres in from the touchline perfectly to make the score 29-27 to Rhydyfelin after 78 minutes.

What composure and patience the Old Firm showed from the restart. Flanker Mitchell Barnard took the long kick in the Mount 22 and run hard into midfield, giving Mount options. From there, the Old Firm probed for gaps and eventually got one with wing Morgan James sprinting away down the touchline, side-stepping full back Gratton, and sprinting in from some 20 metres to win the game for Mount amid great excitement from the travelling support.

The conversion missed, but it was the last act of a superb comeback from the Old Firm – one that was even more remarkable as they played the last 12 minutes with 14 men due to an injury. It was quite magnificent and showed what the Mount team is capable of.

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