Porth Harlequins RFC | 1st Team 20 - 21 Mountain Ash RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
24 November 2019 / Team News

Mount Dig In To Win

With just one point between the teams, Porth playing down the slope, and 15 minutes of normal time to play, the Old Firm had it all to do, but do it they did with a strong last quarter played in the Porth half of the field, to win this game and move up to 3rd place in the Division 1 East Central table.

Mount played down the slope in the first half on a heavy pitch but it was the home team which had the first scoring chance with a penalty 15 metres out, but they elected to take a scrum instead of kick for goal.

A superb diagonal kick from touchline to touchline by outside half Declan Conway which covered 40 metres took play to just 5 metres out from the Porth line. The Old Firm disrupted the home lineout and from a penalty award, a kick to the corner and a catch and drive was finished off by No.8 Jonathan Lewis who touched down for the first try of the game, superbly converted by Conway from wide out to give Mount a 7-0 lead after 10 minutes.

Porth hit back, and a driving maul from a lineout on the Mount 22, took play to 5 metres out where pressure on the Old Firm’s line led to a penalty and outside half Conway being yellow carded. The Mount defence held though and cleared.

Five minutes later, prop Tom Harper was yellow carded for infringing which took the Old Firm down to 13 men after 20 minutes. A catch and drive from a 5 metre lineout resulted in Porth’s first try which went unconverted to make it 7-5.

The restart was kicked dead by the Old Firm and a strong Porth scrum against a seven man Mount pack gave the home side go-forward ball. A chip over the Mount backline was latched on to by oncoming full back Jarrod Cushion who put the burners on from 60 metres out down the 5 metre line without a defender in sight to score wide out. Scrum half Morgan Cartwright added the extras with a well-judged conversion from 10 metres in to take Mount’s lead up to 14-5 after 29 minutes.

A penalty to the home team for apparent crossing was kicked to the corner and once again a catch and drive was finished off with an unconverted try in the corner to reduce Mount’s lead to 14-10.

A good tackle on the home centre by Mount centre Steve Brittain dislodged the ball in midfield. Mount captain Matthew Rees quickly picked it up and took play up to the home 22 where he put wing Rhys Davies away who was tackled just 5 metres out.

The Old Firm won the lineout and after a few drives in midfield, prop Tom Harper powered over from 15 metres out, taking several would-be tacklers with him for a tremendous try under the posts which Conway converted to put Mount 21-10 up at half time.

It was the Old Firm’s turn to play up the slope in the second half. After just two minutes, a penalty to the home team was drilled into the clubhouse corner and for the third time in the game, a catch and drive was finished off with a try, with the conversion making it 21-17.

A half charged down kick in the Porth half by Steve Brittain saw the centre take play up to the home 22, but the home side cleared.

Porth were awarded penalty after penalty and once again took play to 5 metres out, but some determined defence at a lineout kept them out, Mount winning the put-in to the scrum. Centre Kieron Davies ran strongly out of defence but another penalty just 20 metres out in front of the posts was kicked to make it 21-20 after 65 minutes, which left the game in the balance.

The Old Firm dug in and played effective rugby in the last 20 minutes, five of which was injury time, to keep the home team pinned in their own half, conceding few penalties.

The Mount forwards were hard-working all afternoon, hooker Jack James put in some strong runs, as did Cameron Davies, and the lineout and scrum was solid.

It was Mount that came closest to scoring in the final 10 minutes. Centre Jamie Long made a break and put full back Cushion away down the touchline and he was tackled just 5 metres out. Pressure on the Porth line was withstood by the home team who competed for everything but could not break the stranglehold in their own half.

With the game in injury time, Porth looked for gaps across the field but there were none. After the ball was knocked on and kicked dead in the 85th minute, referee Mr English blew for time, leaving the Old Firm worthy victors of a hard-fought game.

Well played to captain Matthew Rees and the Mount team on displaying cool heads and playing rugby in the Porth half in the last quarter to see out the win. It was Mount’s third successive win which takes them up to 3rd on 23 points, with 5 wins from 8 games played, 4 points behind 2nd placed Treorchy and 6 points behind top dogs Rhydyfelin, who both have a game in hand.

There is no dominant team in the division and it is wide open at this stage of the season with not even half the fixtures played. Any club which can put together a string of victories will be well-placed at the top of it.

There is no game this Saturday, 30 November, due to Wales playing the Barbarians at the Millennium Stadium. On Saturday 7 December, the Old Firm are away to Division 1 East club Penallta in the last 16 of the SWALEC Plate, kick off 2:30pm.

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