Mountain Ash RFC | 1st Team 19 - 22 Abercynon RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
26 November 2023 / Team News

Penalties Do For Mount

Seventeen points from the boot of Abercynon outside half Dean Gunter and a defensive lapse in the last quarter of the game did for the Old Firm in this local derby Division 1 East Central game at Duffryn Pennar Park.

As expected with a local derby, the game was hard-fought and competitive throughout with little space available, but what space was created was done by the visitors.

The Old Firm spent most of the first quarter of the game in and around their own 22 after conceding half a dozen penalties which outside half Gunter used to pin Mount back and convert two to make it 6-0 to Abercynon.

At last, the Old Firm took play up to the ‘cynon 22 where they were awarded a penalty near the touchline. Outside half Jayden Pugh kicked an excellent goal to make the score 6-3 after 23 minutes. Three minutes later, Mount took play into the ‘cynon 22 for the first time, flanker Daniel Phillips and No.8 Jordan Burke making ground. Another penalty award, this time from 20 metres out, was easily converted by Pugh to make it 6-6.

Mount seemed to be coming more into the game, with more of the play in the Abercynon half. Pugh was unlucky with a 38 metre penalty which rebounded off an upright and was cleared. Once again though a penalty award against the Old Firm 30 metres out was punished by Gunter who kicked it to put his side in front 9-6 with two minutes to go to half time.

The Old Firm’s response was immediate. Second row Cameron Davies showed great skill and determination to catch a well-positioned restart and set up a ruck from which Mount attacked.

Drives by the Mount forwards to 15 metres out saw ‘cynon concede a penalty which Pugh goaled to make it 9-9 at half time.

Driving play by the Mount forwards from a lineout on the ‘cynon 22 in the opening minutes of the second half took play to 10 metres out where a penalty award was kicked to touch for a 5 metre lineout. A catch by flanker Daniel Phillips and a couple of forward drives was moved out, outside half Pugh dummying and almost breaking through the ‘cynon defence. The Mount forwards were quickly in and scrum half Ross Davies was also close to scoring. Another penalty was kicked to touch and after the catch and drive, No.8 Jordan Burke drove over in the corner to the delight of the Mount support to score the first try of the game and give the Old Firm the lead for the first time. A superbly judged conversion by Pugh from the touchline made it 16-9 after 51 minutes and the Old Firm looked to be on their way.

A deflected kick and a kick straight to touch saw the Old Firm pegged back to their 22 where they once again conceded a penalty 20 metres out, straight in front of the posts, which Gunter kicked to reduce the lead to 16-12.

For the first time in the game, the ball was moved across the backline into a wing’s hands, ‘cynon wing Alex Hayman getting away down the touchline but being well-tackled by covering flanker Daniel Phillips.

Close-quarter play by the Mount forwards near the touchline saw the ball intercepted by a ‘cynon forward. The ball was moved quickly to Gunter who showed good vision to throw a long pass to wing Jack Davies, in space, and he run hard down the touchline and kicked on into the Mount 22 where flanker Phillips and full back Iestyn Robins saved a dangerous situation.

In the 63rd minute, ‘cynon again moved the ball across field to wing Hayman who was near the touchline. He looked covered but broke through two tackles from 20 metres out and scored his team’s first try of the game near the posts, Gunter easily converting to put his side in front 19-16.

Once again the Old Firm hit back minutes later. A quick penalty take by scrum half Ross Davies near halfway had ‘cynon backtracking and saw him held back. From the penalty awarded, full back Callum Hall stepped up and kicked a superb goal from fully 50 metres wide out near the touchline. It ignited the Mount support and drew the scores level at 19-19 after 68 minutes.

But frustratingly, the Old Firm once again conceded a penalty from the restart, Gunter slotting it over from 30 metres to put his side into a 22-19 lead.

A loose ball in the ‘cynon 22 was fumbled by Gunter which gave the Old Firm a scrum 20 metres out. After a few drives, the ball was moved wide where centre Jarrod Cushion looked over from 5 metres out but somehow was tackled and stopped a metre out. From the resulting scrum awarded 5 metres out, ‘cynon were awarded a crucial penalty for early engagement by the Mount front row. Another long-range penalty after 76 minutes from 47 metres drifted wide and that was that for the Old Firm, leaving 'cynon with their first win at Duffryn Pennar Park in 14 years.

The Old Firm should put this loss behind them and move on. Although it was the first loss of the season, at the end of the day it is only one loss, no more, no less. The Mount team still have it all to play for. That starts next Saturday, 2 December, with the visit of Brynmawr in the last 16 of the Division 1 Cup.

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