07 January 2019 / Club News

Treorchy 12 Bridgend Athletic 16


Treorchy 12 Bridgend Athletic 16

National League Div 1 East Central – Sat Jan 5th, 2019


A second consecutive match seasonal league double saw Bridgend Athletic come away with a last gasp final play Will Barraclough try to win a memorable Div 1 East Central victory against 3rd placed Treorchy with a 16-12 victory at their Oval Ground.


It was a victory against the odds following the late withdrawal of Athletics’ No 8 Ben Davies and flanker Tom Davies leaving the Athletic with only 3 replacements including coach Stuart Morris. Following a reshuffle of the pack Sean Williams moved from lock to No 8, Jonathon Stoker filled the vacant lock position and former Youth captain and Ospreys Development player Joe Grabham started at flanker. Youth full back Levi Hallett made a very creditable 1ST XV debut growing into the game with time, while normally scrum half Aled Thomas became the 6th player this season to occupy the injury ravaged No 10 slot. He has now played every back position for the Athletic and once again proved his versatility.


Treorchy possess one of the best back divisions in the league, but the Athletic pack assumed early control starving them of possession. The Athletic front row of props Rhodri Apsee and Matthew Norman and hooker Lee Murphy consistently drove the home 8 backward in the scrum putting the Athletic on the front foot. The early pressure saw Treorchy caught offside in the third minute and Hallett marked his debut with his first points with a well struck penalty. Locks Stoker and Will Petchell were good ball carriers and provided the weight for the Ath to drive Treorchy back at another set scrum resulting in Hallett kicking his second penalty.


Despite the Athletics’ dominance up front the Athletic bombed two opportunities to cross the whitewash with players ignoring blatant overlaps. Treorchy were pinned behind their own goal line when the Ath missed a tackle and Treorchy broke away. Swift handling saw wing Liam Lloyd show the Athletic how to finish rounding off a length of the field move to reduce the deficit to 6-5.


With minutes of the half remaining Treorchy forward lock Will Griffiths lost his cool and was dismissed with a red card for punching an Athletic player on the floor. Athletic wing Owain Leyshon went on a barnstorming run with the final play of the half but was held inside the home 22.


Despite being a man down Treorchy started the second half on the front foot. No 8 Cory Dunn ran a good line beating would be Athletic tacklers to cross for a try converted by outside half and captain Jordan Lloyd to put the Zebras 12-6 ahead. Treorchy also made a front row change which nullified the Athletic drive.


The pattern of play continued with the Athletic back row of Ben Howe, Sean Williams and Joe Grabham prominent in defence and attack helping along with centres Chris Price and Tom Jenkins to stifle the normally fluent Treorchy three quarter plays. Although half backs Dan James and Aled Thomas were bringing centres Chris Price and Tom Jenkins into play they were unable to breach a solid Treorchy defence. With 15 minutes remaining the Athletic forwards kept the ball tight. The impressive Matthew Norman was held but when the ball was recycled fellow prop Rhodri Apsee was on hand with some deft footwork and strength to beat three players and cross wide out to reduce the Athletics’ deficit to 12-11.


The game then went flat for 10 minutes before Athletic captain Ben Howe leading by example asked his side for a last big effort. With two minutes remaining Hallett unfortunately struck a penalty against the upright. The Athletic refused to give in and battered the Treorchy try line for the remaining two minutes of the game. Following a series of close-range pick and goes the backs moved the ball wide to wing Will Barraclough. Although seemingly well marked he stepped inside his opponent and held off a tackle to cross wide out with the final play to give the Athletic a well-deserved league double and narrow 16-12 win.


Athletic Head Coach John Apsee was full of praise for the 15 players who played unchanged throughout singling out flanker and captain Ben Howe and prop Matthew Norman for outstanding performances.


This Saturday the Athletic visit league leaders Glamorgan Wanderers hoping to complete a hat trick of successive wins and cancel out a narrow 10-8 league defeat back in September.



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