Bethesda 6 Trebanos 33

Swalec Bowl Quarter Final

Saturday 27th March 2010

(match report by Roy Bowen)

Jeff Thomas, chairman of Trebanos RFC, has asked me through the website to thank all the supporters who made the long journey to Bethesda to support the team. It was invaluable for the players and everybody is appreciative.

Bethesda's ground, nestling in the Snowdonia foothills and with snow covering some of the mountains, was a fairytale setting on this beautiful spring day. Bethesda were up for this game; you could feel the tension in the air and the huge crowd of supporters that had gathered at the ground was testament to that. Supporters had travelled from afar as Angelsey, and other surrounding towns and villages to support the last of the North Wales sides in this competition.

Trebanos RFC   Bethesda RFC
Rees Thomas 1 Paul Thomas (Capt)
Rhys Thomas 2 Steven Roberts
Chris Balfe 3 Richard Moore
Brad Owens 4 Dylan Owen
Steve Morgan 5 Gavin Owen
Amer Hussain 6 Arwyn Griffith
Mal Whiteman 7 Dylan Hughes
Luke Davies 8 Dylan Williams
Kris Jones 9 Matthew Parry
Nic Damjanovic 10 Gareth Wyn Roberts
Michael Morris 11 Iwan Hywel
Gareth Hopkins 12 Cameron Moore
Rhodri Thomas 13 David Thomas
Jordan Hopkins 14 Meirion Williams
Cerith Edwards 15 Llion Lloyd
Referee Mr John Roberts, Nant Conwy
Neutral Linesman Mr David Dury
Trebanos substitutes:
Andrew Penhale for Jordan Hopkins (50 Min)
Tom Carney for Steve Morgan (50 Min)
Rhys Carney for Mal Whiteman (50 Min)
Chris Harris for Rees Thomas (65 Min)
David Davies for Rhys Thomas (67 Min)
Rhys Jones for Kris Jones (74 Min)

With the ground bathed in sunshine and Trebanos playing from east to west up a slight slope, and with a light breeze at their backs Nic Damjanovic kicked off. It was gathered by Williams who sent it back to outside half Roberts, but his kick to touch was charged down by Kris Jones; eventually Bethesda re-gathered and got a high kick into the Trebanos half where Damjanovic collected and kicked into the Bethesda corner. From the lineout Bethesda won ball and worked their way down to within 40 yards of the Trebanos line.

From a promising move by Bethesda, wing Iwan Hywel was late tackled and up stepped Cameroon Moore on the 22 metre line to slot over the penalty. Bethesda concentrated on playing a forward orientated game and outside half Roberts kicked them on at every opportunity. From scrummages and lineouts they played the narrow side; forwards driving on and referee Mr Roberts constantly penalising Trebanos for offside and hands in ruck. This kept Bethesda’s momentum going forward for 15 minutes of the first half.

Trebanos were slowly getting to grips with this game and outside half Nic Damjanovic was starting to control parts of the game; he kicked in front of his forwards and with the ever alert Kris Jones sending out a quality service there were glimpses of things to come. The away side’s tackling was superb and there was some ‘big hits’ from centres Rod Thomas and Gareth Hopkins. The Trebanos forwards were a match for the opponents and the scrum was improving at every set piece, even when it did go backwards No.8 Luke Davies picked up, drove forward and crossed the gain line. Both second row forwards worked hard doing the unseen graft, Steve Morgan, never a player to step back, put in a terrific amount of work and the lineout was superb throughout the game; Luke Davies won a steady stream of good ball.

Bethesda were awarded two penalties in quick succession. Cameron Moore failed with the first, but on exactly 17 minutes Trebanos were penalised for not releasing the ball and that man kicked the penalty. Captain Rhodri Thomas had a long chat with the ref to clarify the law; at that moment the penalty count was Bethesda 7 Trebanos 1, however, after this conversation things improved. His captaincy was impeccable during this game making every decision the correct one and leading his players from the front.

Trebanos attacked Bethesda with a series of handling rugby and slick passing. Thomas, with his sleight of hand pass, sent Hopkins away; picking good angles of running, he was away with a barn storming run and as always the master of the slip pass, he was at it for 50 minutes of the game. From some of the open play Bethesda were penalised for offside in front of their posts, Damjanovic kicked the points
Within 2 minutes Bethesda were lucky when Thomas charged down a kick but it evaded all the ‘Banos’ attackers only for Bethesda to clear their lines.

From 40 yards out Trebanos won a scrum and Luke Davies picked up, drove on, won ball but Damjanovic narrowly missed a drop goal. Bethesda outside half Roberts and full back Lloyd continued with high kicks, but Cerith Edwards caught everything and counter attacked whenever possible. Trebanos won ball at a line out and sped it quickly along the line to wing Morris who chipped ahead but the ball was cleared into touch 10 yards from the Bethesda line. Speedster Jordan Hopkins had a tackling day at Bethesda, but he once slipped his tackler, beat two players and only a despairing tackle stopped him with a clear 25 yard run to the line

Both sides wanted to win this game and no quarter was given; from a strong attacking position on the Trebanos 22 metre line Bethesda dropped the ball and Damjanovic kicked Trebanos down field some 50 yards, the fullback knocked on and from the ensuing scrum Bethesda were penalised for ‘dropping the scrum’, (Well done that man Chris Balfie). From 48 yards out and the booing of the crowd ringing in Damjanovic's ears, he coolly hit the cross bar (on purpose, of course) and over it went.

