Division 4 East
Saturday 1st December 2007
There and Back Again.....with a win!
This was the first meeting for these 2 sides in living memory. After trying and failing to find them on Google Earth we tried some maps of Middle Earth and located them many leagues to the North of the Misty Mountains in the town of Talgarth.
After an exciting bus journey in a howling gale, lightning and hailstorms over the Beacons we finally made it to Gwernyfed's clubhouse and were suitably impressed with their facilities and setup including a fantastic basement gymnasium in the club and floodlights on the main pitch.
Gwernyfeds recent form was even more astounding-unbeaten at home for over 2 years and currently unbeaten in the Div 4 East League which they top they have been the team setting the standards. A fantastic recent win over Div 1 side Fleur De Lys in the Konica Minolta Cup had them brimming with confidence and made them firm favourites for todays encounter.
We on the other hand are desperately trying to secure our own clubhouse and floodlights and our recent form has been indifferent with us losing 4 recent League matches by 2 or 3 points. With 3 or 4 players unavailable through injuries and other commitments the side was juggled slightly today as the coaches tried out some players in new positions from the off. Mousey came in to start as prop, Nelly came back in as second row and Salty went back to outside half with Roland going to fullback. Vince came in on the wing.
But when the Squirrels have their backs up against the wall is when they are at their most dangerous. This was an upset that had been coming for a few weeks. The Rhiwbina team were really pumped up for this game and wanted to prove a few points to people.
Into the teeth of a very strong wind we took the game to the League leaders and blew them away in the first quarter. A fantastic set of moves put us in the Gwernyfed 22 and center Coops crashed through some tackles to go over under the posts. Salty converted. Rhiwbina were playing all the rugby with full back Roland cutting open the opponents back line and the forwards dominating the scrum and lineout. The only response Gwernyfed had was a series of speculative penalties that all missed the mark. Rhiwbina kept them out until the last minute of the half when they finally managed to put over yet another penalty to go in at the interval 3-7
In reality the Rhiwbina side had won the game with this first half performance because with the wind at their backs in the second half they began to pile on the pressure with great tactical kicking and aggressive defence. The driving lineouts destroyed the Gwernyfed eight and set up a huge drive for winger Vince to add his tiny bulk and claim the score.
The Squirrels now sensed a major upset and continued to turn the screw. The home side could not stop the lineout drives and conceded a penalty try that Salty duly converted. The tackling from Rhiwbina was immense and kept knocking their opponents back time and time again. From another driving maul we bagged another try for hooker Spanish to put the game out of sight before Hammy rounded off another move with a blistering breakaway down the blindside that left the defence for dead before getting the touchdown.
Gwernyfed got an unconverted consolation try in the last minute for their efforts but the spoils went to the Squirrels who stopped the home sides unbeaten run and got a bonus point as well for their 5 tries.
A superb effort from the whole squad and impossible to single out a man of the match as all the Rhiwbina players gave it everything they had. The season is back on track!
A big thanks to our supporters who also made the long trek up to this part of Wales and who roared us on to victory.
Thanks to our opponents for their great hospitality and we look forward to the return match back in the capital and all the best for the rest of the season.
Gwernyfed 8-29 Rhiwbina
COME ON THE SQUIRRELS!!!!