Porth Harlequins RFC | 1st Team 23 - 35 Mountain Ash RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
19 November 2023 / Team News

Richards Back With A Bang

This was one of the Old Firm’s best performances of the season which resulted in a well-deserved victory, and it was flanker Dai Richards, who has only just returned after injury, who led the way for Mount with a hat-trick of tries. Wherever the ball was, Richards was nearby and he reaped the rewards with three touchdowns.

Although plenty of rain had fallen, the playing surface at Porth was in superb condition. The home side had first use of the strong wind but played up the slope.

Mount made a great start. After just 2 minutes, a high kick by Porth was caught and run back. Wing Morgan James run into midfield and gave to centre Steve Brittain near halfway. He handed off one tackler and put wing Cole Nash away. He sped up the touchline into the Porth 22 and gave a perfect pass inside to flanker Richards who run in unopposed to finish off a slick attack. Outside half Jayden Pugh converted to make it 7-0. Shortly after, prop Cowdry and flanker Daniel Phillips made ground and prop Bleddyn Lock had another chance in the Porth 22.

Penalties after 15 and 18 minutes by Porth full back Callum Slade reduced Mount’s lead to 7-6. Pressure by the Old Firm at the breakdown was rewarded with a 35 metre penalty which Pugh was just wide of the posts but hung in the wind long enough for oncoming centre Jarrod Cushion to nearly catch it metres out. Cushion was in the game again as he and full back Iestyn Robins coolly covered a hack on into the Mount 22 and did well to clear the danger.

A 25 metre penalty by Porth full back Slade put the home side 9-7 in front after 25 minutes.

The lead was short-lived. A high punt up to halfway was caught safely by full back Robins who started an attack which took play deep into the Porth 22. The Old Firm were awarded a scrum 5 metres out. After a couple of forward drives, the ball was moved into midfield where outside half Pugh gave a scoring pass to flanker Richards who run in under the posts for his second try which Pugh converted to put the Old Firm 14-9 up after half hour’s play.

The pressure on Porth continued in the final minutes of the half with the Old Firm taking play up to just 5 metres out.

In the opening minutes of the second half, with play on the Porth 22, a chip over the top from scrum half Ross Davies had the home defence in trouble, and just like all the best openside flankers, Richards was on the loose ball like a flash and run over for a superb hat-trick after 49 minutes. Pugh’s conversion attempt went just wide, leaving the Old Firm 19-9 up.

Close quarter play by the Mount forwards near halfway resulted in a penalty which Pugh slotted over with an excellent well-judged kick from 40 metres to make it 22-9 after 53 minutes.

A superbly placed positional kick by outside half Pugh took play from the Mount 22 to 10 metres out from the Porth line. From a catch by Richards and a controlled drive which looked as if a try would be scored, the referee had no hesitation in running round under the posts to award a penalty try to make it 29-9 after 56 minutes.

Porth got a try back just after the hour when they took play up to the Mount line, and after drive after drive, they eventually got a try which was converted to make it 29-16.

The game was turned on its head after 65 minutes when indiscipline at a ruck saw Mount replacement prop Geraint Lock sent off.

There was still no let-up for Porth and holding on at a ruck on halfway was punished by Pugh who struck a beauty of a penalty from 50 metres straight through the posts to make it 32-16.

Mount were competing for everything although one man down, scrum half Ross Davies into a ruck to gain a penalty in the Mount half. Pugh kicked up the line to the Porth 22, and from the lineout, No.8 Jordan Burke almost got away.

With the game in the 80th minute, a determined tackle by outside half Pugh and pressure at the breakdown saw the Old Firm awarded another penalty, which Pugh again goaled from 43 metres to make it 35-16.

Even though the game was in injury time and the Old Firm were reduced to 13 with a yellow card, the Mount team fought like tigers to keep the home team out. But after what seemed like twenty phases, Porth eventually scored near the posts and converted to make it 35-23 at full time.

This was an important win for the Old Firm as it was a League and Silver Ball game. The win leaves Mount 8 points clear at the top of the table with Abercynon and Cambrian Welfare further behind but with games in hand.

The next fortnight see the Old Firm play two big games at home. This Saturday, local rivals Abercynon visit Duffryn Pennar Park for a Division 1 East Central game, and on Saturday 2 December, Brynmawr are the visitors in the last 16 of the Division 1 Cup. Both games kick off at 2:30pm.


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