Ken Watkins

Admiral National League

Division One East Central

Barry RFC 19 St Joseph’s 16

Barry bounced back from a heavy defeat the previous weekend to earn a deserved and welcome last-gasp victory at the Reservoir Field. A try from Dave Evans, with the clock deep in the red, secured the win, Jake Williams converting to leave visitors St Joseph’s frustrated.

After a very much makeshift Barry side suffered a loss at St Peter’s seven days earlier, a win was essential, although for a lengthy spell in the first half the visitors looked the more likely to be celebrating at the end of the game.

Barry’s second-half performance turned round a match which at one stage seemed to be getting away, as they spent much of the first half on the back foot, frustrated by their errors and decisions going against them.

St Joseph’s, playing with the wind and the rain, and adjusting to the conditions better than their hosts, ran up a 16-point lead in the first half, as Barry struggled to get play out of their own half.

Fred Rowlands opened the scoring for St Joseph’s after eight minutes, the scrum driving over, Rob Sweetman converting. Sweetman added penalties in the 21st, 24th and 32nd minutes.

Barry kept battling, and when Luke O’Sullivan went over from a catch and drive following a penalty lineout in the 36th minute they were back in the game.

Head coach Liam Scott’s half-time message was straightforward. “Go direct, tighten it up, build some phases, be sharper at the breakdown.

“At 16-5 down, in the past I think we would have struggled,” he said. “But today was always going to be about heart, and we brought that in abundance in the second half.”

Barry responded, gradually taking control after the interval, and the pressure on the visitors saw them guilty of errors and frustrated by penalties going against them.

Those frustrations boiled over midway through the second half, and, following a brief mass brawl, both sides lost a player to a red card.

Barry’s pressure was finally rewarded after 69 minutes, when, from a penalty lineout, Alyn Evans went over after a catch and drive, Williams converting.

St Joseph’s conceded a string of penalties as Barry kept the pressure on. With the last play of the game Barry kicked for the corner, driving over from the lineout for Dave Evans to give them a late, late lead.