Crumlin V Hafodyrynys
15th October 2016.
The look on head coach Ryan Thomas’ face at the final whistle said it all……….“That was a wake up call, big time!!!”.
It was derby day at the Kay field with the much anticipated return of the most local of rugby neighbours, Hafodyrynys RFC. In a game which promised all that derbies should be, after the Crumlin team secured a sweet victory in the last game of the season, the scene was set for a ding dong affair.
Both teams looked well up for it during the pre-match warm up, which saw the return of Hafod loose head and team manager Scott Gameson pilgrim his way to his spiritual rugby home where he led the black and ambers for a record seven seasons.
The pitch looked great, the stand with its fresh coat of paint looked great and the Crumlin team in their new kit looked great. The weatherman was also blessing the “near to capacity” crowd with some glorious autumnal sunshine. This really was all that local community rugby should be.
Getting a strong start is paramount in any game and it was the Hafod who were first to rise. Straight from the kick off after the ball was secured, Hafod number 8 Kyle Griffiths went on a barn storming run beating a number of Crumlin defenders to set the home side reeling on their heels.
On the face of it, the Crumlin pack were a little out muscled by the larger, more experienced Hafod eight, but endeavoured to stick to their task even when the scrum was under obvious pressure. With the away team pressing and the Crumlin team struggling to secure and make use of any clean ball, the first try came to the visitors after 6 minutes. It was number 8 Griffiths who crossed through a scramble of players to dab down in the right corner. The conversion was missed.
It was time for the Crumlin team to settle as the game was never going to be won on defence. During the next 20 minutes the Crumlin team pieced together a number of passages of play which is almost becoming a trait of the team. The interplay between backs and forwards at time was delicate with the intention of keeping the ball alive and avoiding contact a clear strategy. Running the larger “more rotund” Hafod players around was paying dividends as a few of them started to blow.
Rhys Davies (an ex Hafod player himself) was keen to lead from the front and was well supported by fellow forwards Lloyd Bryant and Cory Allen. Ashley Giles continued to busy himself along with centres Ben Booton and Craig Thomas.
The Crumlin team started to press with some well placed kicks by number 10 Jason Sheppard. A handling error by the Hafod 15, found the home team with a scrum in the strike zone. As the inevitable shove came on, the ball came hurtling back to number 8 Rhys Davies to feed Ashley Giles to scamper down the blind slide beating the slow to react Hafod back row. With the line begging the invisible lasso was whipped out and Giles fumbled before grounding. A definite chance went begging.
This was the last time the home team was to trouble the whitewash with any real gusto.
With a perfectly timed mincing flick of his wrist, Derek “the weatherman” Brockway brought the showers he had promised as the rain started to fall. After being shaken by the near miss, the more experienced Hafod team realigned their focus and were soon pressing again.
The Hafod backs showed some intelligent running and great angles by the Hafod 12 after combing well with their 10 was splitting the defence only to be foiled by some last grasp tackles by the Crumlin 15, Louis Booton. The gaps started to appear as the Crumlin defence started to creak and the Hafod crossed between the posts after 32 minutes with an easy conversion to follow.
The worsening conditions and the rejuvenated Hafod pack were really making it tough for the home team to secure and hold the ball for any phases. Errors were being made with loose kicks, spilled passes and players running into waiting Hafod defence.
There was time for another try before the half time break and it was the turn of the Hafod 10 to cross the white wash following another period of the sustained pressure.
It wasn’t pretty, but it was proving to be pretty effective for the visitors.
19 points to Nil at half time.
The second half came and almost went by without interest.
The slippery conditions and strength of both sets of defence was making it easy for the referee to keep control of the game.
The changes were being made and player coach Kris Moses entered the affray at 10 and brought his usual calm steady effects to the play. With his dad, the ever youthful Gus Moses, running the Hafodyrynys line adding the occasional 5 yards to his golden boy’s kicks, there was a hope for a bit of a comeback. Alas, it was to be to no avail.
Hafod wrung their own changes and their stalwart Chris Wall came on to guarantee any loose ball on the floor was going be hotly contested especially as the rain was making it all a bit ugly.
The first score of the second half came with 10 minutes left on the clock with a try to the Hafod before they rounded it off by slotting over a penalty with practically the last kick of the game.
Hafod ran out deserving winners scoring 27 points without reply. Full time Crumlin 0 – 27 Hafodyrynys.
This was a game of mixed fortunes for the Crumlin team. They showed at times signs of class with decent handling skills and a desire to open up. The defence, on the whole, stood up against a hungrier, more established attack. The set piece was under pressure all game, but the lads stuck to the task and fought well for any 50/50. However, there were also times were some players were found wanting, taking wrong options in attack, looking for unnecessary contact and appeared to be hiding come tackle time. I’m sure the coaches will have picked up on this and will address all positives (and negatives) on the grass in training.
This was a day for community rugby and that was evident on the field, in the stand and in the club house afterwards. Both sets of players, supporters and committee embraced the occasion and a good time was had by all.
The next few games see us on the road with the relatively short trip to Beaufort before tackling the M54 with a trip to Denbigh in the cup.
We need to keep on keeping on.
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