Match Reports 2011/12
Tredegar (13) Gilfach Goch (14)
Oct 29th 2011
The weather conditions played a big part in this low scoring game with handling errors and knock on's the staple diet of the afternoon.
The visitors pack dominated the early stages driving the Tredegar eight backwards from the first two scrums, with the boot of returning outside half Gregg Jones reliving the early pressure. The visitors took a fifth minutes lead through an Ian Davies penalty who, after missing an earlier range finder, made no mistake with his second opportunity (0-3).
With the Gilfach back line making the most of the strong wind at their backs, the first fifteen minutes was a scrappy affair with both teams finding the ball hard to hang onto. A second penalty for Davies on twelve minutes extended the visitors lead to six points. Tredegar’s front eight finally started to get to grips with their counterparts, and with Rhys Hallet’s clever play from the base of the scrum, Tredegar’s attack were unfortunate when a fine move resulted in a dropped pass in midfield, allowing Gilfach centre Ryan Evans to run unopposed towards the Tredegar try line before eventually being hauled down by Hallet just short of the line, when a pass out wide would have surely resulted in a try. Tredegar’s respite was short lived as from the resulting scrum, Josh Clark went diving over in the corner for an eleven nil lead .The try went unconverted.
With the driving rain relenting, the strong wind was still an advantage to Gilfach Goch, as outside half Gareth Walters pinned Tredegar in their own twenty-two with excellent kicks, but again any phases of play were almost impossible with the ball acting like the proverbial “bar of soap”.
With neither side able to command possession for any length of time, Tredegar conceeded another penalty close to the posts, compounded by an additional ten yards for backchat, giving Ian Davies an easy opportunity to extend the lead, but on this occasion the kicker inexplicably missed.
The Gilfach Goch Blind side flanker Lee Purnell was really imposing himself on the game and went rampaging through the home defence, before fumbling the ball and allowing Tredegar a rare foray into the Gilfach half, before another Tredegar offense relieved the pressure. On this occasion though, Purnell lost his discipline and incurred the wrath of referee Gareth Butler who overturned the original offense, added ten yards and awarded the penalty to Tredegar. The hosts first points of the afternoon kicked by Gregg Jones (3-11).
From the restart, Tredegar were placed under great pressure before a dropped ball in midfield, allowed Matthew McGovern to run through and collect the ball, sprinting from his own half towards the visitors try line, leaving the defenders chasing him in his wake. McGoverns run was at least 65 yards for the Tredegar try, converted by Jones for half time score of Tredegar 10 Gilfach Goch 11. On the balance of play and possession, the visitors would probably have been disappointed to only lead by a single point at the break.
Straight from the kick off, the referee missed an obvious knock on, and penalised Tredegar for a follow up offense. As the Tredegar pack questioned the decision, Will Evans was yellowed carded for what could only have been protesting too much. With the second half starting in the same way as the first, with poor handling and knock on’s, and with the strong wind dropping slightly, Gregg Jones was able to kick a penalty on 44 minutes to put Tredegar in front 13-11.
Moments after the restart , Tredegar regained possession and a terrific break by Rhys Hallet running 50 yards with the defence snapping at his heels, Hallet kicked the ball towards the try line, resulting in a straight chase between Tredegar winger Dom Pullin and opposing winger Andrew Mings, with the visitors winger just reaching the ball first to prevent a great try.
From the restart, the Gilfach were penalised for entering the ruck at the wrong side, and from the resulting penalty, Gregg Jones hit the post, and the ball bounced tantalisingly for Matthew McGovern who had followed up the kick, but the centre slipped at the vital moment, allowing the ball to be cleared.
With both teams now ignoring the conditions, and attempting to throw the ball around looking for space, the Tredegar supporters began to believe that the first win of the season was about to happen, and this belief seemed to transmit itself to the team. This belief was shattered when Tredegar Number 8, Alun Jenkins was sin-binned for a technical offence, and he was followed moments later by Gilfach’s number seven Pullen who had upset the referee for the final time. Both players seemed unlucky to receive yellow cards for nothing offenses.
A penalty awarded to Gilfach for a mystery offense gave Gilfach the opportunity to attack, and after electing to kick to the line, the pack drove on to the Tredegar five yard line with phase after phase before another handling error allowed Tredegar off the hook.
With the Gilfach pack again exerting its dominance in the latter stages, the visitors drove the Tredegar scrum backwards and over the line only to be held up. From the following scrum, desperate defence from Tredegar resulted in a deliberate knock on, allowing Davies to squeeze the penalty in past the left hand upright, with even Gilfach supporters in the main stand questioning whether it had cleared the upright. The referee gave the penalty for a 13-14 scoreline with minutes remaining.
Scrappy play in the last five minutes with tit-for-tat turnovers, Tredegar summoned one last attacking play before a crossing offense allowed Gilfach to clear their lines and hang on for the victory. Tredegar gained a losing bonus point in the 14-13 defeat, but were left wondering about what might have been.