Crumlin V Beaufort (away) 22nd October 2016.
“We’re on top of the world” was the comment from one die hard Crumlin supporter following today’s fixture against Beaufort. I think the comment was based more on the geographical location rather than the spell binding performance which eventually saw Crumlin run out comfortable 38-23 winners.
It was time to get the league campaign back on track following the rather one sided affair last time out at home to the Hafod. Given the availability of players due to work commitments and injuries, it was a day to rely on the strength of the squad to step up and fulfil this potential banana skin of a fixture. The team sheet displayed a few players out of position, none more so than the front row inclusion of Luke Pigeon on the loose head with Gavin Spencer switched to the tight.
The team also saw the inclusion of the near to veteran half back pairing of Kris Moses and permitted Hafodyrynys scrum half Mark Williams.
It was fair to say that both teams had experienced some mixed fortunes in the league so far this year which reflected well in the league standings. The game was being hailed as a “6 pointer” even this early in the season.
It was the Crumlin team who was first to impress with their hunger to secure any loose ball and seemed determined to play the rugby deep in the opposition’s half. With the slight breeze behind them, Moses was able to pick his spot with pin point accuracy with his kicking out of hand to ensure the Beaufort team remained penned in.
It wasn’t long before the first score came the way of the Black and Amber’s through a Moses penalty. This was quickly backed up by two well worked tries as the Crumlin team showed they were more than capable of spinning the ball. Gavin Spencer got on the sheet as a gap opened up the size of the American presidential race to see him go galloping in from the 25. This was shortly followed by Ben Booton who showed a clean pair of heels to the covering Beaufort defence after the ball broke in midfield. He scooped up a bobbling ball to make a long looping run to make the corner almost untouched from 35 yards. 15 –Nil after 15 minutes played.
With the Crumlin team seemingly cruising, the Beaufort team decided enough was enough and started to claw their way back in. All of a sudden, any loose ball was not so easily gifted to the visitors and the home team set about playing more to their strengths, using their larger pack to good effect come scrum and maul time.
The young referee was keen to ensure his young clean cut look was reflected in this clean cut game and the stats appeared to favour the home side with a highly disproportionate penalty count. The Beaufort 10 stepped to record his team’s first points with cleanly hit penalty. 15-3.
With the spirits lifted, the Beaufort team pressed on and a handsome passage of good interplay between the home team brought about a well worked try. The score board ticked over 15-8 with the conversion narrowly missed.
Seeing that his team needed a lift, Moses floated the perfect re-start for his forwards to recapture. Swift ball recycled from Williams found Moses in the pocket to send over the sweetest of drop goals from 40 yards. 18-8.
There was still time for another try for the visitors courtesy of XXXXX before the half time whistle blew.
Beaufort 8 – 23 Crumlin.
A slightly more defiant Beaufort team started the second half who were clearly keen to get stuck in. A few charging runs the from the home side's back row required a number of big hits to be made and the Crumlin pack stepped up.
Alas, PEEEEP!!! went the referee’s whistle to pull back Rhys Davies has he delighted in brandishing the yellow card to the Crumlin skipper for continued use of the shoulder barge in the tackle.
Keen to make the most of the one man advantage, the Beaufort 10 slotted over the penalty before finding himself very quickly teeing up again after seeing his team score another well worked try in the corner. The sinking feeling started with the travelling support even though we were up 23-18.
With the full team restored, Moses had another chance to extend the Crums lead with another penalty.
The Crumlin team started playing with the consistency of Paul Hollywood’s iced fingers showing phase after phase of clean re-cycling and good decision making to see them progress up the field. With forwards and backs alike offering themselves up as runners, Ryan Thomas dabbed down after Mark Williams had gone very close. The referee felt the full lashing of the Crumlin side line after the Beaufort wing lashed a foot on the side of the ruck only for the referee to take no action after explaining he was “playing advantage”.
With 10 minutes of the half remaining and maybe a touch of the guilts nagging away at him, the referee pulled up the Beaufort blind side for pulling it down and sent him to the bin.
Time for a couple more scores before the final whistle blew with Crumlin coming out on top 38-23 winners. We wish Beaufort all the best for the remainder of the season and looking forward to hosting them in the spring.
All in all, another positive performance. This young Crumlin side are quickly developing into a team who knows how to enjoy the game. There is enough talent at the set piece to secure clean ball, a desire to run intelligently and hard working management who are focussed on bringing the most out of players individually whilst developing the team structure.
A few players to note again included a leaders role from Rhys Davies, a great shift from second row Callum Jenkins, continued consistency from Gary Harrison and determined running from Beefy Meade at full back. For a while it looked like the autumn special of the “Moses and Williams” show with both elder statesman controlling the game with authority.
Cup round this coming week in North Wales and a return to the old stomping ground of Denbigh RFC. A placed filled with fond memories for many a Crumlin player. I’m sure it will prove to be a trip with even more memories made.
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