Fixture

Birchgrove RFC | 1st Team 17 - 20 Dunvant RFC | 1st Team
Luke Curtis
Try 1
Steffan Castle
Penalty 4

Match Report
08 August 2021 / Team News

BIRCH UNLUCKY AS DUNVANT SHADE OPENING GAME

Well at last competitive Rugby has returned to Parc Bedw in the shape of the newly created WRU Plate competition where  aside from today’s opponents Dunvant we are drawn in a group with Glynneath and Bonymaen. The four top placed teams in Division 1 South West before the lock down of March last year.

New Club Captain Josh Key (Following in the footsteps of his legendary father Andrew in captaining the Club) led his team out against a bulky Dunvant side.

The visitors soon started to play on  their weight advantage up front and drew first blood with a penalty from their rangy outside half. 3 – 0.

Birchgrove were full of effort and energy though as they continually defended against the forward effort and looked to bring their own driving game in to play. It was the visitors though who were to stretch their lead as a ruck ball gave their 10 an opportunity to slip through on what looked like a try scoring move. Brave defence though brought him down just short but the referee adjudged foul play and a second penalty put the visitors 0 – 6 in front.

Birch though were  not laying down and showed some pluck to steal an away line out and set up a number of forward dominated drives with usual culprits Liam Richards, Josh Key, Lewis Cox and new boy  Matthew Hutchinson (son of another Birchgrove front row legend Hutch) to the fore and were rewarded with a penalty which new outside half Steff Castle neatly slotted over 3 – 6.

Dunvant stormed back though with their forward orientated style and some unusually loose tackling from the home defence let them in for a converted try giving their number ten  a total points haul in their 13 -3 lead.

You could have feared for the worst here with about a half hour gone but the home team continued to  exhibit the fighting  quality that we have come to expect from Birchgrove squads. A forward battle provided some rare quick ball and for the first time another new signing illustrious  ex Osprey Hanno Dirksen had the opportunity to stretch his legs and show his undoubted class. As he accelerated away from the Dunvant defence with some ease you thought he could go all the way but showing astuteness as well as speed he quickly brought his supporting backs in to play and two passes later Luke Curtis was in at the corner for our first  try of the Season, unconverted 8 -13.

With renewed confidence we were now competing in all facets of the game and a further penalty from Steff Castle took us to the break at 11 – 13.

The second half started as the first finished but the tough forward exchanges started to bubble over in to some frustrated play which resulted in a first yellow for the visitors. A remarkable 40 yard penalty from Steff Castle against the wind was our reward and the lead for the first time in the game 14 -13. The pattern continued though as Birchgrove were then  issued a yellow followed by some dubious refereeing decisions which eventually culminated in a red card decision reducing the home team temporarily to 13 men and with the resultant penalty being converted adrift once again at 16 -14.

Once more the home team were asked to step up to the plate and once more they reacted positively and yet another extraordinary long range penalty from Steff Castle inched us once more in to the lead 17 – 16.

As the minutes ticked away this looked like a herculean effort that was going to end well for the 14 men .Defence remained solid , and the home support breathed a sigh of relief as a kick and chase from Dunvant ended in what appeared to be a home safety touchdown and  drop out 22. But a stunned crowd looked on incredulously as the referee awarded a contentious attacking 5 metre free kick from what transpired to be a touch in flight thereby technically creating a situation of the home side taking the ball over the line.

Pressure was inevitable from this God given attacking opportunity and the stretched defence of the home side eventually gave way to pressure and the visitors leaped with glee as they crossed the line for a converted try and a 17 – 23 lead.

But still the home side did not capitulate and a bullocking run from Lewis Cox looked like it may have given  us another bite of the cherry but fate was to return the ball in to the now frantic care of the opposition and play returned to the home half for a nail biting finale and a desperate away victory.

Great game and well done to everyone involved, a pleasure to be back watching such a gripping contest and on now to the next round when we visit Glynneath. The Kick off there has been altered to 1. o’clock to facilitate the home side who have players involved in a wedding.

See you there.

 

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