Birchgrove RFC | 1st Team 29 - 18 Tondu RFC | 1st Team
Mathew Edwards
Conversion 2
Penalty 5
Josh Key
Try 1
Liam Hutchings
Try 1

Match Report
15 December 2019 / Team News


I am loathe to use the old cliché “a game of two halves” but this indeed was one of those. An unusually lack lustre performance from the home side in a half peppered with penalty decisions going against them left them 3 – 13 down at half time. But a more recognisable second half performance brought relief and a 29.18 victory.

Tondu playing with the wind in their favour started with a lively approach against a home side with a far superior league track record so far this season. Birchgrove found themselves defending probing runs in to the midfield and the ability from the visitors to stretch the home defence with cross field handling moves.

It was no surprise that  the visiting No. 10 Luke Wittall put the Waterwheelers in front with a successful penalty 0 – 3 . Birch whose saving grace in this half was the solidity of their set scrum did pull a penalty back through Matthew Edwards to level the scores 3.3. However it was Tondu who continued to look the more likely scorers and despite stout defence from the home side, they were first to register a try.

A misjudged relieving kick straight in to touch brought the game well back in to the home half and from the resultant line out and forward skirmishes Tondu conjured up a well worked converted  try and a  3- 10 lead.

Birchgrove tried to steady the ship and with the set scrum continuing to dominate you felt that it was only a matter of time before things clicked but things transpired against them as a running attack was brought to halt with a misjudged turn inside with men waiting the other way and a massive drive to the line from a scrum thwarted as the ball popped out in to open play.

With luck not going our way Tondu looked to turn the screw and benefitted from yet another penalty to take the score to 3 -13 before the referee brought the half to a conclusion bizarrely overruling another away penalty attempt even though both linesmen held their flags aloft. So at 3 – 13 there was a lot to do.

The early breaking news of the second half was that Birchgrove were awarded a penalty !. Matthew Edwards stepped up to reduce the visiting lead to 6 -13. Some positive running now from centres Adam Percival , Curtis Davies  and wing Hutchinson was starting to make inroads in to the home half. A succession of trademark offloads and quick recycling saw Liam Hutchinson storm over for our first try, converted by Edwards and at 13 – 13 it was game back on !

Looking much more like the team that has been on a six game winning run and with the wind ,although subsiding, now in their favour Birch now started to go through the phases with much more dynamism. Confusion in the loose created by the revitalised back row of Perkins, Key and Crane  led to a Tondu forward playing the ball from an offside position and you know who yes Matthew Edwards stepped up again to convert the penalty and put the home side in to the lead for the first time 16 -13.

It was not all plain sailing though as Tondu tried their hardest to get back in to the game but were met by a now reliable defensive wall where I think I even noticed Prop Kyl Thompson complete a chop tackle that Percy would have been proud of !

Two quick penalties from Matthew Edwards galvanised the position for the home team 22 -13 and a well worked converted try for Josh Key finally put the game to bed for the home side at 29 -13. A consolation try to Tondu , a deserved reward for their brave efforts of the first half and continued commitment during the second when the home side started to move through the gears, brought the game to a close 29 -18

No game next week so play resumes at Glynneath on December 28th when we will see how our last eight WRU Plate opponents are faring - or will we see a shadow team as the mind games begin. ??


Can I take this opportunity to wish everyone who reads the column and visits the web site Gallery a very Merry Christmas from Jeff Miles our intrepid photographer and myself.





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