Trebanos 70 Gowerton 10

Saturday 24th April 2010

Supporters Served A Feast - On and Off The Field

Another fine day at the Park, but an awkward day at the office for the young Trebanos pack was the expectation of most Trebanos fans, after the two earlier games against Gowerton, whose pack certainly packed a lot of power and experience.

The home side took an early lead through the boot of Nic Damjanovic, but it was short lived as Gowerton scrum half Lee Evans was successful with a penalty to level the scores.  There were ominous signs for the visitors as the restart was brilliantly taken by captain James Erasmus, who found his second row partner Brad Owen in close support and after both players had made inroads into the Gowerton half the ball was lost, although only temporarily.  One long time Trebanos supporter, Adrian Jones, described the next try as one of the best scores that he had seen at the Park; it was started with the pack winning the ball and there followed a bout of interpassing that went some thirty five metres and involved almost every member of the pack, with tight head prop Chris Balfe going over under the posts for Nic Damjanovic to convert, 13-3.

The next score wasn’t long in coming with scrum-half  Kris Jones putting up an inch perfect Garryowen and the visiting full-back let the ball bounce on a hard field; the ball bounced kindly for livewire hooker "Twm" Thomas, to touch down wide out, 18-3.  Almost from the kick off the home forwards were back driving up field with short but effective offloads, playing the game at a pace that Gowerton found very difficult to cope with, the ball eventually getting back to tight head prop Chris Balfe who showed how deceptively strong he is, by taking a couple of players across the line at the posts with him,  Nic Damjanovic adding the extra points, 25-3.

The only time that Gowerton had any sort of foothold on the Trebanos 22 during the first half led to the next score, openside flanker Mal Whiteman tackled and held up the visitors outside half and loose head prop Rees Thomas did not break stride as he stripped the ball and quickly passed to Nic Damjanovic who raced through a disorganised defence, drew the last line and gave speedy wing Andrew Penhale an easy run in to the posts, which Nic Damjanovic converted to make it 32-3.

Impressive No8 Luke Davies was withdrawn with a muscle injury on the half hour mark, being replaced by mid-week try scorer Rhodri Davies.  Andrew Penhale was again the next to score as Trebanos kept to a fast paced game plan, moving the visitors around the field, with the inevitable gaps opening up, Andrew needing no second invitation to exploit any chance, was in the right place to bag his second try of the day for Nic Damjanovic to add the extra points, 39-3.  Scrum half Kris Jones was turning in his usual high standard non-stop performance and was rewarded with an excellent opportunist try just before half time which was converted by the outside half with the long name for a score of  46-3.

Gowerton started the second half after a roasting from their coach and played a much tighter game that was stunningly simple; they played to their tight forwards and refused to be drawn into the fast style of play that had been so evident in the opening half.  Credit must go to the Trebanos defence which has improved so much, it is so well organised with everyone knowing what to do, they communicate with each other and help each other out when necessary.  Gowerton pressed for a full twenty minutes and only looked like scoring when full-back Cerith Edwards who had been so safe under the high ball was beaten by a wicked bounce and pushed the Gowerton scrum-half Lee Evans as he was about to regather the ball just short of the Trebanos goal line.  The referee had little alternative but to award a penalty try, but took no other sanction against Cerith, much to the annoyance of the visiting fans; the score was converted by Lee Evans, 46-10.

The versatile Rhodri Williams playing out of position at centre, but never looking out of place made a lovely inside break, passed to the supporting Nic Damjanovic who then carried on the movement before returning the ball to Rhodri Williams who, held just short of the try line slipped the ball back to Nic Damjanovic to score under the posts, which he also converted, 53-10.  Second row Brad Owen was given a deserved rest with the introduction of promising young scrum half Rhys Jones who had played well in mid-week, this meant Rhodri Williams returning to the pack and Nic Dam’ moving to centre, and Kris Jones to outside half.  The new look line up had no effect on the style of the game with Nic Damjanovic revelling in the extra space in the centre, from one tapped penalty he called out for the ball and received it quickly, set off on one of his deceptive runs to cross in  the corner for an unconverted try, 58-10.  The play seemed to be all down the left flank, so that’s where try poacher Andrew Penhale went looking for work and he was rewarded by yet another break by the one with the long name who again was able to spot any gap as soon as they appeared Nic raced through, found Andrew in support to cross wide out for another very good score, which went unconverted, 63-10.  The final score came via the irrepressible Chris Balfe who somehow found the energy to pop up in the back line to take the final pass to cross under the posts for Nic Damjanovic to convert for a scoreline of 70-10.

After the last meeting between these two rivals, this game, on paper, should have been far harder than the final scoreline suggests.  It was hard and very physical in parts, but I think it shows how this young team has developed and plays what is in front of them, last week it was a game of huge physical intensity, whilst this week, they were able to adapt and score a lot of tries.  There were several stand out performers in the pack, the young front row were everywhere, the back row with Rhys Carney used as a ball winner at lineouts was again excellent, the inclusion of "Raz" Erasmus in the second row brought added dynamism and dog. Andrew Penhale and Chris Balfe both scoring hatricks, but for the way he controlled play, made break after break and kicked the points, my man of the match is the one with the long name, Niclas Damjanovic.

Unfortunately, the visitors subsequently broke with rugby tradition and failed to return to the club for the traditional post-match hospitality. While we understand their disappointment at the result, they would have been assured of the warmest of welcomes at the clubhouse. No matter, the surfeit of meals prepared by the Trebanos ladies committee's glamour girls were eagerly consumed by the home supporters; ladies - that was the best chicken curry we've had this season.

Trebanos Team:
C Edwards; A Penhale, G Evans, R Williams, S Williams; N Damjanovic, K Jones; R Thomas (C Harries), R Thomas, C Balfe; B Owen (R Jones), J Erasmus (Capt); R Carney, L Davies (R Davies), M Whiteman (A Hussein).