BARRY RFC 2nd XV 0pts


WITH more than 20 players injured or otherwise unavailable, Barry Rugby Club Seconds faced a difficult task in continuing this year's unbeaten run against title-chasing Rhiwbina on a wet April afternoon.

Coach Rhidian Scott and manager Ken Chow were faced with further disruptions when captain Nick Rolfe pulled out of the match day squad in the morning.

With Kyle Case being shifted to No 8, there were promotions from the 3rd XV for Luke Hewitson, Chris Chucas, Tom Cleland and Ashley Forrester, while Phil Shaw made his debut from the bench.

As if the task was not enormous enough, the Barry cause was further hampered by a rush of blood from fly-half Ashley Adams, whose tip tackle promptly earned him a yellow card when the visitors were asking for a red. Barry somehow managed to weather the storm with only 14 men through a combination of good defending, led by Lee Jones, Hewitson and Chucas, but also some mysterious decision-making by the Rhiwbina backs, who decided to kick with an overlap out wide.

The first half was a scrappy affair, with Barry dominating the set pieces, particularly in the scrum, and Hosking, Thomas and Vidal impressed. There were rare forays into the opposition 22 from both sides, but, in truth, the poor handling from all 30 on view meant that the interval score of 0-0 was probably a fair reflection.

With Hewitson off with concussion, Cleland made his 2nd XV debut - only his second ever senior game - and made an instant impact as Barry continued to look to their pack for inspiration.

Rhiwbina, however, upped the ante in the second half and scored almost immediately after the restart, taking advantage of some poor tackling in midfield.

With the home side facing an uphill struggle in the second half - both metaphorically and literally speaking - Rhiwbina turned the screw. The game was almost exclusively played out in the Barry 22 and, despite some heroic last-ditch defending from all 15 players, it was inevitable that the visitors scored again.

The green-and-whites were not helped by their lack of discipline, with Case the prime culprit, conceding numerous penalties in the contact area, which eventually led to the sin-binning of Gavyn Elsworth.

With a man advantage, Rhiwbina were not letting anything slip and managed the bonus point victory that they were looking for, scoring two more tries at the death.

Barry will hope to have a resemblance of their strongest squad tonight (Thursday), when they face the same opponents in the East District Cup final (kick-off 6.15 at Llandaff North RFC), followed by their penultimate league match away at St Josephs two days later. The 3rd XV travel to St Peters on Saturday to conclude their league campaign.

Team: Lee; J Williams (c), D Williams, N Jones, Corrigan; Adams, Mepham; Hosking, Vidal, Thomas; Elsworth, L Jones; Hewitson, Chucas and Case. Replacements: Corne, Cleland, Forrester and Shaw. Man-of-the-match: Chucas