Just before half time Trebanos were lucky not to be behind when they were penalised for playing the ball on the floor but Moore missed with a 30 yard kick from the touchline.

Half time: Bethesda 6 Trebanos 6

With winger Hopkins off at half time having received a bang to the head and Penhale on, Bethesda kicked off up the slope, immediately Trebanos attacked Bethesda with slick handling and a chip ahead. Eventually Bethesda were penalised for offside in front of their posts and again Damjanovic kindly obliged with a kick from 30 yards still with the booing ringing in his ears. Within minutes Bethesda were again penalised for creeping up offside from a scrum but from 30 yards out Damjanovic hit the post.

On 50 minutes there were changes and subs used, probably the Bethesda centre Thomas was glad to see the back of Hopkins after 50 minutes; now enter Scott Barratt. Whether Rhodri Jones and Paul Johnson the Trebanos coaches had asked all the players to make an impact on the game, I know not, but Scott Barratt’s first contribution was a tackle on the centre that sent shudders down my back and he immediately followed it up with a huge tackle on the Bethesda No 8 and won the ball as well. He was immense second half with a huge contribution to the game. Not to be outdone Andrew Penhale’s first contribution was to receive a lovely pass from Barratt, he beat his wing with sheer pace before running 30 yards only to be tackled a metre short of the line.

Trebanos had stepped up the game and Bethesda struggled to cope with the pace and the aggressive tackling of Trebanos. The away side were now comfortable and produced a succession of dazzling rugby, inter passing by forwards and backs was the order of the day and those at the game cannot have been disappointed. Trebanos were ‘slick’ and throughout the game made very few errors, hooker Rhys Thomas and Amer Hussain between them caught every kick out, drove on and recycled brilliantly.

The backs continued to dazzle with runs down the middle by both centres and wings Penhale and Morris excelling. Scrum half Jones on a ‘licence to thrill’, kept the tempo flowing with quick penalties and lovely little darts on the blind side, from one these forays he send a pass out to wing Morris who sped down the touchline only to be tackled into touch 10 yards short of the line. In fact Jones, Edwards and Morris had combined on several occasions with telling runs down the left hand touchline, on one occasion Morris was over for a try but he was brought back for a foot in touch.
The Carney boys wanted in on the act as well and young Tom Carney playing his second senior game put a tackle on the Bethesda prop that brought a massive ‘OOH’ from the crowd, it was some tackle, knocking the prop back a metre, this lad surely has a future in this game. Now cousin Rhys Carney or should I say ‘Predator‘ Carney has the uncanny instinct to be in the right place at the right time and it was he, who set up the Trebanos try, he charged down a kick and Rhys Thomas the loose head prop was on hand to collect and charge over for a try; rightly so, he celebrated with an ‘Irish Jig’ and I noticed Keith Willaims on the try line joined in. Nic Damjanovic added the conversion.

On 65 minutes Rees Thomas came off to be replaced by Chris ‘Buster’ Harris playing in his 17th season for Trebanos and he was soon in action, from a backs move Rod Thomas was held up 20 yards from the Bethesda line, first it was Rhys Carney on hand to slip a pass to second row Bradley Owens who was now in the act, he gave ‘Buster’ a reverse pass and barring a cracking tackle from Bethesda’s Dylan Williams he would have scored. Hooker Rhys Thomas who had excelled thoroughout the game especially his throwing in to the line out’s came off after 67 minutes to big ovation from both sets of supporters and rightly so, and he was replaced by the experienced Dai Davies.

Damjanovic was having a field day directing operations from the outside half position with his slick passing, deft kicking and throughout the game had kicked behind the Bethesda backs, into open spaces always making them turn. The pressure was on Bethesda and Trebanos turned the screw keeping them pinned in their own half. Tom Carney kept on pushing Roberts back inside towards the touchline and gave him a torrid second half. Off went Kris Jones and on came Rhys Jones for his second game at senior level.

The second try came from a superb run by Andrew Penhale beating two men with sheer pace, he was over the try line for a score, but Mr Dury the touch judge said he was in touch before grounding the ball. From the lineout and subsequent play Trebanos won the ball before it was passed to Buster who crashed over for try from 15 yards (later on that night I heard 65 yards being mentioned) at the side of the posts. Damjanovic added the two points. The game was over and coming to an end, but Trebanos came attacking again, along the backs line it went and Penhale was off on a gallop again, he was held up short off the line and Rhys Carney and Rhys Jones were there to win ball, however scrum half Jones had the ball knocked out of his hand and Trebanos took a short penalty. Eventually Bethesda cleared to touch. From this lineout Trebanos worked a set move, Jones to Damjanovic and a superb short pass to Penhale coming at pace from deep took him in for a try under the posts Damjanovic again added the conversion.

Final Score: Bethesda 6 Trebanos 33

Man of the Match: Luke Davies

My Men of the Match: All 22 of them all absolutely superb. Well worth the visit.