St Josephs RFC | 1st Team 17 - 23 Mountain Ash RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
19 December 2023 / Team News

Old Firm Attack & Defence Wins Game

This is the sort of win a club will need if it is to challenge at the top end of a division at the end of a season. Cardiff club St Joseph’s are a different proposition at home to away and on Saturday they proved it again.

The Old Firm went on the attack from the start of the game and went in front after 5 minutes with a 20 metre penalty from outside half Jayden Pugh. Mount played with what seemed to be a light breeze. However, it turned out to be a difficult wind to play against, holding the ball up when kicking into it.

Full back Callum Hall was in the action twice in a couple minutes. First up was a superb jumping, running catch from a high kick on halfway and then minutes later, after flanker Dai Richards delivered “off the top” ball quickly to scrum Ross Davies, the Mount threes moved it quickly with some excellent handling and running off the ball to Hall, who joined the line, and gave wing Iestyn Robins the ball 10 metres out for him to dive over unopposed for the slickest try seen this season which made it 8-0 after 16 minutes play.

Mount continued on the attack and there was another try 5 minutes later when a long pass by Hall in the St Jo’s 22 gave left wing Morgan James space to score in the corner and make it 13-0 after 21 minutes.

Sloppy play from the restart saw the Old Firm fail to secure the ball and clear their line. The home side took full advantage and after recycling the ball on half a dozen occasions and taking play forward, scrum half Fred Rowlands sneaked through a hole in the Mount defence to score near the posts, with the conversion reducing Mount’s lead to 13-7.

A slip pass by No.8 Cameron Davies to Steffan Calderbank saw the second row burst through the home defence into the St Jo’s 22. A 25 metre penalty from Mount outside half Pugh was well-judged in the tricky wind to increase the Old Firm’s lead to 16-7 on the half hour, and then with 5 minutes to half time, a strong run by No.8 Davies into the St Jo’s half saw quick ruck ball moved wide for wing Robins to get away and pass inside to flanker Dai Richards who run in under the posts to score another well-taken try, which was the Old Firm’s third of the half. Pugh had no problem converting to make it 23-7.

St Jo’s had use of a deceptively stronger wind than what it seemed in the second half and it led to most of the play being in the Mount half. In the 50th minute, pressure in the Old Firm’s 22 was turned into a try when a chip over the top and a scramble for the ball saw the home side’s prop forward Jack Wiggins awarded a try which was converted to make it 23-14. A well-judged 25 metre penalty made it 23-17 with plenty of time left. The rest of the game saw determined defence by the Old Firm keep out the home side even though playing one man short on two occasions due to technical infringements.

The game ended in dramatic fashion. With the time approaching 4.10pm, in its 89th minute even though there had been no injuries, and being played in semi-darkness, pressure by the home side 10 metres out from the Mount line saw the second yellow card issued and a penalty awarded to St Jo’s in front of the posts. They opted for a scrum but a manful effort by the Mount pack saw them hold the home shove and even nudge the home pack back slightly. A reset saw another home drive resisted as the excitement heightened, with the St Jo’s No.8 picking up and driving for the line. The Mount backrow got hold of him with determined, committed tackling but they could not stop him getting over the line. With the result resting on the referee, who run in to peer through the bodies in the semi-darkness, he deemed the ball had been held up and blew for full time to finish the game in dramatic circumstances. It gave Mount four crucial League points and their 7th Silver Ball win in eight games. It is grinding out wins like this and playing full-on in attack and defence for 80+ minutes in League and Cup rugby that will give the Old Firm a chance of success.

Next up are Division 1 East unbeaten club Brynmawr, who visit Duffryn Pennar Park on Wednesday 20 December in the last 16 of the Division 1 Cup. Kick off is 7:15pm, all support for the Old Firm welcome.


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