First win of the season for Barrians
8:00am Thursday 4th October 2012 in Sport
BARRIANS 20 SULLY 10 THE Barrians were looking for the first win of the season on a fine autumnal afternoon, with Sully RFC the visitors.
Following last week’s loss, player-manager Ken Chow rang the changes, starting with dropping himself to the bench alongside the Jenkins brothers, whilst bringing back Rhys Manford and Ryan Gooderham at half-back, with Elliot Evans reverting to wing. Latvian international centre Mikus Ozols made his debut alongside Joe Chucas at wing.
The Barrians began the game at a ferocious pace, with the visitors struggling to keep up. The strong, direct running of Ozols in particular were causing ripples in the Sully defence, whilst the forwards were creating momentum with rolling mauls.
It was no surprise when the Barrians scored the first try, Lloyd Jones profiting from a classic catch-and-drive after a line-out. Gooderham missed the conversion.
If that was supposed to be a sign of the floodgates opening, it wasn’t. Sully came back with renewed vigour, capitalising on their superiority in the scrum, courtesy of their heavier pack. They starved the home side of any meaningful possession and set up camp in the Barry 22 for the rest of the half, only denied by some superb last-ditch defence.
However, just minutes before the half-time whistle, Sully finally broke down the Barrians’ defence after another prolonged siege on the line to bring the scores level.
The manager made ruthless changes at half-time in an effort to shore up the creaking scrum, with Jason Thomas and Andrew Houldey the reinforcements. Instructions were also given to the forwards to generate quicker ball for scrum-half Manford, who was having a fine game, to utilise his strike runners in midfield.
It worked. With the scrum more secure after the interval, the main Sully threat was negated, and it was Barry who looked more likely to score.
After hooker Sam Bowditch broke the Sully line in his own half, he ran the length of the pitch, charging for the line. When he looked likely to be caught just short of the whitewash, he found support in the shape of make-shift flanker Mike Jones, who sprinted over for an unconverted score.
Manford was beginning to exert more influence on the game, colossal in attack and defence, and marshalling the backline alongside his half-back partner Gooderham. It was the scrum-half who set up the next score, with his quick thinking and even quicker feet setting up Tony Jenkins for a dash to the line following a turnover at half-way. Jenkins in turn fed the veteran Andy Moffat, who ran in from the 22 to score his first try in four years.
Sully had little answer to Manford’s guile, or the direct, strong running of the giant Ozols in midfield. This set the Barrians up for another siege on the away line, with all 15 players on the pitch involved. It was down to Thomas who crashed through from close range to put the game beyond the reach of the visitors.
There was still time for the former second team manager Charlie Chucas to join his son Joe on the pitch for a touching moment, and for substitute hooker Ken Chow to give away a blatant penalty for killing the ball, from which Sully scored a deserved consolation try at the death.
Both sides must be congratulated on their efforts during the game to put on such a spectacle for a respectable crowd. Team: Bailey; Evans, Davies, Ozols, J Chucas; Manford, Gooderham; Jones, Bowditch, Lundy; Hall, Fulton; M Jones, L Jones, Moffat (c).
Replacements: Houldey, Thomas, Matthews, Boffy, Chow, Rendall, N Jenkins, A Jenkins, C Chucas, Williams.
Man of the match: Manford.