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08 October 2017 / Club News

Markham hold off Stars comeback to progress into Round 3 of Swalec Bowl

For the second year running, these two rival teams would meet in the Swalec Bowl. Markham were convincing winners last year with a 53-0 victory, the fixture this time around was a much closer affair. Markham went into the game unbeaten in the season, and off the back of a hard-fought win over Hafodrynys, Blackwood Stars are currently 9th in League 3 East B with two wins and two losses.

Blackwood Stars started the game well, with a powerful driving maul moving them into Markham’s 22, they should have capitalised on the early pressure with a three on two overlap, but the ball was spilled on the wing, just before the try line. Markham cleared their lines, and the next ten minutes was dominated by defence, with both teams unable to break each other down, there was some very good tactical kicking on display from both teams, with Gavin Price for Markham and Nathan Hughes for the Stars, trying to gain territory. A lapse in concentration from the Village, saw the stars break through into Markham territory, however captain Gavin Price got over the ball and won a penalty for the Village.

The first crucial turning point happened when the Stars had a line out in Markham’s 22, the man of the match for the 2nd week running Luke Hughes stole the ball, the ball was recycled and passed out to Gareth Price to clear, however Gareth Price dummied and went on a strong run breaking tackles before the ball was passed out to Dewi Carpenter who stretched his legs into space and broke away from the retreating defenders for a superb counter attacking try, it was a real punch in the gut for the Stars, who dominated the first period of the game. The second try was very similar, Markham taking a quick tap penalty on their try line and spreading the ball out wide, captain Gavin Price went on a superb angled run into the Stars 22, the ball was recycled quickly and Ryan Morgan was put in for a simple, clinical try to give Markham a 12-0 lead. Markham continued the frenetic attitude and attacked from deep in their half on several occasions, they added one more fantastic try before the half, with more fast paced attacking runs putting them into the Stars half, the ball was moved towards the right side line, before the ball was released left with the Stars defenders tied into the breakdown, a few sharp accurate passes to the left and Lewis Hughes was able to place the ball down for a superb team try, suddenly there looked like no chance for the Stars to come back with Markham’s lead 19-0 at half time.

Markham continued their attacking style early in the second half, Gareth Price and Ben Matthews with strong carries. When the overlap looked to be on, the Stars infringed and gave Markham a chance to extend the lead, Gareth Price slotted the ball through the posts to extend the lead to 22-0. The Stars needed to wake up quickly, and poor discipline from Markham allowed them to kick to the corner, the Stars got their first try off the back of a scrum, after a slight delay the referee eventually awarded a try as the Stars reduced the lead to 22-7. The Village’ response was superb, with the ball on half way, Dewi Carpenter ran hard onto the ball and burst through two tacklers before sprinting into space, cutting inside to the right and held of a tackler placing the ball over the try line under the posts, the conversion was added to restore Markham’s 22 point lead. Blackwood Stars then hit back with their own good attacking moves, putting them into Markham’s 22, this time they finished an overlap and reduced Markham’s lead once more, Nathan Hughes struck an excellent conversion to make the score 29-14. The Village continued to lack discipline, and Blackwood kept their intensity up, and entered Markham’s 22 again, after the ball spilled out of the ruck, the Stars number eight picked up and caught the Markham defence off guard, and powered over the line, the referee took a close look before giving a try and suddenly the Stars were very much in the game, especially after another great conversion took the Stars to within eight points.

 

Markham had regained ball, and again tried to break the line with hard runs onto short passes, however this time the Stars defence done enough to prevent a clean line break. When they regathered the ball, the Stars attacked out wide and their number eight almost had a clean break before a superb ankle tap tackle from Stefan Evans. Time eventually ran out for the Stars, and when Markham cleared the ball into touch a few minutes later, the referee blew his whistle as Markham held on to progress into Round 3 of the Swalec Bowl, with a very good win against a team in the League above. Markham return to league action next weekend with an away trip to Rogerstone on the 14th of October.

 

Man of the Match: Luke Hughes

Try scorers: Dewi Carpenter (2), Lewis Hughes, Ryan Morgan 

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