Mountain Ash RFC | 1st Team 39 - 13 St Peters RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
10 April 2022 / Team News

Old Firm Score 6 Tries But Leave The Best Till Last

The Old Firm delighted the home support by scoring some fine tries – in the best traditions of the club – among the six scored in the win in this 2nd v 3rd encounter at Duffryn Pennar Park. Not many Mount supporters would have predicted such a scoreline after St Peter’s dominated the first quarter and lead 10-0 after 25 minutes, but after that the Old Firm looked a different team.

In the first quarter, St Peter’s had by far the better of the territory and possession, with the Old Firm forced to defend. After 12 minutes, a desperate tackle by wing Declan Conway in the corner on St Peter’s left wing Ryan Newton dislodged the ball, and then an overlap in the Mount 22 came to nothing as a long overhead pass went forward. “The Rocks” eventually got their first points on the board with a 37 metre penalty by outside half Alex Lloyd to deservedly lead 3-0 after 19 minutes.

The visitors got straight back into the Mount 22 with a 50/22 kick by Lloyd and quickly took the throw-in 10 metres out. A break by scrum half Donovan took play to 5 metres out from the Old Firm’s line and after the St Peter’s forwards quickly secured the ball and took play near the Mount line, a short pass to oncoming centre Joe Davis saw him swivel out of a tackle and touch down. Lloyd converted to make it 10-0 after 25 minutes.

Mount responded with their first attack of the game, No.8 Jordan Burke – who worked hard all game and run strongly – was the first onto an overthrow and the ball was moved to outside half Callum Hall who sliced through in midfield to leave the St Peter’s defence for dead, but a lack of close support saw his long pass not hit the mark. The Old Firm won the resulting lineout and moved the ball to the opposite side of the pitch where full back Jarrod Cushion was in space, and he managed to run 10 metres down the touchline and touch down in the corner despite being tackled, to reduce the St Peter’s lead to 10-5.

Five minutes later, the Old Firm were in front. Wing Morgan James took play up to the St Peter’s 22 and after the Mount forwards took play up to the visitors’ line, a slipped pass to prop James Cowdry saw him drive over from a couple of metres out for another try. Outside half Hall judged the conversion perfectly from near the touchline to put the Old Firm 12-10 up after 31 minutes.

A penalty to “the Rocks” on halfway was kicked into the Mount 22 where they had not been for some time. After the Old Firm secured ball from a scrum and took play up to their own 22 line, sloppy play at a ruck saw a home forward go off his feet and concede a penalty which visiting outside half Lloyd kicked to put his side back in front, 13-12 in the dying minutes of the half.

The lead didn’t last a minute as a high, hanging drop-out by Hall was caught by second row Daniel Phillips – who was another hard-working, mobile Mount forward throughout the game – and it led to play being taken into the St Peter’s 22 where a penalty to Mount was kicked from 20 metres out by Hall to put the Old Firm into a 15-13 lead.

Most supporters might have thought that would be that for the first half but it went on.

Slow support by the Mount forwards from the restart saw St Peter’s turn the ball over at a ruck and kick up to the Mount 22 where a high bouncing ball was just knocked on by St Peter’s left wing Newton after he and full back Jarrod Cushion competed for the ball over the Mount line. But, the referee awarded a 5 metre scrum to the visitors, and there were three more as well as the Old Firm pack dug in and the Mount defence fought tooth and nail to keep the visitors out, with captain and hooker Jarrad Parfitt harshly yellow carded in the middle of the rear guard, but there was no further scoring and half time was called.

There was no slow start to the second half for the Old Firm, even though playing with 14 men, as they attacked from the off. With less than a minute gone, the ball was moved out to centre Alex Hughes who drove through in midfield and gave a lovely slip pass to full back Cushion who was on his shoulder and he glided outside a defender and sprinted round under the posts to great applause. Hall converted to make it 22-13.

Another Mount attack from the restart saw Hughes take a kick on the home 10 metre line, draw a player, and give to Cushion who hared away down the touchline and was tackled by a last defender in the St Peter’s 22. The pressure continued, with Mount opting to kick all penalty awards to the corner. Several close-in lineouts took place, and from a clearance kick by St Peter’s, that man Hughes caught the ball 10 metres in from touch and seeing the St Peter’s defence spreadeagled, he passed infield to Cushion who made ground up to the 22 and floated a lovely pass out to centre Jamie Long who run in to the corner without a hand laid on him to the excitement of the home crowd, which made it 27-13 after 53 minutes.

Scrum half Ross Davies typified the Mount effort as he was quickly into a ruck to win Mount a penalty, and No.8 Jordan Burke run hard through three or four tacklers into the St Peter’s 22 to take play to 15 metres out.

A diagonal kick by Hughes up to “the Rocks” 22 was quickly followed up by Mount, and after a St Peter’s player was tackled, the ball spilled into the hands of ever-present second row Daniel Phillips for him to run round near the posts from 20 metres out. Hall had no problem converting to make it 34-13 after 67 minutes.

A lineout on halfway saw a superb break by centre Long but once again there was no one on his shoulder to take a pass and run in for another score. To be fair to St Peter’s, they kept going, looking for a score, but were met by a well-motivated and determined Mount defence.

The Old Firm left the best till last though. With the game in its final minute or so, “off the top” ball from flanker Matthew Rees at a lineout on the visitors’ 10 metre line was moved at pace into midfield where full back Cushion joined the line and went through a gap to take play into the St Peter’s 22 where he passed back inside to outside half Callum Hall who run in from 15 metres to put the icing on the cake of a dominant second half for Mount, finish off a superb piece of play, and score his 14th point of the game.

The win keeps Mount in 3rd place, 1 point behind 2nd placed St Peter’s and 5 behind top of the table Rumney, but with 3 games in hand of each. Some of the tries scored by the Old Firm were the best seen at Duffryn Pennar Park for years, and it showed what this Mount team is capable of. On the other hand, the first 20 minutes showed what can happen when the Mount team is not fully switched onto the task in hand, with the scrum poor. But, as was shown just before half time, when the attitude is right, there was some strong scrummaging when the need arose.

Outside half Callum Hall once again contributed, this time with 14 points to take his season’s total up to 211. Centre Alex Hughes and full back Jarrod Cushion had good afternoons and seemed to be in the action all the time in the second half, with Cushion scoring two tries and Hughes having a hand in at least two.

After the first quarter, the Mount pack was hard-working and competed for everything. The throwing into the lineout was good, the scrum improved, No.8 Jordan Burke was hard-working and put in some strong runs, second row Daniel Phillips was another hard-working forward.

It’s onto Barry for another Division 1 East Central game this Saturday, 16 April, at Duffryn Pennar Park, kick off 2:30pm. The Mount team should not forget that the last time Barry visited in 2019/20 they were unfancied but won 30-20. There is no room for complacency by the Old Firm. Any slip up now in the run-in to the end of the season might prove costly.

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