Sully Sports move to the top
10:50am Thursday 25th October 2012 in Sport
FIRST TRY: Jon Blake stretches for the line to score Sully Sports' first try in Saturday's tremendous victory at Hartridge. Picture: A G Powell.
HARTRIDGE RFC 8pts Sully Sports 1sts 23
SULLY SPORTS Rugby Club 1sts moved to the top of the WRU Division 6 (South East) after travelling to Newport for this top-of-the-table clash. With both sides having won all their previous games, this looked to be an exciting encounter and lived up to expectations.
From the start, both sides threw everything at it, the forwards being well matched and all aspects of forward play being well contested. After 10 minutes of hard, tight play, Sully conceded a penalty just inside their own half which was well converted.
This seemed to spur Sully on and, for the next 15 minutes, play never moved out of the Hartridge half. With Sully winning two penalties during this period, playmaker Chris Cummings put boot to leather and gained his side six valuable points.
After a period of scrappy play, Sully’s forwards again stepped up their workrate and slowly turned the screw with a series of strong forward drives. Second row Jon Blake took a well timed ball on the front foot and drove forward a good 10 metres to crash over and taking four Hartridge defenders with him. A most welcome try, it served to settle the nerves of the Sully players and supporters alike. The reliable Cummings duly stepped up and converted to take the score to 13-3. Hartridge responded and spent the remainder of the first half camped on Sully’s line to no avail as the visitors defended like Trojans and protected their 10-point buffer as the half time whistle brought an audible sigh of relief from the line.
The second half saw the hosts playing into the bright afternoon sun which Sully Sports duly exploited by frequently hoisting the ball into the glare; this tactic ensured that the game stayed in Hartridge's half, with both Sully Sports' wingers constantly putting pressure on the home defence. Following one such kick, the Hartridge full back was pressurised into holding onto the ball unlawfully, giving Sully a penalty 12 yards out near the touchline. As Hartridge remonstrated with the referee, assuming that Cummings would go for goal, quick thinking scrum half John Dimond, in a piece of individual brilliance, took a quick tap penalty and darted for the line to score a superb try which was converted by Cummings. Sully now led 20-3.
Not long after the restart, Hartridge lost a player to a red card for a second “dump tackle” and Sully decided that it was time for some fresh legs. Peter Brown came into the second row for the hard working Alex Szuchnik and Sam Bowditch replaced hooker Ben Such, who was, by now, limping quite badly. This seemed to lift the game again with big carries into contact. Five minutes later winger Dave Stillman got a well deserved breather as he made way for Jake Williams who made his presence felt almost immediately with a strong try-saving tackle.
Now looking to take their biggest scalp to date, Sully were trying their utmost to shut the game out and the visitors made their final replacement when Jody Velda, who had played a blinder at tight head, was replaced by prop Dan Stillman.
To their credit Hartridge never gave up and, after a period of sustained pressure inside the Sully 22, they managed to cross the whitewash in the corner to score a try which went unconverted.
The game finished with Sully as worthy victors in a game that was, in no small part, down to putting into practice all that they had rehearsed during training. A credit, indeed, to Grantley Harris for the excellent coaching that has been provided. Sully Sports RFC are a club in the ascendancy. Two seasons ago they won promotion from the Cardiff and District Rugby Union into the WRU. They gained promotion from Division 7 to 6 in their first year and are now top of the table and looking for local businesses to come aboard, for the trip, as sponsors. Any interested parties should contact club secretary Anthony Powell via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The club wish to thank all their sponsors especially Lift Services (South Wales) for providing the 1st XV shirts and CJ Contract Travel for providing all transportation.
Next week the 1st XV take a break from league action to play Cambrian Welfare RFC in the second round of the Swalec bowl.
A G P WHITCHURCH 2nds 0pts SULLY SPORTS 2nds 57 BACK IN action after three weekends without a game, Sully Sports Rugby Club Seconds were eager for action in perfect weather and ground conditions.
Setting their stall out right from the start, they scored in the opening minute, with lock Ian Moore finishing off a sweeping inter-passing move originating from deep in their own half.
A minute later and, at the first scrum of the game, the Sports' pack demolished the home eight, driving them off their own put in, and it looked very ominous for Whitchurch prospects. As a result of this initial scrum, one of the home props left the field injured, and on came the player coach at outside-half, with a centre going into the pack, thus resulting in passive scrums. This provided the home team with good possession for the remaining 78 minutes and, as it transpired, the Sports' forwards also dominated the line-outs, rucks and mauls.
With the abundance of ball produced by the pack, Sports' sharper, quicker backs cut the home threequarters to shreds, and the only surprise was that the visitors did not score a lot more points. Many chances went begging, especially in the first period, as players often tried too hard, and opted for the spectacular chip kick rather than simply keeping the ball in hand and using the supporting runner.
It took another 20 minutes for Sports to register their second try when, from a scrum 40 metres out, a blindside move saw winger Scott Williams' pace and sidestep put him in at the posts. Outside-half Mike Saunders added the conversion.
Over the next 10 minutes the Sports had two “tries” disallowed as flanker Harry Moyle was judged to be in front of Saunders when he deftly chipped to the line and then prop Andrew Penberthy was judged to have been given a forward pass; this was all before the pressure yielded a try for scrum-half Mike Mees, who finished off a move in which just about all Sports' players handled at least once.
After the half-time talk, the Sports played a much more basic game, carrying and supporting the ball to release the backs as soon as the home outfit were on the back foot. The Sports' threes were also devastating on the counter, running back any relieving defensive kicks that failed to find touch.
Tries came at regular intervals and, from a scrum on the home 22, the forwards went blind; after two drives, the ball was switched inside where Saunders jinked in for a try, which he also converted.
A few minutes later Whitchurch, on a rare incursion into the Sports' 22, lost possession, and the ball was quickly moved out to full-back Craig Hanley, who outpaced the defence in a 75 metres run to the posts. Saunders added the extras.
Again, another turnover on the Sports' 10-metre line was superbly moved right across the field, and Williams set off on a 40 metres weaving run, and expertly switched the ball to Saunders on the home 22. This gave him an open run to the line for a try and conversion.
The home defence was tiring under the constant Sports pressure and, trying to work the ball out from their own line, they lost it again and a few quick passes saw prop James Jenkins crash over for a try.
As the game drew to a close Whitchurch mounted an attack but, throwing a desperate pass in the Sports 22, Hanley intercepted to sprint unopposed the 70 metres for his second try, converted by Saunders.
Right on time, Hanley fielded a kick deep in his own half and looked certain to score his hat-trick, only to be caught metres out. However, Saunders was on his shoulder to take the offload and get his hat-trick try. Replacement flanker Scott Mills added the conversion to cap the Sports' best display of the season so far but praise must go to the whole side for their great teamwork and their concentrated efforts on using and supporting the ball. Whitchurch also deserve praise for their efforts as they never gave up trying to stop the overwhelming onslaught from a vibrant Sully Sports.
Club Notes: On Saturday, October 27, the 1st XV, after last week’s tremendous league victory at Hartridge, are on the road again, with a tough SWALEC Bowl game at unbeaten Cambrian Welfare. The 2nds are also away to Cardiff High School.
It was good to see so many supporters last Saturday cheering on both sides, and everyone is reminded that there is a “Halloween Nite” at the Sully clubhouse this Saturday.
Best wishes go to coach Grantley Harris, who left the club last week.