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27 March 2020 / Club News

THE CORONAVIRUS SEASON

 

As we all battle bravely against the Coronavirus Crisis in our different ways I am sure we can all agree that from a Rugby perspective having the Season so cruelly stolen from us in March (January in reality) and the Social Interaction of the Club denied us is , we accept , necessary but very Frustrating.

It would be unfair of course to allow the suspension of events to overlook the tremendous efforts of all those involved in what should have been and was on the way to becoming the most successful Season of Rugby in the history of the Club. Having reached the heady heights of Division 1, the highest grading ever achieved by the Club, we had managed to consolidate a strong position in the league with a string of sterling performances and for the icing on the cake managed to throw in a last eight appearance in the WRU National Plate competition. Again the best more recent Cup Performance of the Club since lifting the Brewers Cup at the National Stadium in 1993.

Our thanks must go therefore to all involved, The Players first and foremost as they were the ones who week in week out turned in such entertaining performances and even in the rare defeats were never left wanting. The Coaches whose unselfish commitment and organising skills prepared and equipped this relatively young side for the rigours of the high quality Rugby exhibited at this level. Not forgetting the backroom staff and officials , too many to mention but we know who they are, who are vital cogs in the machinery required to seamlessly deliver the finished product to us every week and deal with those hiccups that potentially restrict delivery. The Sponsors, the Supporters, the Bar Staff and crucially the sometimes maligned but always willing Officials of the Club who in their own time and on a voluntary basis oversee events good and bad with apologies for anyone I have omitted.

The season itself is worth a look at (and if you are really desperate for something to read you can get all the write ups, reports and action photos, from Jeff Miles , on this site)

The 7th September 2019 will be remembered as the day re elected Captain Scott Beard led his team out at Tondu to commence the Club’s first ever adventure in Division 1. No one knew how things would go, our opponents an unknown, could we carry on the success of 2018/19 into the higher echelons. Well what a way to start an away win 14 – 8 and Nathaniel Llewellyn became the first Birchgrove try scorer in the First Division. A home game next up, Glynneath, a tough ask, another cracking victory 30.17. A cup round next and a visit to Waunarlwydd, another well established side but we had beaten them on their patch in the Cup last year. Well we did it again a 30 – 35 thriller and on we marched.

Next up, back to the league, and as it happens another visit to Waunarlwydd and this was to be our first reversal. They had conjured up a No 10 from somewhere, West of the Lougher Bridge we suspect. He kicked us to death and we lost 26.19 and the game had a feel of the Morriston game the season before when we were not at our best. A minor set back, Bridgend Athletic next at home, but oh disaster another defeat 16 -13.

Had the Bubble burst !! and it was only October was this the end of the vision !!!!!!!!

Well this was a landmark moment would we sink or would we rise again and show the endeavour, enterprise and grit that had carried us to this stage. We had a difficult away Cup match at Dinas Powis to test our resolve. Another unknown opponent doing relatively well in Division 1 East Central and the game see sawed until the very last few minutes. It was now that the character of this team and it’s resolve and commitment was to be tested. With minutes left on the clock the home side were looking good. Somehow they had whittled away at what we thought was a comfortable 21-30 lead and were leading 31-30. Our forwards were in control of the ball though tirelessly inching their way to the line. A penalty to us, ref says last kick, this is not easy but Matthew Edwards (Murphy) steps up cool as you like slots it over 31 -33. Relief and belief all in one.

Next game an unbeaten Kenfig Hill at home won 22 – 3  then a league game away at Skewen where we not only won 0 -17 but also silenced the partisan and sometimes  hostile crowd. Sandwiched in between these victories Bethesda from Division 1 North came to us in the next round of the Plate. They were riding high in their league and with a confident following. Three tries, three conversions and three penalties later they were despatched back to Gog Land comprehensively beaten 30 points to 5 and with their Supporters and officials shaking their heads and admitting they had been taught a lesson.

Back on track , sitting pretty in the league and December kicks of with the visit of Bedlinog in the Plate. Previous winners of this competition, a reputation for strong and hard play and only relegated from the Championship last season. Well we stepped up to the plate again and even old sages are thinking look out we could find ourselves back at the Principality here two games away and Glynneath ,( didn’t we beat those earlier in the year), standing in our way of a semi final.

Exciting times but before the Cup we had to visit Glynneath for the league encounter. We were not at our best and came away second best losing 37 – 15 and surrendering a run of 7 successive league and Cup victories. But ok that’s one each and all to play for. Heads down NO ! Waunarlwydd are the next to visit us, we owe them one and revenge for our first league defeat earlier in the season was sweet. A good warm up for the Cup a 31.24 victory.

And so it came , 11th January , quarter final day, a good crowd , plenty of optimism, played all the Rugby but the Catch and Drive tactics of the opposition shattered our Cup Dreams on a blustery day at Parc Bedw. Well beaten we have to say.

Concentrate on the League  !!!!! is the shout in the Clubhouse but can the lads pick themselves up. Well it didn’t take long to answer that one. Ammanford came to us and were despatched 21 -16. Then, a real test of fortitude Kenfig Hill, who were now riding high in the league, away. Well what a win , a double over the home side and our first 4 try Bonus Point of the season.

We are flying...................................................................... !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well “Shit happens “ as they say in the House of Commons. First the rains came  and despite Fruity’s best efforts the pitch is struggling allied to this the Six Nations (What a letdown !!) ensured that there was no Rugby in February.

March looks at bit more promising but nothing until Friday the 13th, Dunvant at home, this should be good, well S. T  happened again. Coronavirus was becoming a lot more high profile and the Chinese Disease (Trump’s words not mine) was starting to hit the UK. WRU War Council was meeting to discuss the position so Dunvant off !!

 

Disaster........................... !!!!! the season is CANCELLED

A week later the Club is CLOSED  ...........................................!!!

Where will it all end eh. But let’s not forget the great Season, or part season we enjoyed. Great enjoyment, Great entertainment, Great company and Great memories.

 

Let’s see it through together everyone and we will kick off next Season hopefully as we leave this one

Positive

Optimistic

Confident

 

Hopefully at sometime we will see a Recognition and Presentation event but in the meantime performance scoring data can be found in the Statistics section of the Web Site.

I will try and put a short Picture Summary of the season together later which will be available in the Gallery section.

 

Keep Safe everyone.

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