Seconds pay the ultimate late penalty
10:09am Wednesday 16th October 2013 in Sport
LLANISHEN 2nd XV 24pts
BARRY 2nd XV 21
LOOKING for their first win of the season, the Barry Rugby Club Seconds returned to league action with this difficult away trip.
With numerous late withdrawals, coach Rhidian Scott and manager Ken Chow made several changes, bringing back Ethan Dix in the centre, promoting Jason Thomas to the starting line-up from the 3rd XV, and also including Will King on the bench. The team’s preparations were further disrupted by the manager’s lapse in memory, with kit only being delivered just before kick off.
The writing looked on the wall as the home side struck with a converted try within the first 10 minutes, punishing some poor tackling. Credit to the visitors, though, as they stuck at it and utilised their heavy pack in the scrum, which they dominated throughout. They were justly rewarded when Adam Lee stroked over a penalty.
From another such set piece, Barry took the lead. A solid platform was gained for scrum-half Rhidian Mepham to release Brad White to score out wide. Lee failed to add the extras - a first miss off his boot from16.
The game ebbed and flowed at great pace, with Barry showing superiority in the set pieces and the back division, whilst Llanishen gained the upper hand in the contact area with their aggressive approach. The home side edged in front again as they punished a Barry infringement with three points and, although the visitors had chances to score, they showed great naivety at times. A six-man overlap deep in the Llanishen 22 was butchered by some poor decision making, whilst they also turned down a penalty opportunity for Lee.
At half time the score was 10-8 and the game was very much in the balance. The introduction of King helped up the ante for the visitors as he tore into the opposition in all areas. Dix and Hewitson carried tirelessly in midfield, whilst White showed menace out wide. Both teams traded penalties to bring the score to 13-11, but it was the home side who struck the decisive blow next, executing a counter-attacking move which resulted in an unconverted try.
The two sides traded penalties again as the players tired and the level of discipline dropped.
Barry pushed for the score which would give them parity late on and, after runs from King and Mepham, with the side inches short of the line, they finally got their reward. Prop Jason Thomas burst through the Llanishen defence to set up King via a deft reverse pass to send the substitute across the try line. Lee added the extras to level the scores.
Barry were only minutes away from a share of the points but, alas, it was not to be and, from the last play of the game, Llanishen pushed deep into the Barry 22, drawing the penalty and gaining the three points for victory. It proved to be the last kick of the game.
Whilst the result was, ultimately, disappointing, Barry will look back at some good individual performances, but also ruing some poor decision making at crucial areas. The coaching staff will look to remedy that in training this week as they prepare for the visit of Llanrumney next Saturday.
Team: Lee; White, Dix, Hewitson, Poole; Mepham, Williams; Thomas, Vidal, Bowditch; Oaten, Elsworth; Case, Goodfellow and Rolfe (c).
Replacements: Turnbull, Westall, King and Avaient. Man-of-the-match: Dix