Abercynon RFC | 1st Team 11 - 31 Mountain Ash RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
11 March 2024 / Team News

Convincing Win For Mount In Local Derby

The Old Firm gained a good win in this local derby Division 1 East Central game away to 4th placed Abercynon, which also made prop James Cowdry’s 300th 1st XV game for Mount even more memorable. It did not start very well, though, with ‘cynon taking the lead in the first minute through a 25 metre penalty by outside half Dean Gunter.

A break by Abercynon’s full back on halfway was compounded with a late tackle by the Old Firm, plus a couple of kicks to touch were missed as Mount made an edgy start.

It was 10 minutes before Mount got into the ‘cynon half through a kick by full back Jayden Pugh. A penalty award to the Old Firm was kicked to the corner by outside half Callum Hall, and from the 5 metre lineout won by flanker Daniel Phillips, a number of drives were made to the home line. Prop Bleddyn Lock drove into midfield 10 metres out. The Old Firm were patient and moved the ball back across the field. No.8 Cameron Davies drove for the line, and following him was flanker Phillips, who burrowed over for the first try of the game to make it 5-3 to Mount.

A penalty for Abercynon by Gunter after 28 minutes put them in front 6-5. A dropped ball by Mount near halfway was moved wide quickly by ‘cynon but they were met by a determined defence which stopped them 5 metres out.

The Old Firm made a better start to the second half and went in front in the opening minutes with a penalty from the 22 metre line by outside half Hall which put Mount 8-6 up. Replacement flanker David Richards won quality ball for the Old Firm in the lineout throughout the second half and had his usual all-action game.

A well-positioned high kick by scrum half Liam Jones was chased by centre Jarrod Cushion, but he suffered a nasty bang when he challenged for the catch which ended his game, with play being stopped for a few minutes for him to receive treatment.

A superb penalty kick from 40 metres out by Hall after ‘cynon were caught offside put Mount 11-6 up after 51 minutes.

The Old Firm continued the pressure when a kick by full back Jayden Pugh found space in the Abercynon 22, which the home full back just about kept in play to avoid a 50/22, but quick following-up by right wing Iestyn Robins and a couple of other Mount players drove him over the ‘cynon line for a five metre scrum to Mount. The Old Firm took play up to the ‘cynon line where flanker Daniel Phillips drove over under the posts for a try in the 56th minute. Hall slotted over the conversion to make it 18-6.

The lead lasted five minutes when sloppy play by Mount saw them run forward in front of kicker Pugh, who directed a good-looking long diagonal kick into the ‘cynon 22. The home team decided to run the ball, and did some driving of their own before moving the ball wide for their right wing to score an unconverted try in the corner to make it 18-11 after 61 minutes.

Right wing Robins made an excellent catch under pressure on halfway. A succession of short drives by the Mount forwards made ground, flanker Phillips put in some strong runs, it was good to see second rows Ellis Veale and Steffan Calderbank running hard, and from 5 metres out, prop Cory Bunney was unlucky not to be awarded a touchdown after he was driven over by the Mount forwards in the 67th minute.

The Mount pressure was unrelenting. A penalty from 22 metres out in front of the posts was just about converted by full back Pugh who slipped as he took the kick to make it 21-11.

A tremendous bit of play by flanker Dai Richards saw him break out of the Mount half with the ball, kick ahead, chase the ball, catch the ‘cynon full back who tried to run the ball out of danger, and then win a penalty for the Old Firm by jackalling him. Pugh had no problem slotting the penalty over from the 22 metre line to make it 24-11 in the closing minutes.

With time almost up, outside half Hall launched one of his specialities to take play from the Mount 22 to 5 metres out from the ‘cynon line despite the desperate attempts of the home full back to great applause from the Mount support. A take by Richards, and a drive by Phillips was finished off by No.8 Cameron Davies, who proved unstoppable from 5 metres out to touch down to the delight of his team. Pugh converted with a nicely judged conversion to complete the scoring and give Mount a well-merited victory.

The win keeps Mount top of the Division 1 East Central table. It is tight at the top though, with every point crucial. The Old Firm’s next game is an “8 pointer” against 2nd placed Aberdare, who are only 4 points behind, at Duffryn Pennar Park on Saturday 23 March, kick off 2:30pm.


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