Trebanos 26 Alltwen 25

Saturday 3rd October 2009

Trebanos get out of jail to secure a bonus point win over Alltwen

The game started with the Alltwen forwards driving for the home line and spending some time trying to get the first score, but were kept out by some stern defence by the smaller and more mobile ‘Banos pack.  The pressure was relieved by a penalty which Nic Damjanovic put close to the halfway line.  The tone of this local derby, being set in the early encounters, of total commitment by all the players on the pitch, with several former Trebanos favourites now wearing the Black and White of the visitors. 

Cavalry "charge"The game settled into something of a pattern with the home backs running freely and looking threatening , but being let down by a sloppy pass or the last pass failing to go to hand, with the ball being hacked on or picked up by the visitors, who had the benefit of a strong wind at their backs.  The Alltwen full-back Andrew Roberts needed no help in kicking three very good penalties which were awarded in quick succession during this period of play.

The home side continued to run the ball at every opportunity and it was to prove the turning point of the game.  Nic Damjanonvic was starting to pull the strings, when in the opinion of the referee, who was barely six or seven yards away was felled by a late, high and dangerous challenge by ex-Trebanos player coach Julian Power.  The referee had no hesitation in showing Power a red card with just over twenty five minutes played. 

Scott scores first 'Banos tryThe Trebanos backs were now running the game and were rewarded when Scott Barrett sent over right wing Andrew Penhale for the game’s first try, which went unconverted.  Alltwen were reduced to thirteen players when second row Baden Jones cynically stopped live-wire scrum half Kris Jones taking a quick penalty, although had they had a full complement of players it’s doubtful if anyone could have stopped the next try.  The ball was worked out to left wing Jordan Hopkins who received the ball on the half way line and less than a yard from the touchline, Jordan left the defence grasping thin air as he sped down the wing, inches from the line cutting in and then outpacing the cover for a wonderful try; which was converted by Nic Damjanovic.  The visitors drew level with another penalty from the reliable boot of Andrew Roberts to give a half time score of twelve all.

The second half started with Andrew Roberts again kicking a penalty to take his side back into the lead, with Trebanos trying to play rugby deep in their own territory and making large gains, but being frustrated by the final pass not going to hand.  They largely ignored the strong wind at their backs and kept trying to run their way upfield but were up against a resolute defence mounted by the fourteen Altwenites. 

Luke wins another lineoutAlltwen increased their lead from a rolling maul, which went unconverted, increasing the pressure on the home side who had played running rugby which had not yielded anything.  The pressure was increased even further when a clever cross kick from the Alltwen outside half was seized upon by their right wing to increase their lead to thirteen points with less than ten minutes to go. 

Trebanos won and used good lineout ball, which was moved swiftly to the backs for captain Rhodri Thomas to score near the sitcks, converted by Nic Damjanovic.  With time running out replacement centre Gareth Hopkins scored wide out and Nic Damjanovic coolly slotted a crucial conversion to give Trebanos a bonus point win over rivals and neighbours Alltwen.

The Alltwen players will no doubt view this game as the one that got away, whilst the Trebanos players and management will be pleased that they did a “Munster” in playing to the final whistle. Credit must go to them for the character and belief that they showed, but please don’t leave it as late as that too often.

Trebanos Team:
M Edwards; A Penhale, S Barrett, R Thomas (Capt), J Hopkins; N Damjanovic, K Jones; C Harris, J Erasmus, J Harding; R Davies, S Williams; R Carney, L Davies, M Whiteman. Replacements used: R Williams, R Thomas, G Hopkins.