11 February 2019 / Club News

Dinas Powys 3 Bridgend Athletic 14 National League Div 1 East Central – Sat Feb 9th, 2019

A much-changed Bridgend Athletic side avenged an opening day home defeat by 3rd placed Dinas Powys by becoming only the third side to win at the Common this season. Top sides Glamorgan Wanderers and Rhiwbina were the other two, but even they could not match the Athletic preventing the determined home side from crossing the whitewash in an impressive 14-3 victory. Only outside half Aled Thomas (scrum half in that game) and centre Tom Jenkins survived in the back division, while props Matthew Muir and Wayne Fooks, lock Jonathon Stoker and back row forwards Sean Williams and Ben Davies also turned out in both fixtures.


For the second week running flanker and captain Ben Howe was MOM, while fellow back row forwards Ben Davies and Sean Williams were in the thick of the action throughout. The coaches have completely re jigged the back division with 6 of the selected backs aged 18-22, though full back Levi Hallett dropped out on the day to be replaced by permit player Jacob Williams a former Athletic scrum half who added his experience to the young back line. Two of the backs centre Tom Davies and wing Owain Leyshon have successfully converted from the back row this season.


Dinas Powys kicked off with the benefit of a strong wind and the slope in their favour. The Athletic responded with excellent ball retention as the whole front row of Fooks, Muir and Lee Murphy and locks Stoker and Ben Cording carrying effectively. Powys had been successful by moving the ball wide in the first game and despite wind advantage tried to adopt the same tactic from all parts of the field. They had no change out of centres Jenkins and Davies and wings Leyshon and Tom James who along with the back row of Howe, Davies and Williams tackled everything that moved. The deadlock was finally broken on the half hour when full Ben White kicked the home side ahead with a straight forward penalty inside the Athletic 22.


The Athletic pack were then in the ascendancy. The set piece scrum and lineout with Cording, Stoker and Williams effective allowed half backs Dan James and Aled Thomas to dictate play. The Athletic tried a 5-metre line out driving maul in the closing minute and were held up conceding a 5-metre scrum to Powys. However, with the final play of the half centre Tom Davies charged down the attempted clearance kick and successfully regathered to dive over under the posts for his third try of the season. Outside half Thomas converted to give the Athletic a 7-3 lead and leave the home side ruing their inability to capitalise on favourable first half conditions despite having plenty of possession.

In the opening minute of the second period Howe stripped the ball in a tackle and raced into the 22. He was hauled down just short. No 8 Ben Davies then went close before a knock on gave relief to the home side. Wings Owain Leyshon and Tom James then made good runs to keep the Athletic on the front foot. Outside half Thomas was also keeping the Athletic in advanced positions with astute tactical kicking.


After 55 minutes from a 5-metre driving maul Powys forced the Athletic in field and halted it just in front of the posts. However, diminutive scrum half Dan James picked up and spotting a gap raced through it untouched to cross for his 5th try of the season. It was also his 100th Athletic senior point with 20 tries in 47 appearances, showing his keen eye for scoring opportunities. Thomas converted to bring up a 14-3 Athletic lead.


From the restart the Athletic fumbled. This galvanised the home side who mounted attack after attack only to be repelled by a determined and well drilled and organised Athletic defence determined to extend their winning run to 6 games in the last 7 fixtures. Dan Apsee son of coach John played out the final quarter.


 Coaches John Apsee, Stuart Morris, David Williams, Gerald Williams & Team Manager Paul Hearne along with the superb attitude of the players in training deserve great credit for turning around the Athletics’ season. With only 14 points from the opening 9 games they have gained 25 points from the last 7 games to stand in 5th place in the table with 39 points.


The Athletic face another tough game away at Cambrian Welfare this Saturday Feb 16th to keep their momentum going.


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