25 November 2019 / Club News

Waunarlwydd 12 Bridgend Athletic 17 Div 1 West Central – Sat Nov 23rd, 2019

With recent home wins over Birchgrove and Tondu and only a narrow 24-28 defeat by Kenfig Hill on the first game of season Waunarlwydd the home of Liam Williams is a tough place to get a result. This eventually proved the case for the Athletic who despite racing into a 17-0 lead were glad to hear the final whistle when Waunarlwydd staged a last 30-minute comeback to claw back 12 points of their deficit.


Despite heavy rain the pitch was in good conditions with both sides attempting to play rugby from the start. It was the Athletic who broke through when No 8 Ben Davies ran strongly at the home defence. The ball was quickly recycled via half backs Robin Davies and Luke Bevan reaching young wing Matthew Hobby on halfway from centre Tom Jenkins. Hobby chipped ahead regathered and drew the Waun full back inside his 22 before throwing a well-timed inside pass to flanker Ben Howe to cross wideout. Bevan converted to give his side a 7-0 lead.


Three minutes later flanker Sean Williams was held close to the Waunarlwydd line – but the home side were adjudged offside and Bevan extended the lead to 13-0. The Athletic were playing good intelligent rugby mixing rolling mauls, open play and good tactical kicking by half backs Robin Davies and Luke Bevan to keep the Athletic on the front foot. On the 20-minute mark Bevan put a penalty into touch 5 metres from the home try line. Hooker Lee Murphy found Williams and re-joined the maul as it raced at pace over the try line to extend his season’s Athletic leading try scorer to 5 touchdowns.


Williams was soon back in line out action this time stealing a Waunarlwyd throw in 5 metres from the Athletic try line. A few minutes later a Waunarlwyd penalty bounced back into play off the upright, when the Athletic fumbled Waunarlwyd had an attacking 5 metre scrum. Despite a large physical disadvantage, the Athletic front row Wayne Foosk, Lee Murphy and Mathew Muir forced Waun to concede a penalty. The only Athletic attacking move of the second quarter saw a good run out of defence by Sam Richards carried on by Ben Davies but a potential inside scoring pass failed to go to hand.


Head Coach John Apsee’s half time warning that unless the Athletic emulated their first quarter momentum they risked again defending in the final stages to win the game. This proved true as the large Waunarlwydd pack took control at the set piece scrum and aided by the Athletic conceding too many penalties forced their way back into the game.


In the 55th minute constant pressure tied in the Athletic defence and when the ball went wide wing Alan Pope had a free run into the corner. The Athletic freshened up their pack with lock Ben Cording, prop Callum Swinford and debutant youth hooker Ben Owen joining the action. The Athletic defensive tackling with the back row and centre Chris Price prominent kept the home side at bay until the 72nd minute. Waunarlwydd elected for a 5-metre scrum penalty. Their jumbo pack drove the Athletic 8 back over the line for No 8 Mark Besley to touchdown and outside half Josh Matushke to convert and set up a grandstand finish.


The Athletic have been in this situation before with all their 6 previous games going to the wire in a very competitive league varying between a single one-point loss and1- 6-point maximum wins on 4 occasions and a draw. Their resilience and character again shone through and when player coach 48-year-old Stuart Morris entering the fray in the 78th minute carried the final play towards the touchline, scrum half and MOM Robin Davies gratefully kicked the ball off the field. Although high hopes had been held after 20 minutes of a bonus point victory today’s 5-point win was the largest home losing margin for the Rams of Waunarlwydd.


This win means the Athletic are in 3rd place with 23 points from 5 wins a draw and loss. 5 games have been played away including the current run of 4 successive away wins.


Coaching advisor Gerald William commented. “Pleased with results but not enough points scored, but little more trust and work to be done on our decision making in our game. Indecision costing us by then giving penalties away. Boys working hard though and hope couple injuries back soon too.”

Gerald a former Wales scum half well placed to comment on Mom Robin Davies. “Robin thought he played well at doing No 9 basics well passing and kicking game very good considering there hasn't been consistent time for him at that position. Always willing to fill in position. Well Done Robin.”


This Saturday is an early home kick off at 12pm at Newbridge Fields in a rearranged local derby against Nantyfyllon. The Ath’s first home league game since the 20-20 draw with 2nd placed Dunvant. on September 28th.


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