View's victory with Huggins' last-minute try

SEA VIEW RFC 23pts

BLAENGARW 17

THERE was last-minute drama at Barry Comprehensive School on Saturday as Sea View clinched this exciting victory.

With the View pack seemingly still in the changing room, the visitors easily overturned the very first ruck and popped the ball blind for an unconverted try after just a minute. View couldn't have envisaged such a swift blow, but responded with some fantastic clear-outs by the forwards to prevent the visitors repeating their early feat. With View gaining more and more time in opposition territory, indiscipline from Blaengarw resulted in a penalty to the home side which Dai Harris landed with ease.

Unfortunately, first choice centre James Braithwaite was forced to leave the field with a hamstring injury, and he was replaced by Josh Barker as Leigh Horne slotted into the centre.

After the restart, View man of the match Stevie Platt took his side deep into the Blaengarw half and, when scrum half Tom Cotter fired the ball right with one of his trademark 'rocket' passes, Harris kicked a 25-yard drop goal.

Another restart and another catch by Matt O'Connell soon took View back into enemy territory, but, with the visitors showing too much aggression at the breakdowns, there were uncontrolled bursts of anger from both sides and the referee sin-binned two Blaengarw players and the View's Richard Jordan for various episodes of indiscipline.

Some swift hands and a great interchange between forwards and backs found View winger Danny Morris with the ball in the corner and his very low centre of gravity assisted him in breaking two tackles and grounding the ball for an unconverted try. Morris soon found himself in an identical situation but a strong tackle by a defender dislodged the ball as he half celebrated a second try.

Although Blaengarw enjoyed a decent amount of possession, the View defence held strong, with Morgan and Josh Barker scooping up difficult balls and clearing effectively.

When View were awarded a penalty near the Blaengarw line, Dave 'Biscuit' Vieira took a quick tap penalty and powered through a number of defenders to score an unconverted try and give his side a 16-5 half-time lead.

In contrast to most of the first half, possession and dominance sat firmly with the visitors after the break, finding inner desire that they appeared to have lacked in the first half.

With a number of short kicks over the View defence causing some serious problems, it was only a matter of time before they had the luck of the bounce and, when that arrived, it was an unconverted try and game on at 16-10 to the home side.

Chris Brown replaced a weary O'Connell, who had worked his socks off, but an awkward ruck resulted in an injury to the View skipper who reluctantly left the field with a suspected rib injury. He was replaced by Ryan Prosser, who has returned to the club.

Again the View piled on the pressure and spent ten minutes in the opposition half. Gareth Foxall was replaced by Morgan O'Keefe, who cut some lovely angles, and, despite more great carries by Platt and Nathan Pearson, attacks fizzled out due to strong defensive work.

A missed 77th penalty by Harris signalled a rollercoaster finish.

Unfortunately, this was followed by a wayward pass fromHarris which was intercepted and, following a chase to the View line and a number of breakdowns and set pieces, Blaengarw's big second row, who had earlier argued with O'Connell over who most hair, wriggled his way over with just a minute left. To the horror of the View boys, standing dejected under the posts, the conversion was successful and a one-point defeat stared them in the face.

However, in true 'never say die' spirit, View sprinted for the restart and chased Harris' outstandingly placed kick. With the noise and spirit of the chasing pack distracting the Blaengarw receiver, who knocked on, the View pack recycled the ball and good presentation, a good pass out, a short inside pass to the returning Prosser and a big hit and drive from Leigh Horne followed. With the previously solid Blaengarw defence parting like the Red Sea, the ball moved through four pairs of hands before club stalwart Damion Huggins cut inside to score near the posts and spark scenes of utter pandemonium from players and supporters. Harris kept his cool to land the conversion as the referee blew for full time.

The match had been a fantastic advertisement for lower league rugby.

View now face Whitchurch, just above them in WRU Division 6 South Central, on Saturday, January 18.

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