29 October 2017 / Club News

Hafodyrynys edge the Village after holding off spirited comeback

Markham met Hafodrynys for the second time in a month, this time in the Swalec Bowl. It was another tense thrilling encounter with Hafodrynys looking to revenge the Village’s comeback win on the 29th of September.

Markham started with brilliant intensity, and it paid off after two powerful runs from Gareth Price, the second run weaving through Hafodrynys defence in their 22 before an exquisite offload to Kris Meredith who scored under the post, for the perfect start. Hafodrynys soon found parity however, with clever kicking, and disrupting Markham’s set piece, the Village also gave up several penalties and they were punished when Hafodrynys No.8 stormed off the back of the scrum and crashed over for a try to make the score 7-5.

Markham responded well to the try, keeping their heads up and immediately getting back into the Hafodrynys half, the away side conceded a penalty which was narrowly missed after a solid strike from Gareth Price. Lewis Benjamin had an impressive showing in the first half for the Village, and he broke a few tackles racing towards the try line, however he could only drop the ball forward when trying to offload from the floor, another reprieve for the away side. Hafodrynys done well to clear their lines, and soon momentum was back with them after hard work from the forwards – they executed an overlap in Markham’s 22 but the ball was dropped when trying to push over the line.

The missed opportunity didn’t cost the away side for too long, Hafodrynys pinched the ball at the line out in Markham’s 22 and set themselves up to rumble on through the forwards, Markham had done very well defending on their line throughout the game, but the pressure was too much this time as the away side’s No.8 grabbed his second try of the game, carrying three defenders over the line with him, the away side deservedly led at the break 12-7, but the score could have been different had the home side executed their opportunities.

The theme would continue in the second half, Markham’s best player on the day Kris Meredith went on a brilliant run, the ball was recycled quickly but a forward pass prevented another clear-cut chance, it didn’t seem to be the home side’s day. The missed chance was compounded when Hafodrynys added to their lead, kicking a penalty to take the lead to 15-7, the penalty was cancelled out almost immediately after the away side failed to deal with the restart properly, the lead now 15-10. The home side seemed to have the momentum, but Hafodrynys scrappy pack continued to be stubborn and played a sensible game, kicking deep into Markham’s 22. Then came a moment of madness, the home side trying to increase the tempo threw a quick line out, which was pounced on by a Hafodrynys player to score an opportunistic try, the conversion was added to make the score 22-10, a long way back for the Village who were not as clinical as in previous weeks.

Giving up was not an option for the Village however, and they staged an incredible fightback with time running out, they showed great bravery with Jordan Watkins repeatedly spinning the ball wide to try and find an overlap, you don’t need an overlap with Dewi Carpenter gets the ball, who stepped inside in his own half and sprinted away – fending off tacklers and placing the ball over the line for a much-needed score, a moment of brilliance. The conversion was missed and Hafodrynys still led by 7 with less than ten minutes remaining. Markham’s game plan was simply to attack from anywhere, and with the ball in the hands of Kris Meredith, there was danger for the away side, he went on another brilliant run, before offloading to Luke Hughes, he drew a defender in before offloading to Dewi Carpenter who finished a brilliant move from the Village, the only downside was that Watkins faced a tough sideline conversion, the ball was struck well but came agonisingly short and wide.

Hafodrynys only had two minutes to survive, and forced Markham to attack from deep, Markham kept fighting for every yard, Hafodrynys found their last ounce of energy and counter rucked with the ball just over halfway, the referee awarded a scrum to the away side, who now needed to compose themselves to secure the win. They secured the ball, played a couple of phases before booting the ball off the park to move into Round 4 of the Swalec Bowl. A game that had everything – swings of momentum, and a breathless last ten minutes with the Village nearly pulling off an improbable comeback. The Village return to league action next weekend with an away trip to Rhymney. 

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