LLANDAFF RFC 2nd XV 24pts
BARRY 2nd XV 24
LOOKING to secure a sixth successive victory, the Barry Rugby Club Seconds enjoyed early spring sunshine for their visit to Cardiff.
Coach Rhidian Scott and manager Ken Chow drafted in Barrians' Lucas Davies and Chris Prosser after late withdrawals, whilst there were recalls for Tomos Perry and Ashley Adams.
Facing a side vastly different to the one they played just two weeks ago, Barry started the game aggressively and reaped early rewards. The Llandaff defence found it hard to handle the strength and power of the Perry-Dix centre partnership, with the forwards also putting in a good shift. This resulted in a penalty opportunity for Adam Lee, which was, unfortunately, wasted.
Using that as an incentive, the visitors pushed on and were rewarded after a superb break - a feature in the entire game - by Brad White. Quick offloads followed to Perry and Kyle Case, with the latter racing through unopposed to score. Lee somehow managed to strike an upright from in front of the posts; the error would prove costly in the end.
If this was the signal of the floodgates opening, it was not. Llandaff responded with some strong, direct running of their own, led by their influential centre Czekaj, and it brought a converted try to put the hosts into the lead.
Barry management voiced their displeasure at the lack of defensive discipline, and the side responded by going on the attack. Once again isolating his opposing winger, White's offload found Rhidian Mepham who, in turn, found Lee, and the full back atoned for his early howler by scoring a try, which he converted.
With the scrum once again a potent weapon for the visitors, as the front row of Thomas, Hosking and Pirso destroyed their opposite numbers, Barry extended their lead again when Adams isolated the same winger with a chip and chase and collected his own kick to touch down by the posts. Lee made no mistake with his conversion.
Llandaff narrowed the deficit on the stroke of half-time with a well-struck penalty after Barry indiscipline, but the visitors were still very much in the driving seat.
The second half introduction of Chris Prosser had an instant impact in the tight, but the superior fitness of the hosts, accompanied by some poor decision making by the green-and-whites, saw Llandaff score again to narrow the deficit to two points.
Barry poured forward and seemingly had the hosts on the ropes as they looked to increase their advantage, but some poor decision making in the last third, culminating in a knock-on, gifted possession back to Llandaff. The hosts then spread the ball wide and sprinted the length of the pitch to score in the corner and, while the conversion was missed, they held a five-point lead.
Scott threw on Lucas Davies and Joel Williams in an attempt to reverse the momentum. The replacement scrum-half had an instant impact, disrupting the Llandaff scrum and creating several turnovers. Eventually, with a penalty deep in the hosts’ 22, the ball was spread wide to Hamonda who skinned his opposite number to touch down in the corner. Lee was unsuccessful with his conversion attempt, leaving the scores level at 24-24.
The visitors now had the momentum and came forward looking for the winning score. Bearing down on the Llandaff line, Lee decided to kick instead of keeping the ball in hand, and the result was a five-metre scrum instead of a potential try. Still, Barry had been dominant in the set piece all game and looked odds on to score, but the resultant scrum was butchered and the chance was gone.
The final score reflected the dynamic nature of the game although, on reflection, Barry will feel that they had enough chances to win the game.
The Barry 2nd XV return to action next weekend at home to Llanishen.