03 April 2016 / Team News

Bargoed triumph in the mud


Bargoed showed their true Premiership material with this comprehensive victory over Emlyn on Saturday. Recent results had given the Emlyn supporters hope that maybe they could pull off a surprise victory against one of the top four sides in the Championship. It was not to be as the visitors from the Rhymney Valley put on an impressive display of forward power as they steamrollered their way to victory.

That the game was played at all was a credit to the hard working Newcastle Emlyn committee who spent the whole morning clearing the rain off the Dol Wiber pitch. Even then the pitch still resembled a mud bath and both sides deserve a huge vote of thanks for the entertaining game they served up for the large crowd. The difference in the end was the size and experience of the Bargoed team, inspirationally led by their hooker Leigh Meads. Two to three stone a man heavier than their Emlyn counterparts they made it count in the scrum and driving mauls as they went in search of a bonus point victory in their quest for promotion to the Premiership.

Emlyn, in fact, started the more positive of the two sides and took the early lead courtesy of two penalty goals kicked firstly by Shaun Leonard and then Dan Davies. They did have two other opportunities to add to their total but a cross kick by Leonard just bounced tantalising out of centre Teifion Davies’s grasp to end up in touch. Then scrum half Mike Jones broke on the blind side from a ruck but was unable to find winger Llyr Davies with what would have been a try scoring pass.

Bargoed came more into the game using their powerful centre Lewis Prothero to carry the ball up from scrums, and his strong running caused the Emlyn defence problems all afternoon. Their opening try came rather unexpectedly and slightly against the run of play. From a scrum just inside the Emlyn half the Bargoed scrum half Mathew Hutchins went on a run, managed to elude three tacklers, and fed the supporting full back Jordan Purcell who crossed for the opening try, converted by Mathew Hurley.

The greater weight and experience of the Bargoed forwards was beginning to tell as they decided to tighten up their game and reverted to some excellent driving mauls from the line out, which Emlyn were slow to defend. They began to exert a great deal of pressure on the Emlyn line and the red and whites were forced to defend desperately. The pressure eventually led to the ever alert Bargoed hooker Leigh Meads pouncing on a loose ball, which slipped out of the side of a ruck, to score a try converted by outside half Hurley.

Emlyn came back at Bargoed with a series of storming runs by their forwards as they went through ruck after ruck against a determined and organised visitors defence. A superbly weighted cross kick by Shaun Leonard forced Bargoed to concede a line out five metres from their line. For some inexplicable reason Emlyn decided to throw the ball to the back of the line, almost in defiance of the conditions. Unfortunately they did not win the ball and Bargoed were able to clear their line.

This led to a second line out on the five metres line and, when the Emlyn drive was halted, scrum half Mike Jones moved the ball out to his backs. A lovely three-quarter move saw full back Shaun Leonard time his entry into the line to perfection and looked certain to score but the Bargoed covering winger just managed to bring him down short of the line, on a dry day Leonard would have scored. The half ended with Emlyn exerting great pressure on Bargoed’s line with hooker and captain Alex Williams and scrum half Mike Jones being halted inches from scoring.

The second half was basically dominated by the visitors and Emlyn found it extremely difficult to get out of their own half. Bargoed, with their experienced forwards bossing the game, placed the Emlyn line under a great deal of pressure as they went searching for the bonus point win. After some twelve minutes they extended their lead with, predictably, a push over try from a scrum credited to their number eight Ross Coombs.

In desperation Emlyn tried moving the ball from deep inside their twenty two metre area and conceded a penalty at the breakdown. Bargoed predictably opted for a scrum and the red and whites, in their desperation to defend their line, conceded a penalty try which the excellent referee Simon Mills had no hesitation in awarding and outside half Hurley added the extra points.

After twenty minutes Emlyn did get out of their half and a quick throw in to a line out by replacement number eight Luke Kendall to Shaun Leonard saw the full back turn and look to outpace the defence. It said a great deal for Bargoed’s attitude that they somehow managed to get defenders back. Leonard possibly could have carried on himself but he passed to a supporting player who was brought down inches from the line.       

That, for the red and whites, was basically that as the Bargoed pack took control, and the remainder of the half, until the dying minutes, belonged to the visitors. With their scrum half Mathew Hutchins controlling matters it was a credit to the Emlyn defence that they managed to restrict them to just one more try. That came courtesy of centre Darren Humphries who latched on to a long pass to brush past a couple of Emlyn defenders to score a try converted by Hurley.

Emlyn did end the game in the Bargoed half as they looked to try and get a consolation score but found the visitors defence disciplined, well organised and committed. It was such a shame that conditions were so poor, because both sides looked as if they wanted to run the ball and play open rugby. The skill levels on both sides were extremely high but Bargoed’s greater strength and experience ensured that, in these conditions, there was only going to be one winner and they look certain to attain Premiership status next season. 

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