ON A pitch that had already been played on earlier the same day, Saturday's South Wales Senior Soccer League clash was a tough test of fitness and stamina for both these First Division sides, especially with rain starting again before kick-off.

On a pitch which cut up badly, both sides were eager for the points and the game was tense, with the Rhondda Valley outfit receiving strong vocal support.

Producing a determined and disciplined display, Sports came out of the blocks better, with Long and Lawlor up for the battle. However, in general, they were unable to make too many inroads against tough tackling defenders.

The centre circle quickly became a mud bath, and Sports did well to maintain their forward momentum, with Hemmens and Ferguson, supported by Brown and Lewis, enjoying the battle. The Sports' back line of James, Beddard, Jones and Townsend protected goalkeeper Sharratt who was untroubled.

Sports deservedly went ahead - the only goal of the match - when, following a fine through ball, Long evaded a tackle and made space to fire home. Sports created a couple more chances before half-time, but were unable to add to the lead.

Half-time rain was quickly followed by a hailstorm which left the pitch a blanket of white and forced the players back to the dressing rooms.

When play restarted, it seemed just a matter of time before the pitch became unplayable, but, for the first time in the game, better weather arrived and allowed play to continue.

The home side were now well in the game, but Sports' defence did well to keep them out, keeping the ball confidently and using the few green triangles left on the surface.

Desperate to get back in the game, Ynyshir committed a number of bad fouls and were fortunate to pick up just two yellow cards. Bringing on two substitutes, Sports were thankful when the referee brought an end to proceedings.

Sully Sports: Kieron Sharratt, Daniel James (capt), Ed Jones, Liam Beddard, Andrew Townsend, Mark Brown, Anthony Ferguson, Aiden Lewis, Gareth Hemmens, Daniel Lawlor and Alex Long. Subs: Garon Davies (for Hemmens), Gavin Beddard (for Lawlor), Conner McInery, Taylor Harding, and Luke Hanlon.

This Saturday Sports face local rivals Cogan Coronation at Cogan; meet at Lidl for 12.15pm or ground at 12.45pm.

Sports' Vale League side hope to resume First Division fixtures this Saturday with a home game against Barry FC; players to report at the club at 12.45pm.

Sports Ladies' local league derby with Vale Ladies was a victim of the weather and this Sunday the side are due to entertain Swansea City at Sully Sports and Leisure Ground; kick-off 2pm.