Mountain Ash RFC | 1st Team 16 - 15 Cambrian Welfare RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
04 November 2018 / Team News

Mount Into Mid District Cup 1/4 Finals

This Mount team is never beaten until the final whistle sounds! Once again, the Old Firm finished the stronger, gaining a penalty in injury time from close-in pressure which was converted by full back Jack Roberts to win the game. Cambrian, who were promoted from Division 2 East Central last season and are currently lying 5th in the Division 1 East Central, were a capable side and also contributed to an entertaining game for both sets of supporters.

Mount started off on the attack and although full back Jack Roberts missed an early penalty, a strong forward drive from a lineout on halfway took play into the Cambrian 22 where it was taken on by a neat piece of jinking by outside half Morgan James. The ball went one way then the other, with the Old Firm creating an overlap wide out but the final pass 5 metres out was marginally forward. Mount were awarded a penalty at the scrum which was taken quickly and after several drives on the Cambrian line, scrum half Cory Roberts got his first senior try, diving over from close-in. Roberts converted to put Mount 7-0 up after 11 minutes. The Mount pack were having the better of the game, and from a scrum on the Mount 22, No.8 Kriss Sanders linked with centre Kurtis Griffiths who shot through in midfield but couldn’t get his pass away on halfway. Pressure at a ruck near halfway by flanker Jordan Burke got Mount a penalty, centre Griffiths being just wide with a 46 metre attempt, but Mount went 10-0 up after 28 minutes when full back Roberts kicked a penalty from the Cambrian 22 line. From a lineout in the Mount 22, the ball was thrown wide and a long pass set debutant wing Jarrod Cushion free and he made ground to halfway. Cushion was again in the action shortly after, taking a defensive catch and showing good vision and pace to attack space out wide to make ground. Flankers Coxley and Burke were having good games and it was Burke who put in a strong run from a lineout take on halfway to take play into the visitors’ 22. It had been mostly Mount up until the 35th minute, but it was the visitors who enjoyed a purple patch up to half time, scoring a well worked try by centre Jonah Huntley, which included some nice handling across the pitch to make it 10-5. The pressure continued in and around the Mount 22 and it took resolute defence by the Old Firm to go into half still in the lead.

Once again, the Old Firm started strongly and a nicely placed kick by outside half James into space in the Cambrian 22 put the visitors’ defence under pressure but it was well dealt with and the ball cleared. The pressure continued with Mount probing for gaps and from a penalty award 20 metres out, in front of the posts, full back Roberts converted to put the Old Firm 13-5 up after 45 minutes. A midfield break from the restart split the Cambrian defence but a lack of support saw the chance come to nothing. Mount were not helping themselves by failing to find touch from kicks to touch, and from one miss Cambrian set up an attack to take play into the Mount half where they were awarded a penalty. The visitors run it and a short pass in midfield put wing Sam Berbillion through a gap in the flat Mount defence and although three defenders converged on him close to the line, he scored near the posts, outside half Julian Huntley converting to put Cambrian right back in the game at just 13-12 down after 52 minutes play. Replacement scrum half Ross Davies ran strongly to take play to 15 metres out but obstruction gave the visitors a penalty. The game was well contested and the result up for grabs. Things got harder for Mount on the hour as prop Geraint Lock was yellow carded at a ruck, but the resulting 40 metre penalty was well wide. Another penalty shortly after from 35 metres out was put over by Huntley which put Cambrian in front for the first time in the match, 15-13. Mount hit back, and although a man down, they pressurised the visitors and had the better of the last quarter, getting to 5 metres out from the Cambrian line on at least half a dozen occasions, but frustratingly, on each occasion gave away a penalty for Cambrian to clear. A long pass into midfield on the Cambrian 22 was almost intercepted by centre Huntley, the Old Firm being awarded a scrum. With only minutes left, a kick out of defence by Cambrian to full back Roberts saw him attempt a drop goal from 40 metres out, the ball hitting the crossbar and rebounding high to a Cambrian defender. A visiting forward was yellow carded with a couple of minutes remaining, and then a powerful run by replacement centre Alex Hughes started another attack. The ball was taken through several phases, Mount getting to metres out from the Cambrian line where several drives were eventually rewarded with a penalty just 5 metres out, almost in front of the posts. Roberts coolly converted to put Mount 16-15 up with the game in injury time, but even then the game wasn’t over as yet another substandard take of the kick off by the Old Firm ended up being penalised at the resulting ruck on the Mount 22. Huntley’s attempt from 30 metres out, 5 metres in from touch, just drifted wide to leave the Old Firm victors of an exciting, well-contested game, which takes them into the ¼ finals.

The plus side of this game was that the Old Firm won it because they finished the stronger and had the desire to win. However, there are a few things which must be tightened up, one of them being the kick off by the opposition to start the game or after a Mount score. On too many occasions during this game, the taking of the ball was poor or non-existent with no forward putting his name on the ball, with the result the opposition were usually given a chance to set up an attack in the Mount half rather than the ball being cleared or another attack being started. The second downside was the number of penalties given away just metres from the Cambrian line. Mount are making it far easier for teams to get out of defence and start an attack from their throw-in to the lineout. These are areas the Mount coaches and team can remedy easily enough and it will make them a far harder side to beat. There is no need to give away cheap penalties anywhere on the pitch.

Outside half Morgan James had a nice game at outside half, flankers Jordan Burke and Jordan Coxley are playing well and very busy around the field, and into everything, which is great. No.8 Kriss Sanders is playing well and wing Jarrod Cushion had a very promising debut. Scrum half Cory Roberts did well, scoring his first 1st XV try, and centre Kurtis Griffiths looks promising. The front five are going well. Scrum half Ross Davies is a superb competitor in attack and in defence, and centre Alex Hughes is a powerful runner who can break defences. There are a lot of pluses in the Mount team and there are some talented players improving the squad’s strength in depth.

The win was the 7th in 10 games for the Old Firm and they sit in 2nd place in the Division 1 East Central table. The team is in the ¼ final of the Mid District Cup and in the 3rd round of the SWALEC Plate when they will travel to play north Wales club Pwllheli on Saturday 8 December for a place in the last 16. The Old Firm are a capable side with ball in hand and can play a tight game or an open one. The squad should not rest on their laurels though and should work on facets of play which they can improve to keep them challenging in the league, Plate and Mid District Cup. All of these competitions are wide open, and the Mount squad should try to fulfil their potential and give each their best shot.

This Saturday, 10 November, the Old Firm, sitting in 2nd place in Division 1 East Central, play in Rumney, who are in 3rd place, kick off is 2:30pm. It’s a big game for both clubs as they look to keep the pressure on Rhiwbina who are top. All support welcome.

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