Tata Steel 25 Trebanos 19

Saturday 30th December 2017

WRU National Championship

Late Try Brace Earns Losing Bonus Point

The last Saturday of an unbelievable year, saw a large number of the "faithful", make the fairly short trip to Margam on a grey and dismal afternoon for what everyone agreed, was going to be a tough test, against one of the established teams of the Championship.

Tata Steel v TrebanosTata kicked off and the 'Banos immediately showed their intent by moving the ball along the backline, looking for any early lapse in the home team's defence, but found only steadfast tackling; undeterred Trebanos tried to take the ball on but Mr Brace adjudged that they had transgressed at a breakdown some 35mtr out and up stepped outside half Lloyd Bradley to put over a straightforward penalty to give the home side a 3-0 lead after just a minutes play.

Trebanos attacked from the restart and took the game to the home side, with backs and forwards slipping the ball and making ground and were rewarded when this time Mr Brace ruled that the home side were guilty at the breakdown; Matthew Edwards put over the kick from 40mtr to level the scores in the 10th minute 3-3.

Trebanos were pretty comfortable with the set scrummage and lineout generally holding their own, with only occasionally home pressure causing a temporary blip, so it was no surprise that Mr Brace again penalised the home side in a similar position some ten minutes after the last penalty for Matthew Edwards to increase the lead to 3-6.

Tata Steel v TrebanosTata pressed from the restart and it saw them spend a little time in the 'Banos half for really the first time in the game and from a lineout just outside the Trebanos 22, the ball went loose and was snapped up by livewire flanker and skipper Scott Malone who seemed to canter over the line as a huge gap opened before him and he put the ball down under the posts to offer an easy conversion attempt for Lloyd Bradley who  extended the lead to 10-6 after 26 min.

Trebanos again took the game to the home side and were playing the game at their pace and were stretching the home defence to the limit, but with the last pass going to ground and the pressure was not getting the reward it might have on another day. Trebanos pressed forward and were awarded another penalty by Mr Brace, Matthew Edwards reducing the deficit to just one point with the score at 10-9 after 33min.

Tata launched an attack towards the end of the half and Mr Brace this time penalised Trebanos between the half and ten mtr lines, with a stiff breeze at his back, Lloyd Bradley put over a fine kick to extend his side's lead to 13-9, with Mr Brace blowing for half time.

Half Time: Tata Steel 13 Trebanos 9

The second half started with Trebanos trailing despite having seemed to control the tempo, possession and territory during the previous half, but it was the home side who upped the tempo and physicality of the opening period to dictate matters in the second half.  'Banos found themselves having to man the barricades as Tata literally threw everything into attack, with their forwards winning the breakdown and unlike the first half, where they rarely crossed the advantage line, they were making inroads into Trebanos territory, time and again.  Mr Brace penalised the visitors a few times and issued a general warning on discipline through captain Rhys Thomas, and when the visitors were awarded a scrum some 5 or 6mtr out and the ensuing scrum turned, Mr Brace ran straight to the posts and awarded a penalty try on 51 min to take the score to 20-9.

Trebanos made two changes with Sean Hopkins and Nathan Jones replacing Bryn Jones and Shaun Lewis respectively.  From the kick off, Tata ran the ball straight back at the visitors, working left wing Steff Stone clear with 40 mtr to the line, he put his head back and just beat the cover, to score in the corner to extend the lead to 25-9 two minutes after the last score.

Tata Steel v TrebanosTrebanos were suddenly sixteen points behind and with their backs to the wall as Tata continued to play a more physical game at the breakdown, but this side has an abundance of character, as it was to show. On the hour mark Chris Foreshaw and Lewis Humphries replaced Luke Turton and Kieron Whiteman, with Lewis slotting in at outside half and Sam Davies back to the left wing.  Trebanos were now moving the ball at pace again, and with Luke Griffiths running confidently once more, finding mismatches in midfield, he and the other speedsters were neutralising the power of the home pack and were pulling them across the pitch, where the gaps would surely appear.  But when they did, unfortunately it was the same result as in the first half, with the last pass failing to go to hand.  On 65min Jack Perkins replaced perpetual motion flanker Ben Williams, and with the game now being played at Trebanos' pace the fresh replacements were giving an extra impetus to the visitor's  attacks.  Flanker Iwan Davies burst  onto a deftly timed short pass from Lewis Humphries and went through the defensive line on a straight run and linked up with Shaun Hopkins who passed to Lloyd Phillips, unfortunately the ball went astray and Mr Brace adjudged the pass forward, played advantage, but called advantage over when Tata kicked the ball deep.  It was gathered by  Luke Griffiths who ran it back left on the attack, Luke signalled his intention to kick to Sam Davies who was outside him and he put in a lovely chip for Sam to initially dribble it on then pick up and dive over for a good team try on 77min with the conversion attempt just wide to take the score to 25-14.

Tata Steel v TrebanosFrom the kick off Tata tried to keep the play deep in the Trebanos half, but "Twm" and his men were equally determined to move it back out and that is exactly what they did, moving the ball quickly from 10mtr from their own line with backs and forwards handling deftly to put Matthew Edwards clear just short of his own 10mtr line, Matthew rounded his opponent and was being lined up by the home full back, with the faithful wondering what he would do, Matthew backed himself, feinted left, and having stood the full back up accelerated around him on the outside for a brilliant "solo" finish to a fine move to cross in the corner, again the conversion narrowly missing to take the score to 25-19 after 82min.

If the home side seemed to have taken their time at the last restart, it was no surprise to see them ambling up to the halfway line, perhaps willing Mr Brace to blow his whistle.  Mr Brace did blow up a minute later when Tata tackled the player and ball into touch, with the home team and fans breathing a huge sigh of relief, and with the 'Banos players and faithful wondering how did that one get away!

Full Time: Tata Steel 25 Trebanos 19

  Trebanos RFC
Luke Griffiths
Matthew Edwards
Lloyd Phillips
Steffan Lewis
Kieron Weightman
Sam Davies
Shaun Lewis
Luke Turton
Rhys Thomas (Capt.)
Alun Dew
Rhys Morgan
Richard Davies
Ben Williams
Bryn Jones
Iwan Davies
Chris Foreshaw (repl. Luke Turton, 60 mins)
Jack Perkins (repl. Bryn Jones, 65 mins)
Sean Hopkins (repl. Ben Williams, 52 mins)
Nathan Jones (repl. Shaun Lewis, 52 mins)
Lewis Humphries (repl. Kieron Weightman, 60 mins)
Referee: Mr. Richard Brace, Maesteg.

Today's other WRU National Championship Results:

Bedlinog 32 Beddau 5
Cardiff Met 29 Rhydyfelin 27
Newcastle Emlyn 13 Narberth 26
Pontypool 26 Newbridge 3
Skewen 11 Glynneath 0