Abercynon RFC | 1st Team 21 - 17 Mountain Ash RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
10 October 2021 / Team News

Poor Last Quarter Costs Mount

A good turnout of supporters of both clubs greeted both teams for this return WRU Plate fixture in Abercynon.

A careless penalty conceded by Mount for offside in midfield saw ‘cynon outside half James Dixon slot over a 25 metre penalty in the first minute to put his team 3-0 up. On a couple of occasions, ‘cynon tried to go up the middle but excellent tackling by the Mount midfield aided by second row Daniel Phillips saw it make no ground. After an excellent grubber kick from his own half by outside half Callum Hall gave the Old Firm a lineout 10 metres out, Mount gained a penalty, which Hall converted to make it 3-3 after 15 minutes.

Good ball retention by Abercynon took play from halfway up to the Old Firm’s 22 where they were awarded another penalty, outside half Dixon converting from 20 metres to make it 6-3.

Mount moved the ball for the first time to take play into the ‘cynon 22 where drives by forwards Mitchell Barnard, Jordan Burke and Bleddyn Lock saw Lock tackled just short of the line and ‘cynon get a penalty to clear. Another sortie by Abercynon up to the Mount 22 saw another penalty award after half hour which Dixon kicked from 20 metres to increase his side’s lead to 9-3.

After Hall had just missed a 30 metre penalty for Mount, he gave the Old Firm a good position in the ‘cynon 22 from a penalty award. A catch by flanker David Richards – one of many he took during the game – was driven on, with the Abercynon pack unable to do anything about it as it trundled up to the line for second row Mitchell Barnard to touch down and Hall convert with a superb conversion from wide out to put Mount into the lead for the first time in the game just five minutes before half time, 10-9.

A superbly placed kick and quick following up by full back Declan Conway in the first minute of the second half saw Mount pressurise the ‘cynon line. A penalty award 15 metres out was kicked to the corner for a 5 metre lineout, where a catch was driven over the ‘cynon line for prop Bleddyn Lock to get his first try of the season, Hall converting to extend the Old Firm’s lead to 17-9 after 44 minutes.

Mount were keeping the ball in hand, and varying their play nicely, with the forwards setting the foundations by taking the ball up. Centre Jamie Long took play up to the ‘cynon 22 where the ball was moved wide to full back Conway who gave a well-timed pass to wing Curtis Williams who was put away near the touchline 20 metres out, but a desperate tackle dislodged the ball and stopped him scoring. The Mount pack had been on top at the scrum for most of the game, and from the 5 metre scrum awarded to Abercynon, the ball was taken against the head. With the scrum going forward, it looked as if a push over try was on, but No.8 Jordan Burke picked up and drove for the line. Although he was tackled inches short, the Mount forwards were quickly in and another couple of drives for the line took place, prop Cowdry going close, but somehow Abercynon kept their line intact. The Old Firm were well on top and the pressure continued in the ‘cynon 22. After the ball was moved to the opposite touchline, Mount wing Rhys Davies looked to have scored but he was tackled into touch metres out. A crucial lineout to Mount just 5 metes out was frustratingly lost and the ball cleared, and with 57 minutes on the clock, a 38 metre penalty was also just off target. It had been a good period of play for Mount, with play in the ‘cynon half or 22, but crucially, they had no points to show for it.

On the hour, a high kick by Hall was a little too long, and although wing Rhys Davies was quickly up, he was side stepped by the Abercynon catcher who got away and kicked up into the Mount 22 for the first time in the second half where the home team was awarded a penalty from which the Old Firm were forced to defend as ‘cynon attacked across the field.

With the Mount leading 17-9, 'cynon needing to score twice, the forwards on top at each scrum, winning their own throw into the lineout, and most of the game taking place in the ‘cynon half or 22, and another score looking possible, things were looking good. But, they took their foot off the peddle and left the home side back into the game, mainly due to inaccurate play.

A number of high kicks were too long, with no pressure on the catcher, which allowed ‘cynon to counter-attack. They must have been delighted because they had been denied good ball for most of the half. After taking play into the Mount 22, a ‘cynon lineout after 65 minutes play, 10 metres out, was thrown to the tail where a forward on the peel was fed the ball and drove over near the posts to score. Dixon had no problem converting to make it 17-16.

Abercynon got away with not being 10 metres after scrum half Ross Davies took a quick penalty on halfway. Then a high kick by Davies was followed up quickly by full back Declan Conway who was slightly early with his challenge and injured himself in the process, and left the field with suspected concussion.

The penalty to Abercynon was kicked up to the Mount 22, and after going from one touchline to the other and back, an Abercynon threequarter was worked free 5 metres out, and although it was disputed as being in touch, the try in the corner was awarded after 77 minutes, with Dixon’s excellent conversion attempt from the touchline hitting the bar and bouncing out. The score put ‘cynon 21-17 up, and although Mount took play back up to the home 22 and had a couple of chances, passes did not go to hand which left Abercynon winners of this local derby which not many people would have predicted 20 minutes earlier.

Although a first loss of the season for Mount, the Old Firm know they can do better than they did in the final quarter. They didn’t need to score again, the forwards were on top, the scrum was strong and the drive on an option, they just had to keep the ball and put more pressure on Abercynon to get it. By kicking it away, with no pressure on the catchers, the game changed to defending Abercynon attacks and the problems came from there.

All is far from lost though. The Old Firm still lead the table with 20 points from 5 games, Abercynon are 2nd with 19 from 7 games played, Aberdare 3rd with 16 from 8 games, and Abercwmboi have 15 from 6 games. The winner of the group will go into the play-offs with other Division 1 and 2 clubs to determine the overall winners. The division is there for Mount to win and they have the chance to bounce back this Saturday, 16 October, with a Plate game against Abercwmboi at Duffryn Pennar Park, kick off 2:30pm.

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