Fixture

Glais RFC | 1st Team 25 - 29 Birchgrove RFC | 1st Team
Lee Harris
1 Try
Joshua Key
1 Try
Luke Williams
1 Try
Leigh Di'iulio
1 Try
Nicholas Fisher
3 Conversion
1 Penalty

Match Report
10 September 2017 / Team News

BIRCHGROVE TAKE LOCAL BRAGGING RIGHTS AGAIN WITH 14 MAN WIN

The Derby between Birchgrove and local rivals Glais is always a red letter day in the Rugby diary and always manages to throw up some controversial incident be it on or off the field.

So as the Supporters wound their way up the lane to the picturesque Glais ground with it’s tranquil rural location and Valley views,  as well as looking forward to a good day of Rugby the odd thought also detoured to wondering what else may be in store for today.

Well it took approximately 3 minutes for the answers to arrive in the form of a less than friendly exchange of views between both sets of players that resulted in Birchgrove being reduced to 14 men for the duration of the game with a red card dismissal and both sides also receiving a further yellow 10 minute penalty.

With the introductions over then, Glais set about their task of capitalising on the reduced opposition numbers by taking the game to the visitors and a succession of drives for the line gave them first blood through a penalty by No 10 Carl Williams 3 - 0. With another penalty following shortly as Birch conducted a rear-guard action was the writing on the wall 0 - 6 !!!

Well, we already knew that the visiting team had a belligerent streak from last week’s “never say die” action but what we were to now witness in twenty minutes of “frenzied” action was a remarkable period of pressure which was to make a mockery of the one  man disadvantage.

Firstly, after a period of encampment on the home line and several drives led by R J Di’iulio and Liam Richards, aided and abetted by centres Adam Percival and Alex Jukes, abrasive scrum half Leigh Di’iulio picked up and charged over for a well-deserved try converted by Nick Fisher and Birch were in the lead 6- 7.

A rocked Glais tried to re group and took the play back to the Birch ten yard line after kick off but the visitors were not finished yet as a the ball fell to Lee Harris just inside the home half and off he went bouncing and sliding off tackles to score another “worldy” under the posts. Easy conversion for Nick Fisher 6 – 14 . Was this really happening?? yes it was and could have been even  better as some excellent combination Rugby put Rob John in for another try which the referee dubiously called back for a forward pass and Glais were glad to hear the half time whistle 6 -14

After a severe b ..ll.ck..g at have time you would expect Glais to go straight on the offensive from kick off but a well fielded kick off collected by the dependable Luke Williams saw Liam Garland put us back on the front foot in the home 22. With the frantic pace being maintained it was no surprise that a further score was to come. A fumbled line out 10 yards out saw the bouncing ball fall gratefully in to the hands of Josh Key and he is not the sort of man to pass up an invitation to bludgeon his way to the line which he dutifully did Fisher again adding the conversion from wide out 6 -21.

This fairy tale was surely only going to last so long and at last Glais seemed to appreciate their predicament and instead of believing they could batter their way through the resolute defence of the visitors realised that position was stronger than possession. So after a couple of promising catch and drive episodes in attacking positions one was bound to pay off. It did, as their No 9 went over for their first try, converted by Williams 13 -21.

The game was now to enter a far more balanced period but the visitors were still showing that with 14 man action and aggression, a good supply of ball from the controlled line outs well marshalled by Connor Gallivan and R J Di’iulio together with bad scrum ball being perfectly managed, as ever, by Josh Key. This was a game they could win, even  allowing for the odd lapse in discipline,

 The second mirror image short range try from Glais, unconverted, was a set back as 18 – 21 belied the away effort and home supporters were slowly recovering from their shock and awe ! Not for long though as Birch once again stepped up to the plate and some astute kicking put them back on the offensive and pressure was to tell again as another home fumble this time presented Luke Williams with an unexpected gift ball. Workmanlike as he is, he set about his immense trek to the line dodging about 40 phantom defenders as his long athletic stride made light work of the punishing 5 yards to the try line for bonus try number four 18 – 26.

The twists were not over though as the Glais captain again struck back to bring another nail biter at 25 -26. But justice prevailed as Nick Fisher stepped up to convert a final penalty to see the visitor’s safely home to follow last year’s double over the rivals with a 25 – 29 win.

Great effort again lads well done. As a supporter put it later “Frantic Rugby” but good to watch even if the nerves are shattered!!

Cup next week Burry Port away.

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