Mountain Ash RFC | 1st Team 16 - 14 Skewen RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
28 October 2018 / Team News

Mount Grind Out Win To Move Into Plate 3rd Round

This game, in which the defences of both sides were on top for the most-part, could have gone either way, but it was the Old Firm who progressed into the draw for the 3rd round of the SWALEC Plate with a hard fought win against Division 1 West Central club, Skewen, at Duffryn Pennar Park. Throughout the game, no quarter was asked or given by either side, with Mount playing a tighter game than the visitors who tried to play with more width when the few chances arose.

The Old Firm were first on the attack with flanker Jordan Burke and scrum half Ross Davies prominent. After 10 minutes, Mount were awarded a 7 point penalty try when the visitors illegally stopped a drive from a 5 metre lineout and a Skewen forward was yellow carded. Although a man down, the visitors hit back and took play into the Mount 22 where a forward got over the line but had the ball knocked out of his grasp as he tried to touch down. The referee awarded a penalty for a previous offence which was kicked from 10 metres out to reduce Mount’s lead to 7-3.

Rather than go for goal, a penalty award to the Old Firm 35 metres out was kicked to the corner where another catch and drive looked like another try was going to be scored, but a counter drive by the visitors kept Mount out. A lost lineout by the Old Firm allowed Skewen the chance to take play up to the Mount 22 where the Old Firm recovered the ball with men over, but the passing was not accurate enough to capitalise. Skewen took full advantage, and were awarded a penalty 30 metres out which reduced the Old Firm’s lead to 7-6 after 23 minutes.

From the restart, Mount No.8 Kriss Sanders tapped the ball back but the rest of the home pack were slow to react and a visiting forward burst away to start an attack which was taken on by the Skewen hooker who ran powerfully up to the 22. The Old Firm had to defend with great determination just 5 metres out from a number of drives and some good ripping work by second row and captain, Jarrod Parfitt, saw him come away from a maul and pass to ever-present forward David Richards who was in space and made good ground down the touchline. The Old Firm were having little change out of a tight and committed Skewen defence with the game presenting few try scoring chances for both sides. Right on half time, an attempted chip over the top of a maul was charged down and caught by a Skewen forward who took play up to the home 22, where a penalty award was kicked to give the visitors a 9-7 lead at half time.

The Old Firm started the second half with vigour, taking play up to the Skewen 22 where a penalty was kicked by outside half Jack Roberts to put Mount back in front, 10-9. Once again, the visitors responded and took play to 5 metres out where a couple of lineouts were defended and eventually cleared. The game was physical and competitive and referee Morgan had to cool tempers as punches were exchanged in the 47th minute. A lineout take by David Richards was taken up to the Skewen 22 by the Mount forwards where another penalty award 25 metres out was judged perfectly by outside half Roberts to extend the Old Firm’s lead to 13-9 after 56 minutes. Once again the home pack failed to secure the restart, which let Skewen take play into the Mount 22 where the home defence was at full stretch to stop a score. After clearing the ball and taking play up to the visitors’ 22 with 15 minutes left, a lack of pressure in midfield at a scrum saw a misdirected pass by the visitors picked up and an attack started. The visiting wing made his way up to halfway, chipped over a defender, won the challenge for the ball on the Mount 10 metre line and raced away with no defender in sight. Although he was just about caught 5 metres from the Mount line, a neat pass inside gave his teammate the easiest of touchdowns which put the visitors into a 14-13 lead.

The Old Firm responded with pressure around the Skewen 22, but a yellow card to captain Jarrod Parfitt after 70 minutes put a dent in their chances of winning by reducing Mount to 14 men. The home pack were unaffected and with the game entering the final couple of minutes, pressure close to the Skewen line saw scrum half Ross Davies stopped a metre out and then flanker Jarrod Morgan held up on the line. The visitors conceded a penalty though, outside half Roberts striking the ball through the middle of the posts from wide out near the 22 line to put the Old Firm 16-14 up after 78 minutes play. The Mount forwards made no mistake with the restart and a succession of drives by the pack took play up to the Skewen 22 where the referee called time, leaving the Old Firm winners of a hard fought, unspectacular game, where open play was at a premium.

Skewen were a competent side, with a good scrum and lineout, and a capable set of backs who provided the Old Firm with a stern test, but yet again, playing for 80+ minutes and finishing the stronger served Mount well. The game also showed the Old Firm can play in a physical game and take pressure as well as give it. However, there are facets of play which they must strengthen and sharpen up, the restart being one.

It’s on to the Coors Mid District Cup this Friday, 2 November, when Mount take on Division 1 East Central club, Cambrian Welfare, at Duffryn Pennar Park, kick off 7:15pm.

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