Mountain Ash RFC | 1st Team 11 - 17 Aberdare RFC | 1st Team
Owen Young
1 Try
Garyn Payne
2 Conversion
1 Penalty
Morgan Biggins
1 Try

Match Report
24 March 2024 / Team News

Poor Second Half Costs Old Firm

The Old Firm gave a disappointing second half display to lose this “8 pointer” at Duffryn Pennar Park. Throughout the game, Mount never led and never really looked like doing so either, and played better against the strong wind in the first half than they did with it behind their backs.

Mount were too eager out of the blocks at the start of the game, conceding three penalties in the first 3 minutes. Aberdare went in front when they kicked one from 15 metres out for a 3-0 lead.

Throughout the game, Mount were slow and hesitant to move the ball away from the breakdown, which gave the Aberdare defence plenty of time to get in place. Aberdare went further in front after 6 minutes when lineout ball was moved into midfield where their burly centre went right through. Although he was tackled, he popped the ball up to a supporting player and with a two on one and just 10 metres out, he dummied and scored the first try of the afternoon. The conversion made it 10-0.

Flanker David Richards had taken a superb catch at the first restart and took another as the Aberdare forwards stood still waiting for the referee’s whistle as the ball went 10 metres then came back as the wind caught it. Second row Jarrad Parfitt and prop James Cowdry broke through to take play to the Aberdare 22 where Mount were awarded a penalty. Outside half Callum Hall converted it to make the score 10-3.

The Old Firm came more into the game and were moving the ball across the field on the Aberdare 22. A penalty by Hall gave Mount a lineout just inside the Aberdare 22. Flanker Daniel Phillips took the throw-in. From a ruck in midfield, the ball was moved wide to left wing Morgan James who run down the touchline from 10 metres out to score a good try in the corner. The conversion failed into the wind, but the try made it 10-8 after 20 minutes playing against a strong wind.

An attack straight from the restart saw Mount centre Jamie Long chip over the Aberdare midfield, regather the ball and slip a pass which went stray with the Aberdare defence between him and the try line sparse.

Another Mount attack got to 5 metres out from the Aberdare line before it was stopped, as Mount made light of the wind against them.

After play being in the visitors’ half for the previous 15 minutes, Aberdare were given a break when a poor pass straight into touch by Mount gave them a lineout in the Mount half. After winning the lineout, a strong run by a forward was halted in the Mount 22, and when the ball was moved into midfield, a break in midfield by Aberdare’s burly centre looked to be a certain try until second row Cameron Davies made a superb diving try-saving tackle metres out. Although the ball was cleared to the 22 line, the Old Firm were caught short on the blindside and Aberdare’s winger jinked over in the corner for a try. An excellent touchline conversion made it 17-8 after 35 minutes.

After the Mount forwards made some hard yards with pick and drives right on half time, the ball was fed quickly to right wing Cole Nash who raced away down the touchline, leaving the Aberdare defence for dead. He chipped over the full back, who partly charged the ball down, and after a frantic ruck on the Aberdare line, the referee blew for half time.

It had been quite a good half for the Old Firm who were unlucky to be 9 pojnts adrift playing against the wind.

After just missing a penalty from 47 metres in the first minute of the second half, outside half Hall made no mistake with another from 42 metres in the 46th minute. At 17-11 with over half hour to play, the Old Firm were in a good position. A kick out of defence by Hall saw centre Cushion and wing Morgan James quickly up, Cushion making the tackle and James quickly in to win the penalty for holding on.

A penalty to the Old Firm in the Aberdare 22, midway out, was surprisingly tapped for the Mount forwards to take it on when there was every chance of a simple three points with plenty of time left to play. An Aberdare forward was yellow carded on the hour. Another kickable penalty on the Aberdare 22 was kicked to the corner for a 5 metre lineout, but hesitancy throwing the ball in resulted in Aberdare being awarded a penalty. It summed up the afternoon for Mount.

The last quarter saw Mount continue to play a very narrow driving game with no tempo to it, which was very predictable and gave the Aberdare defence ample time to arrange and defend against. Although there was another yellow card for an Aberdare forward after 75 minutes and more drives by the Mount forwards, it made no difference, leaving the visitors with 4 precious points at the top of the division.

Although a disappointing loss for the Old Firm, not a lot changed at the top of the division. Mount still remain top on 64 points, Aberdare are 2nd on 63, and Cambrian Welfare in 3rd, who lost 15-13 away to Rhydyfelin, have 58 points with two games in hand of the top two. The equation is simple in the run-in. Mount need 4 wins from 4 games, but so do Aberdare and Cambrian. Can the Old Firm do it? Of course they can – if they take the points on offer and play a faster tempo, 15 man game, with variety in attack. They are capable of that, they just need to do it. Go for it boys!

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