Rugby Union: Rhiwbina RFC 25 Caerphilly RFC 13
Match report and pictures by Mark Tamplin
Caerphilly just failed in their bid for 100% record in their pre-season friendlies against Rhiwbina on the weekend.
Playing a side that had gained promotion to the second division by winning Division 3 South East last season, the game was always going to be difficult. The Cheesesmen presented themselves well pushing the Cardiff side to the end, but they tailed off as they lost some key figures.
It was the home side that pressurised in the first ten minutes. Their reward being a well-worked try out wide as the visitors’ defence eventually ran out of numbers. Rhiwbina ran through the phases before their centres found space to go over for the converted try.
Caerphilly drew level on 12 minutes, attacking from the kick-off. Collecting deep inside their own half, the ball was chipped ahead, chased by Oliver Griffths, Phillip Escott and Vaughan Thomas.
The pressure told on the home side as they were forced into a hurried kick to touch. A ball taken from the top was moved through the centres to the left. Failing to go over out wide, recycled ball found its way back to the centre, and on hand to receive the ball was second row Craig Smith, who broke through the defence to score at the base of the left hand upright. Sam Wollatt added the extras to level the scores.
A Wollatt penalty put the visitors ahead minutes later before the home side scored their second try courtesy of the centres again as they moved the ball through the phases, dragging the defenders out of position, forcing them to commit to tackles, creating space, before the Rhiwbina crossing the line.
Despite the early pressure from the home side, Caerphilly dominated a lot of play in the second quarter and were unlucky on several occasions not to score, including a disallowed try on 26 minutes. The line judge decided that winger Grifiths had gone into touch as he passed in the air for Thomas to cross the line.
Another Wollatt penalty on 20 minutes was the last score of the half, but one where the young Caerphilly side could hold their heads up high.
The second half started badly for the visitors, Rhiwbina going over four minutes into the half for a converted try.
Further penalties later in the half extended the lead for the home side as Caerphilly failed to score despite showing good defence and some exciting counter attacking. Some questionable decisions from the referee cost Caerphilly dearly and broke some spirit.
The official first missed an opportunity for Smith to score his second with Rhiwbina pulling the second row back as he had a clear path to collect a chipped kick ahead. The second incident happened when Caerphilly, awarded a penalty on the 22, took it quickly. The home side of Rhiwbina appearing to be just inches away from the tap as they pulled the attacker to the ground.
In the end, the differences were minimal, as the newly promoted Rhiwbina side held out to the end to complete the victory. The young Caerphilly side should fare well for the upcoming season if they continue to build on the field relationships that are now building. The first game of the new league season beginning with a trip to Croesyceiliog next Saturday, kick off 2.30pm