BARRY Rugby Club’s senior side made the short trip to Cowbridge last Saturday, with away supporters considerably outnumbering the locals, a direct result of Lyn Jones’s culinary Vale tour.
The playing surface was soggy but nowhere near as poor as the Stade de France of the previous weekend!
The first exchanges were desultory with the visitors showing their only-toocommon rustiness after a long lay-off. Coaches note!
The Cowbridge backs exhibited positive touches and pinned Barry into their own half for long periods.
They were justly rewarded with a penalty after 15 minutes.
The setback roused Barry into action. With second row forwards Scott and Degaura featuring strongly, the visitors mounted a series of determined attacks. Unfortunately several two-on-one opportunities were spurned by the threequarters. Buckland made ample amends on the half hour when he and O’Sullivan contrived to release centre Provis to race headlong for the line.
The Lee conversion was a formality. The home side were unlucky not to draw level when a good move was terminated by a foot narrowly straying over the touchline.
What happened next was inexcusable. Following a hefty tackle, one Barry player saw the red mist descend. Provoked or not, his reaction was unacceptable, and left the referee no alternative but to go to his pocket for the red card.
The offender will probably have plenty of time to ponder the error of his ways. He should also consider leaving his teammates to face well over half the match with 14 men.
From that moment on, any 50-50 decision by the man with the whistle went the way of the home side.
This was entirely the result of the red card and a continuous barrage of backchat from senior players who should have set a better examples to the less experienced members of the team.
Captain Tanner could not be criticised for these shortcomings as he rallied his troops to good effect after the break. He was ably supported by Scott, Evans and Degaura in ploughing forward and using the pack as first resort. However, they could not prevent Cowbridge taking the lead with an excellent try at the corner flag. The conversion sailed wide but the writing was on the wall for the visitors.
This was followed by a penalty under the posts following a Barry handling infringement.
To their credit, Barry stuck to the tactic of working through their forwards.
This soon gave Lee another penalty chance to cut the Cowbridge lead to a single point. Despite being a man short, the visitors began to dominate proceedings, with the younger members performing strongly. This gave the Barry backs the opportunity to cause their opponents some headaches.
A good position was set up on the home 22-metre line from which Buckland cleverly set up Provis for his second try of the afternoon.
The successful conversion put Barry six points clear.
Superior fitness and tactics began to see the visitors taking control for the remaining period. From broken play in the Cowbridge half, the visitors pushed forward again and were rewarded with a try by a friend of Evans, which unfortunately was too far out to convert.
This saw the game end in victory for Barry in what was a curate’s egg of a match. The bad part was the lack of discipline, which soured proceedings; the good part showed what correct tactics, efficiently executed, and superior fitness can achieve.
Barry: Ryan, Dix, Provis, Buckland Thorne, Hardy, Lee, Tanner (capt), Hadfield, Parker, Scott, Degaura, Hollister, Evans and O’Sullivan.
Replacements: Jennings and Poole.
Barry’s next game is at home to Penygraig at 2.30pm on March 2.