ABERDARE 33 - 42 LLANHARAN
(14 - 24 )
This Cup fixture provided great relief this week to recent league form as Llanharan travelled to the top of the Cynon valley to face a strong Aberdare outfit. The game turned out to be high scoring affair that was later described as a great advert for Welsh rugby, with Llanharan coming out on top 42-33 with plenty of tries from both sides.
Llanharan started the better, playing with good intensity. The pack set the tone by combining well to construct great phase play before unleashing a skilful backline. Top scorer for the day, Morgan Williams crossed the line on three occasions. Back in the starting line up after a period away in South Africa, the deceptively strong and agile winger once again showed good footwork and speed to unlock the home side defence to register fifteen points.
Also on the scoresheet was Gethin Cashmore who played the game at tight head and did well both in the scrum and around the park, popping up to score a lovely try. With the score line 24 points to nil in favour of the Dairymen and the ball sticking to hand, Llan were looking in comfortable and playing at a different skill level to the home side until they began throwing the ball a bit themselves. Aberdare scored two good tries themselves, their outside half the orchestrator of things – organising players inside and out – keeping the Llanharan defence on their toes as the legs began to tire. With the score at 14 – 24 at half time, the message was to keep the intensity levels up and play our structures.
The second half saw Aberdare come right back at Llanharan out of the blocks – a purple patch that at one stage saw the home side within 8 points of Llanharan. Stern words could be heard from a crowd of Black and Blue shirts as Man of the Match, Bill Carey and skipper Huw Thomas rallied the Dairymen. The difference was stark, a lift of intensity from the restart saw the visitors make great strides into opposition territory. They were awarded for their efforts with a series of penalties, all of which were converted by fly half Scott Jones to keep the score board ticking over and make the scores more respectable in favour of Llanharan.
To round off the game, the never say die attitude of Aberdare saw them score in the last play of the game to bring the match to a close and round of an entertaining afternoon of running rugby.
After the game, coaches Kevin Jones and Jeff Pick were pleased with the response from everyone involved – especially those players who came into the first team squad. With 5 of the starting pack that faced Llantrisant out of contention, both remarked how good it was to see players like Tom Harris, Carl Leather and Ben Jones performing well. A Man of the Match performance from Bill Carey, playing in the second row, summed up the desire of the lads with some big hits in defence, showing up well with ball in hand and a commanding performance in the line out.
Match Summary courtesy of Jeff Pick, Kevin Jones; Scorers information from Wayne Merry and pictures from Anita Cashmore (see Gallery)