04 February 2019 / Club News

Division 1 East Central - Sat Feb 2nd, 2019

Bridgend Athletic 26 Porth Harlequins 15

Division 1 East Central - Sat Feb 2nd, 2019


Man of the Match Bridgend Athletic captain Ben Howe led his side to a bonus point 26-15 win over Porth Harlequins in a Div 1 East Central fixture, avenging a controversial 20-18 loss earlier in the season. The Athletic are now showing last season’s form when they finished 3rd in Division 1 West Central with their fifth win in the last six games moving them to 5th place in the table.


It was the visitors who started on the front foot and took a third minute lead with a penalty from Jordan Evans. The Athletic responded with centre Tom Davies penetrating the first line of defence and running strongly into the Porth 22. Porth managed to halt the move but conceded a 5-metre line out. Hooker Lee Murphy found lock Ben Cording and against a far heavier pack the Athletic drove a maul towards the visitor’s line with Howe in possession. Twisting and turning from left to right the Athletic drove over the whitewash for Howe to claim the try. Outside half Stuart Floyd – Ellis converted to put his side 7-3 ahead. Unfortunately, Athletic scrum half Aled Thomas injured his shoulder in a tackle during the move and was replaced by Dan James.


Porth quickly replied. They went blind from a ruck inside the Athletic 22 for centre Leon Rowlands to cut back inside and cross under the posts. Evans conversion put Porth 10-7 ahead. There was little to choose between the sides until in the 37th minute Athletic No 8 Ben Davies broke from the back of a scrum on half way and threw a pass out to wing Tom James. Porth scrambled the ball into touch for a 5-metre Athletic line out. The visitors halted the initial drive but scrum half Dan James fed Floyd-Ellis who popped a pass to Ben Davies who in turn found hooker Lee Murphy. Murphy drove for the line and when held just short popped a pass to the supporting flanker Howe to drive over for his 7th try of the season. Floyd Ellis converted to give the Athletic a 14-10 interval lead.


Howe then turned provider. He ripped a ball from a Porth player on half way and chipped to the corner flag. Good following up by Howe and James saw Porth forced into touch just short of the line. A driving maul was halted but James broke blind to feed Ben Davies who crashed through defenders to cross in the corner. Following making the score 19-10 Davies left the field to be replaced by Joe Grabham.


Both sides were attempting to play open rugby making for a good spectacle. Despite Porth having a far larger packand enjoying plenty of possession their scrum got no change from the Athletic front row of props Matthew Muir, Wayne Fooks, replacement Matthew Norman and hooker Murphy, with Murphy winning an important strike against the head. Flanker Sean Williams was dominant in the line out sneaking a few Porth throw ins with Porth in strong attacking positions. Locks Cording and Jonathon Stoker were also carrying well.


Porth were trying to stretch the game but the Athletic defence marshalled by Howe was superb on the day with centres Tom Jenkins and Tom Davies and wing Owain Leyshon and full back Levi Hallet all rock solid in defence.


With 12 minutes remaining the Athletic were awarded a 5-metre scrum. Scrum half James released Floyd-Ellis who ran wide and worked a scissors with centre Tom Davies for Davies to sprint home from 15 metres. Floyd – Ellis converted the bonus point try to give the Athletic a 26-10 lead.


Porth hit back two minutes later taking a quick tap penalty inside the Athletic 22 and moving the ball wide for their second try to reduce the deficit to 26-15. The visitors then threw everything into attack looking for a losing bonus point but were unable to penetrate a determined and well organised Athletic defence and had to return home empty handed.


In a great team performance Athletic coaches John Apsee and David Williams singled out the three Bens – Howe, Cording and Davies and hooker Murphy in the pack while Stuart Floyd-Ellis returning from the Ravens for the day had a very good game dictating play from outside half. Coach Gerald Williams summed up saying “We were outstanding in defence and clinical in attack taking our opportunities when we were inside the Porth 22.”


This Saturday ahead of the Italy – Wales International the Athletic visit 3rd placed Dinas Powys for a rearranged Div 1 East Central fixture – kick off 1pm.


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