SWALEC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
May 6 2015
LLANHARAN 21 CARDIFF METROPOLITAN 13 (HT 5-6)
We knew the target – a single bonus point would keep us in the championship and send Tondu down.
We did more than enough, a whole hearted display seeing off the students for a precious victory.
A young team that had grown in strength and confidence since the turn of the year, inspirationally led by Scott Malone, truly came of age on a night when a westerly gale and torrential rain graced proceedings.
Encouraging signs that things were becoming better had appeared in the second half of winter and coaches Colin Malone and Dennis John, the latter magnanimously stepping back into the breach when Matthew Lloyd left, began to see the reward for their investment in undoubted, if somewhat raw, talent.
Against the students there was ultimate composure, commitment and competence as we earned our worthy reprieve.
On the night, we faced the elements in the first forty, and did what was necessary at just 6-5 down to set the scene for second half dominance.
Sixth placed Met were given early evidence of what was to come with Nathan Huish and his pack strong in the set pieces, but two penalty kicks by Jacob Chilcott gave them a 6-0 advantage on the half hour.
However, we got the motivational score we wanted before the turn around as Huish, Rory Martin- Smith and Jack Davies made headway, assisted by the unsung grafting of Tom Piper, Simon Collins, Bill Carey and Huw Thomas, with scrum half Nicky Theaker always probing thoughtfully.
A penalty to the corner gave Huish the chance he thrived on and the doughty hooker was over wide out for the important try.
Llan did not have the best of starts with the gale at our backs after the turn around as the set piece suffered a few wobbles, but helped by referee Simon Mills’s intervention to sort out some illicit scrummaging, it soon got back on course.
Met paid the price for some talking back as ten metres were added to a penalty and young Harrison Evans, an example of a player who had rapidly found his feet at a higher level in the game, drilled over the kick to give us the lead.
It was Evans’ up and under that created a foothold inside the defending twenty two and Huish came away from the lineout to set the backs in motion, Sam Edwards, a perpetual threat with co centre Tom Farrah-Evans, breaking through the mid field for the clinching try as the third quarter came to an end.
Evans converted and then struck another decisive penalty for an 18-6 lead after Morgan Williams, like fellow winger Josh Clark an ever alert member of the back division, had come agonisingly close to getting the touchdown as the ball drifted just out of reach, propelled by the wind over the try area.
Llanharan were now well in control with Geraint Llewellyn and Evans adopting appropriate tactics, Evans landing yet another superb kick for a fifteen point lead.
Useful re-energising came as Aled Rees, Gethin Cashmore, Tom Williams, Ollie Smyth and Mike Powell were sent on, and although there was a converted touchdown for prop Will Norton from a short range penalty drive right at the end, Llanharan’s triumph was by then a foregone conclusion.
Llanharan tries – Nathan Huish and Sam Edwards; con and pens 3 – Harrison Evans.
Cardiff Met try – Will Norton; pens 2 – Jacob Chilcott; con Lewis Pearce.
15 Geraint Llewellyn
14 Morgan Williams (Mike Powell 74)
13 Sam Edwards
12 Tom Farrah-Evans
11 Josh Clark (Ollie Smyth 72)
10 Harrison Evans
9 Nick Theaker
1 Simon Collins
2 Nathan Huish (Gethin Cashmore 70)
3 Tom Piper (Aled Rees 66)
4 Jack Davies (Tom Williams 71)
5 Bill Carey
6 Scott Malone (C)
7 Rory Martin-Smith
8 Huw Thomas
Report by Hugh Smith. Images by Richie Jenkins.