ON Saturday the recent persistent monsoon rain clouds disappeared, revealing a bright autumnal sun to greet Cowbridge at the Reservoir Field.

Unbeaten going into this potentially tricky local derby, Barry also played in a new all-red strip. The Bluebirds diehards might not like the colour but the outfit was well received by the players and the faithful at Barry RFC.

Before a ball was kicked, it emerged that Cowbridge, unable to field a competent front row, had advised the referee that they were opting for uncontested scrums.

Not only did this nullify the Barry strength in the set pieces, its late announcement left little time to reconsider alternative tactics. It also militated against Barry scoring enough tries to gain league bonus points. The farcical situation of stumbling set pieces totally upset the rhythm of proceedings.

Cowbridge started strongly and were unlucky not to open the scoring after five minutes when a long-range penalty struck the woodwork. Although plagued by sloppy handling, Barry did take the lead with an accurate penalty by Lee.

From this juncture the home side settled to their task and were put further ahead on the half hour with another three points from the trusty boot of Lee. Soon after another penalty was gained as a result of good pressure and handling in the threequarters.

Tanner and Deguara were giving the visitors plenty of problems with fine, robust loose play so it came as somewhat of a surprise when the referee awarded a penalty to the visitors which they duly converted.

The first half drew to a close with the home side finishing with a fourth penalty and the visitors receiving a yellow card for illegally preventing a Barry score. The second session started with a bang!

The home back row of Owain Poole, Jones and Hadfield set up Tom Poole to race over the line for an excellent try. Lee added the extras from the touchline. Cowbridge soon reduced the deficit with a penalty, which was then cancelled out by another from the home side. At this stage, the referee presided over a game that was meandering along and, in truth, dying a slow death.

Cowbridge were visibly tiring and unable to introduce any new legs because of their earlier decision over set scrums. Barry were also affected as they were unable to capitalise on their undoubted forward superiority for the same reason.

The reaction of the arbiter was to resort to warning after warning followed up by the issuing of yellow and red cards. The last action of a very disappointing afternoon of rugby was a further successful penalty by the home team. If the events of last Saturday are to be avoided, then the WRU must consider the regulations surrounding the farce of the uncontested scrum.

Barry: Ryan, Adams, Buckland, Provis, T Poole, Hardy, Lee, Jones, Hadfield, O Poole, Deguara, Tanner, Hoskins, Evans and O’Sullivan. Reps: Thorne, Evans, Lundy and Scott.

* This Saturday's fixture is against Penygraig and, although this should be away, efforts are being made to play the game at home to avoid a clash with the 125th anniversary dinner. Keep in touch with the club for developments.

The Saturday dinner is being held at Barry Memorial Hall and those attending are advised that, whilst the arrangement is 7.30 for an 8pm dinner, the bar will be available from 6.45pm.

If you're not sure which tie to wear, why not leave it until you arrive and purchase the new 125th anniversary club tie which will be on sale on the evening!