Fixture

Croesyceiliog RFC | 1st Team 48 - 15 Garndiffaith RFC | 1st Team
Ryan Bates
Try 1
Micki Thomas Witts
Try 1
Haydn Simons
Conversion 5
Penalty 1
Try 2
Stephen Drummond
Try 1
James Tucker
Try 2

Match Report
23 April 2017 / Team News

Croesy secure Division 2 East title

Croesy secured the Division 2 East title with an emphatic 48 points to 12 over Garndiffaith at a hot and sunny Woodland Road.

Croesy started the game in nervy fashion with dropped catches and passes and kicks out of hand rolling over the Garndiffaith dead ball line on three separate occasions. The Croesy scrum however exerted its early dominance. The first scrum seeing late replacement Greg Stephens opposite number being driven up in the air and twisted so that he ended up facing his own second row as he broke away from the scrum. Unfortunately for Croesy the resulting injury saw Garndiffaith opting for uncontested scrum as they had no prop replacement. This undoubtedly affected the Croesy game as their dominance in this facet of play was negated for the vast majority of the game.

Croesy scored their first try after ten minutes when scrum half Ryan Bates appeared to have turned into a number of Garndiffaith defenders, only for him to pass to wing Stephen Drummond who, despite seemingly having no space, managed to turn the Garn defenders to sprint down the touchline before making the conversion easier by touching down 15 metres from the posts. Outside-half Haydn Simons kicked the conversion.

Haydn Simons soon added another 3 points as the Garn back line were caught offside at a ruck in their own 22 as Croesy launched another attack.

Despite not really hitting top gear, Croesy were still too good for a Garn team who battled hard, and scored a second try when from an attacking lineout midway in the Garn half, Haydn Simons looped around his two centres piercing the Garn defence as he took the pass before crossing for a try that he converted.

Garndiffaith eventually got their first points on the board via a penalty goal as Croesy were caught offside at a ruck during a rare attack into the Croesy 22.

Croesy responded with a third try when second row Micki Witts crossed the line unopposed from a lineout 5m from the Garndiffaith tryline as the defence were completely wrong-footed. Haydn Simons added the two points.

On the stroke of half-time Croesy secured the try bonus point when Jamie Williams put in a ferocious tackle on the remaining Gran prop on the Croesy 10m line knocking the ball free. The ball was scooped up by hooker David Fosdick who broke clear before passing to No.8 Steven Thomas who, sensing that the Garn defenders were closing in on him, passed on to wing James Tucker who crossed from 22m out for an unconverted try.

Garndiffaith regrouped at halftime and showed up strongly for the first twenty minutes of the second half as Croesy again struggled to hit top gear, being dominated at the ruck area. Garn scored their first try of the game through a breakaway converted try.

Player-coach Jamie Williams called the players together and coach Chris Landry rang the changes with all five substitutes being used. Croesy rallied and Dale Price, who had just replaced an injured Steven Thomas, galloped through a hole in the Garn defence 40m out before passing onto Haydn Simons who was in close support. Haydn Simons crossed for the try before adding the conversion.

Garn then scored their second try when Croesy themselves seemed destined to score with a two man overlap. Unfortunately Ryan Bates pass was intercepted by one of the Garn centres who ran in a try from midway in his own half. The try went unconverted.

With the clock running down, Croesy still managed to have the last word with two late tries. The first was scored by wing James Tucker who rounded off a simple passing move along the backline by breaking through one tackle before dragging a second tackler over the line with him as he touched down near the corner. The try was unconverted.

The last try came from a breakout from near his own line by Ryan Bates who found himself in a great deal of space. After running almost the whole length of the field, he passed the ball to James Tucker as he was being caught by a Garn defender. Tucker unselfishly passed the ball back to Ryan Bates as he crossed the line, allowing him to score the try and denying himself a hat trick of tries. The try was unconverted.

This was effectively the last action of the match as the referee blew the final whistle, the cue for wild celebrations for the team, coaches, management and all supporters.

In truth this was not one of Croesy’s better performances of the season but this match was about getting over the line and securing the title. The man of the match was Greg Stephens who, in a rare start showed a willingness to carry throughout as well putting in a full shift in defence.

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