In a highly entertaining encounter, the Dairymen put in a courageous performance against the top of the table visitors but ultimately struggled to cope with the strength in depth of a talented Ystrad Rhondda squad. Despite going into the break 14 - 7 the better of their opponents, Ystrad rallied in the second half to score 33 unanswered points to secure a bonus point victory and ensure their place at the top of the tree. The game was preceeded by a minute silence in tribute to young Cian Case and Club Treasurer, Kay Postans and their families. After a well fought opening, it was Ystrad Rhondda who registered the first score of the game early on following a potent driving lineout from outside the 22. Playing toward the clubhouse, Ystrad drove the Dairymen back into their try line with control and precision, until the Ystrad No 8 broke right off from the back as a gap opened up. The message from the home skipper was react...in credit to his team that's exactly the response he got. Llanharan began to attack from set piece and test the Ystrad defence. In a fine flowing move, Ystrad were left exposed outwide as Morgan Williams found the ball in space. Passing back inside to Chris Poole, the move continued on but came unstuck as the next ball failed to go to hand. Collecting the loose ball it was Ystrad's turn to attack as Llanharan became stretched. If not for a last ditch tackle from full back, Sion Summers, a certain score was prevented as the ball was knocked on. It was Llan that secured the second try of the game, just reward for their enterprise in attack and hard work in defence. From the middle of the pitch, a scrum to Llanharan saw the ball released from Scott Jones to Chris Poole, who exposed a lack of pace on his opposite number to round the defensive line, draw the full back and release Summers in space. Unchallenged, Summers scored under the posts to allow an easy conversion for Jones and to equal the scoreline. As expected, Ystrad responded well and continued to carry well into a srong defence, with another try prevented by Calum Palmer. Despite the size difference, Calum threw himself into the path of a marauding Ystrad Rhondda ball carrier. The Ystrad attack again coming undone by the committment and desire of the Diarymen, as the ball came unstuck and Llan were able to clear the lines. The second try of the game that gave the Black and Blue an advantage at half time, was the result of a big collision as Huw Thomas hit hard in defence as an Ystrad attacker released the ball. Quick reactions from Morgan Williams saw him intercept the wayward pass around the halfway. With the fullback out of position, it was a race to the corner that Williams won to touch down. A great kick from the touchline saw the try converted by Scott Jones and things were beginning to look promising at half time...could the Dairymen cause an upset against top of the table opponents? The second half unfortunately became a one sided affair with Ystrad utilising their talented squad to ring the changes. As the match continued, their substitutes brough fresh legs and impitus into attack and defence as they scored five unanswered tries. Some of the tries could be described as fortuitous but you make your own luck by forcing errors and capitalising still when opportunities appear. The first score of the Ystrad second half tries was secured from the forwards - the result of an elected scrum following a penalty. The powerful and organised Ystrad pack driving the Dairymen back to allow a simple touchdown. Following the conversion, the scores were tied but the momentum stayed with Ystrad. The second score was the result of a charge down grubber kick on the halfway that gave the visitors possession and race in the Llanharan 22 only to be brought down. The ball was quickly recycled and spread wide until a clever inside pass back inside from their 10 saw Ystrad beat the rush defence and score a converted try. At 14-19, Llanharan continued to fight and make the visitors work as they attempted to get back in the game. Unfortunately, good set peice work saw Ystrad starve the Dairymen of the ball and quickly regain possession at every opportunity. The third try of the second half was again the result of a beak away try after a knock on from Llanharan. After regaining the ball, Ystrad quickly recycled possession. With Llanharan defences stretched, the Ystrad backline exploited a mismatch in midfield to score just left of the posts. As the scoreline ticked over, substitute Brandon Nelson stepped onto the field after a period of absence but was yellow carded quickly after entering the frey. As Ystrad attacked, stuck at the bottom of the ruck, Brandon was penalised for preventing the release of the ball. Despite only being on the field for a short period, Brandon copped it for a series of penalties as the patience of the Match Official was tested one time too many. The penalty was drilled into the corner and as Llanharan attempted to prevent the score after successive waves of attack. Defending a lineout just 5 metres out, Ystrad finally scored their fourth with another driving lineout through the forwards. The final score was the result of a break through the Llanharan defence around the halfway. The damage was done through strong ball carriers and offloading in thr tackle. At this point in the game, heavy legs made defending difficult, as the Ystrad centre raced under the posts following some good offloads. Despite the scoreline ending up 14-40, each Llanharan player continued to fight until the very end and battle bravely against a side that appears destined for the Championship. For many parts of the game, in particular the first half, the Dairymen matched Ystrad and in taking the opportunities presented, deserved to go in ahead at the break. Our next match will see us travel to Porth Harlequins after the international break. With several players expected back from injuru, the squad can take positives from this match as we look to secure the points and give ourselves the best opportunity to stay in the league.