Rhydyfelin RFC | 1st Team 16 - 22 Mountain Ash RFC | 1st Team
Daniel Phillips
1 Try
Jaydan Pugh
4 Penalty
Jarrod Cushion
1 Try

Match Report
03 September 2023 / Team News

Pugh Seals Win For Old Firm

The Old Firm, playing together as a team for the first time since last season, unsurprisingly looked short of match practice away to Rhydyfelin in an arm-wrestle of a game which ended in a hard-fought, welcome win for Mount.

The hosts took an early lead from a 25 metre penalty from outside half Ross Lucas. Mount replied 5 minutes later when a clean two-handed catch by flanker Daniel Phillips was moved into midfield. Full back Jarrod Cushion came into the line to take play into the Rhydyfelin 22 from where the Mount forwards took the ball on, No.8 Jordan Burke almost getting over. The Old Firm were not to be denied and from close-in, flanker Phillips finished off what he started by driving over and being awarded the touch down to put Mount in front 5-3. A 37 metre penalty by debutant outside half Jayden Pugh after 17 minutes extended Mount’s lead to 8-3.

The new high tackle rule saw penalties awarded for seemingly ordinary attempts at making a tackle. The Rhydyfelin scrum had the edge early on over the Mount eight but it was the Mount forwards who were quicker in at the breakdown to secure penalties. From a scrum in midfield in the Rhydyfelin half, No.8 Jordan Burke picked up and run hard through a gap in the home team’s midfield defence and almost got away 20 metres out. The ball was recycled and taken on to 15 metres out where a penalty was awarded, Pugh kicking it to make it 11-3 after 34 minutes.

Throughout the game, the Mount forwards’ taking of the restart left a lot to be desired, and from the restart Rhydyfelin pressurised second row Jarrad Parfitt who took the ball running back. They won the ball at the resultant ruck and then a penalty under the posts which Lucas kicked from 10 metres to make it 11-6.

The game swung the home team’s way two minutes later when centre David Gratton received the ball on the narrow side of a scrum in the Rhydyfelin half. He chipped over the oncoming Mount defenders, and used his height to regather the ball and pass to wing Liam Williams who raced away unopposed down the touchline. Mount flanker Ewan Rees made a great effort to catch him and made a superb tackle metres out but it was not enough as the home wing reached over the try line and touched down for a try. The conversion from the corner missed, but from 11-3 down with just over 5 minutes to half time, the home team had levelled the scores at 11-11.

Mount’s response was immediate and was one of the few times during the game when they put together a sustained attack. A counter attack from near halfway saw a long pass out to wing Cole Nash. He was tackled outside the Rhydyfelin 22 and from the ruck, hooker Kieran Coomer took play on up to the 22 line. Scrum half Ross Davies got the ball away quickly, outside half Pugh linking with the Mount midfield. Centre Alex Hughes, flanker Daniel Phillips, prop James Cowdry and centre Steve Brittain all handled to take play to 5 metres out where quick ruck ball again was quickly moved to second row Jarrad Parfitt who handed on to Cushion for him to finish off a superb attack by diving over in the corner for what will be, even in this first game of the season, one of the team tries of the season. It showed what the Mount team were capable of. The conversion from the corner missed but Mount turned round 16-11 in front.

The second half was an arm-wrestle, with Mount getting bogged down in a tight-forward battle instead of moving the Rhydyfelin pack around the field and putting phases of play together. Far too often the Old Firm were playing rugby in their own half and making mistakes or conceding penalties.

On the hour, with most of the game in the Mount half, but the Old Firm comfortable in defence, the home team scored a try out of the blue. A lineout take by Rhydyfelin on the Mount 10 metre line was moved into midfield where the full back came into the line, cut through the first line of Mount defence, and although tackled 15 metres out passed to Gratton who had looped round and run in to score a try near the corner to make it game on at 16-16.

Mount upped their game in response and from a scrum a minute or so later, full back Cushion was put in space on the narrow side of a scrum and sped through and was only stopped by a desperate ankle tap metres from the touchline. The Mount support was up quickly and although securing the ball and attempting to get over the line were met with some tremendous defence by Rhydyfelin which kept them out.

The Mount pressure continued. A lineout take on the home 22 and powerful run by flanker Daniel Phillips deep into Rhydyfelin territory saw him high tackled and the Old Firm awarded a penalty. Outside half Jayden Pugh coolly slotted the ball between the posts from midway out to put the Old Firm 19-16 up in the 75th minute.

Rhydyfelin tried to get a score, but were met by determined a Mount defence. Another high tackle 40 metres out by the home side saw a yellow card shown and a penalty awarded, Pugh striking the ball beautifully 10 metres in from the touchline through the posts to take Mount’s lead up to 22-16, which they never looked like relinquishing in the 9 minutes of injury time added.

The Old Firm welcome St Joseph’s to Duffryn Pennar Park this Saturday, 9 September, for a Division 1 East Central match. The visitors also won their first game and will provide stern opposition. Kick off is 2:30pm.


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