Briton Ferry RFC | 1st Team 8 - 32 Birchgrove RFC | 1st Team
Robert John
1 Try
Leigh Di'iulio
1 Try
Dale John
1 Try
Nicky Fisher
1 Conversion
1 Try
Lee Harris
1 Try
Josh Key
1 Try

Match Report
12 November 2017 / Team News


On the crest of a wave Birchgrove took the short trip over the Briton Ferry bridge full of confidence but conscious that previous visits there had not necessarily gone to plan ! So it was no surprise when early on the banana skin theory started to unfold when a combination of Passive Scrums, a heavy pitch and a pedantic referee added to a whirlwind start from the home side conspired to give Ferry the first chances of the game and the first score from a penalty 3 – 0.

The visitors though showed determination to get back in to the game even though the  home pack were intent on spoiling things in the close quarter exchanges and their young backs contingent were looking sprightly and happy to have a go from anywhere. Determination was to triumph though for the next score as the ever alert Rob Green charged down a clearance kick for the ball to fall to Tom Downing  smart hands on to Lee Harris and Josh Key saw winger Rob John comfortably over in the corner 3 -5.

The game then became bogged down in a hard and uneventful battle of the forwards where both sides were in unyielding mood and the visiting spectators yearned for the crisp running rugby that they had been treated to over the previous weeks. A combination of poor conditions, a reluctance to move the ball to the backs quickly and the sheer doggedness of the home eight prevented this however and it was the Ferry who took the lead in to half time with a smart piece of work from a quick penalty being carried on at some pace down the left wing with their wing touching down for an 8 -5 half time lead.

Birchgrove kicked off the second half playing with the slope and looked immediately as if they meant business and looking to exert the type of pressure their lofty table position warranted. A clean break from Josh Key was well supported and from the resultant ruck the under pressure home defence was forced to infringe and attract a yellow card from the sometimes too precise young referee. Birch having gained the foothold soon made it pay with a Leigh Di’lulio off load to Liam Garland creating space for Nick Fisher to go in for try number two which he also converted 8 – 12

A more settled visiting team were now playing far more intelligence and a Liam Garland kick provided them with another forward springboard from which to attack. A varied line out saw Josh Key take the ball at the back of the line and a typical powerful thrust and off load saw the supporting scrum half Di’liulio go in for try number three 8 -17.

More of the same was to follow as the home side, who must be congratulated for their resilience and resolute approach to the game were now offering little by way of a threat in attack. A strong run by busy open side Tom Lewis and an off load to Lee Harris saw the wing off on a jinking run. A lunge was to bring him to ground though but that man Key was on his shoulder once more to collect and this time take the spoils himself for the bonus point try 8 -22.

Two more Birchgrove tries to come as the game moved in to the final fifteen minutes. The first a classic attacking scrum move where the Captain Adam Percival, who had been quite magnificent in defence throughout the messy first half war of attrition, showed his other deft handling side to put Lee Harris in for try number five.

The second was to come from a Birchgrove clearance kick which initially was well fielded by the now drained home defence, prop Callum Llewellyn however still had the legs to follow up and cause enough confusion for the ball to squirt out in to no man’s land and substitute Dale John was quick to seize the opportunity and sprint in from almost half way for the final try 8 -32.

Not a classic by any stretch of the imagination particularly in the first half but an ugly five points is as important and as impressive as some of the more easy on the eye victories we have secured this year. Well done to both sides and to a man the Birchgrove support were quick to recognise the effort and tenacity of the home side who like many others in the league, ourselves included, before now have  found themselves in the unenviable  position of having a bare fifteen to work with still rolled up their sleeves and got on with the job.

I have also been informed by Team Manager Colin Kirkhouse that the Silver Ball placings have been updated and after six games played Birchgrove top the table with an impressive 12 points and 39 tries. The full table will be available on Allsports Wales website this week.

Swansea Uplands at home is the scheduled game for next week but watch this space as there may be a reshuffle due to the Wales v Georgia International fixture  kicking off at the same time





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