Fixture

Glynneath RFC | 1st Team 23 - 20 Birchgrove RFC | 1st Team
Josh Jarrett
1 Try
Darcy Etheridge
1 Try
Adam Rowlands
1 Conversion
1 Penalty
Lewis Cox
1 Try

Match Report
03 April 2022 / Team News

A LOSING BONUS BUT DESERVING OF MORE

A trip up the Neath Valley to old rivals Glynneath brought a dramatic opening to events. Early pressure and a line out 5 metres out saw the familiar sight of a classic Glynneath catch and drive try and with the conversion Birch were 7 -0 down within three minutes and things looked ominous.

But do we sit back, not likely !. Some forward pressure and Di’iulio passes to Rowlands who decides attack is the best policy. Jamie Jarrett is in close support and he goes over for an unconverted try 7 - 5 and things are not looking so gloomy.

Glynneath soon get back on the front foot though almost over but held up short of the line. The pressure continues but the home backs are guilty of over elaboration and some, to be kind, loose play but their forwards take the initiative and once again a classic forward drive brings further reward, a try and 12 – 5 lead.

Can we recover again- oh yes we can !. Battling ball lands in the hands of our talisman driving forward Lewis Cox. We have seen Chubsy do this so many times we now almost take it for granted that from 40 yards he can conjure up some try scoring magic. Well he did it again a storming run breaking 3 or maybe 10 ! tackles handing off 5 or maybe 8 would be defenders to accelerate away at a rate Usain Bolt would be proud of and score a great individual try. Although the conversion was unusually charged down at 12 – 10 we were well back in the game.

 

With confidence now running high, Liam Richards, Leigh Di'iulio and Adam Rowlands continued to test the opposition defence aided and abetted by our loose forwards and stalwarts Tom Wright , Conor Gallivan and Dylan Worth. Not forgetting the evergreen and mercurial No 10 Mark John who yesterday may have become the oldest player to complete a league game for Birchgrove. (Will leave that to the Sages to debate ! ). A Rowlands penalty was the reward which was to put us in the lead for the first time 12 – 13 and you got the feeling that this was a game to win.

 

Glynneath though had other ideas and back they came threatening the visitor’s line which again stood fast but at the expense of a second yellow card but we hold on to lead 12 – 13 at half time

 

Well could it get anymore frantic out there well yes it could. The first half brought early success to the home side but this time the visiting side were the benefactors of a quick start. Di’iulio was speedy to get the ball away from an early ruck and energetic Josh Jarrett carried, Darcy Etheridgewas on hand to help out with a man outside but a quick show and go flat footed the home defence and with a Rowlands conversion we were now a handsome 12 -20 points in front. We even quickly almost increased the lead when a Luke Curtis kick and chase almost ended up in our favour before the ball running in to touch.

 

Birch were now looking the more composed side but bad luck was to befall us once again. A missed penalty kick to touch gave the home side a counter attacking opportunity and their strong running loose forwards were able to set up a try scoring opportunity. But as the ball carrier neared the line a bizarre incident, which epitomised our season, took place. In the process of adjusting to touch down, the ball slipped from the carrier’s hands- knock on the away crowd wailed! and ignored the fact that a player following up touched down. An episode well worthy of a TMO intervention- if available- ensued .

 

The Referee maintaining that the ball was propelled forward by the players knee and the touchdown was legitimate 17 – 20 and to add insult to injury he dismissed our Captain Leigh Di’iulio for having the temerity to question the legitimacy and handed the home side a restart penalty which immediately put them back on the away line where desperate defence resulted in a further conceded penalty and in the blink of an eye the score was even at 20 -20.

 

14 men now for the third time in the game but still no surrender as Jarrett, Richards, Cox and Percival continued to make headway against the home defence but a further penalty opportunity is gratefully received by the home side and on the home straight they are in the lead 23-20

 

Back up to 15 men the valiant resistance to renewed attacking momentum from the home pack continued only to be thwarted by yet another 10 minute dismissal but slowly and surely ground was made towards the home line .

 

Salvation and a more than deserved share of the spoils was within our grasp as we were awarded a penalty but the kick was drawn just wide of the posts and a nervous referee seemed content to bring things to a slightly premature end at 23 – 20.

 

A draw would have been just and some may say a little more was deserved. A good battling performance from both sides, end to end Rugby, we scored the pick of the tries and although I am not one to criticise a referee his hasty resort to yellow card discipline did us few favours and ensured we played a half of the game with 14 men.

 

Final game of this somewhat disjointed season will be Sat April 23rd as we make the short journey to Bonymaen k.o 2.30. Lets finish with a flourish lads, you can do it !!

 

 

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