09 October 2017 / Club News

Bridgend Athletic 2nd XV 16 Cefn Cribbwr 1st XV 17

Bridgend Athletic 2nd XV 16 Cefn Cribbwr 1st XV 17

Welsh Bowl 2nd Round – Sat Oct 7th 2017


Bridgend Athletic 2nd XV competing in the Welsh Bowl cup competition by joining the newly formed Welsh Conference came within two minutes of upsetting Div 3 West Central B leaders Cefn Cribbwr. A last-minute penalty saw the unbeaten Riders this season gain a narrowest of margins 17-16 victory at Newbridge Fields.


Cefn with a dominant scrum and a strong wind advantage tried to impose themselves from the off. Resilient defence with centre Luke Yardley prominent kept them at bay. Failing to heed warnings from the referee the Athletic gifted Cefn two penalties goaled by Joe Gaalafant. A quickly taken Athletic lineout went wrong and Cefn turned over possession to move the ball wide where a missed tackle saw wing Dan Harris cross to open a 11-0 gap.


The Athletic then changed tack playing a more expansive game to stretch a heavier Cen 8. This should have paid dividends when they created a 4 man overlap only to see a wayward miracle pass thrown and dropped when straightforward passing would have paid dividends. They suffered a double whammy when Cefn broke away and Luke Hollyman was sin binned for a tackle the referee judged too high.


Turning around the second half the tactics were to make use of the wind and play inside the Cefn half. Outside half Scott Govan put in a 70 metres clearance kick well chased by Nick Jones, Josh Seldon and the ever-present Tom Davies, putting pressure on the Cefn clearance. Captain Nick Jones caught the ball ran at speed chipping the full back and winning the race to touchdown. Govan converted.

The Athletic were now on the front foot with excellent ball carrying from forwards Gareth Bartlett, Geraint Lang and Rhys Evenden and turnovers gained by Geraint Lang, Aled Pilliner and Tom Davies. The backs with Luke Yardley, Rhys Pickford and Luke Hollyman were creating problems with the hard-won forward possession. The pressure led to a penalty goaled by Govan to reduce the deficit to 11-10. Further pressure saw another Govan penalty put his side ahead at 13-11 for the first time.


Lack of concentration at the restart saw the ball dropped and the heavier Cefn 8 carrying strongly. Once again discipline let the Athletic down and a series of offsides tested the referee’s patience leading to a yellow card for flanker Tom Davies and Cefn restoring their lead to 14-13 with a Gaalafant penalty.


The Athletic applied pressure from the restart and from a scrum Govan sat in the pocket protected by his pack to slot a drop goal to put the Athletic ahead 16-14 with 5 minutes to play. Poor game management saw the Athletic kick away possession into the middle of the park in the dying minute. Cefn set up a ruck. The Athletic again transgressed offside and Gaaflant’s fourth penalty snatched victory for the relieved Riders from the jaws of defeat.


Athletic Player team manager Liam Griffiths said “This was a game the Athletic contrived to lose. Two yellow cards, repeated offsides and game management saw the Athletic 2nd XV waste a golden opportunity to cause a major upset against a strong Cefn side challenging for promotion to Div 2 of the National leagues. For 90% of the game the team were excellent, it is the 10% of mismanagement they need to put right”

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