Newbridge RFC | 1st Team 17 - 29 Maesteg Harlequins RFC | 1st Team
Owen Howe
1 Conversion
5 Penalty
Michael Owen
1 Try

Match Report
06 October 2018 / Team News


Saturday September 29th 2018

Newbridge 17 – 29 Maesteg Quins

WRU Championship

As the first month of the season came to its close, the sun shone on the Quins in more ways than one.

It was a hectic week at the Welfare Ground. After losing three of four opening fixtures, the former Merit Table stalwarts parted company with coach Jon Daye and quickly inserted Kristian Gay, in efforts to reverse their current form.

On this occasion it wasn’t to be a Gay day. The Quins’ destructive forwards force laid the solid foundations for victory. It was like turning the clock back two decades when the gnarled leviathans of yesteryear were ploughing through all in front of them. There was one massive difference – this was not the lower leagues of Welsh rugby, this is the Championship! All credit to the pit props and ponies of the front five.

Quins started better than their hosts. Their continuity play was exceptional, usually beginning with a Mike Owen barge. Tadgh McGuckin brought in attackers, distributed and darted to keep home defenders thinking, but Newbridge held firm and took the lead with an Eamonn Rees penalty.

Owen Howe levelled the scores with his second long-range effort after a ruck indiscretion on half way.

Aided by a series of penalties, the Quins’ continuity play took its toll and advantage was being played under the shadow of the home posts. Rejecting both the ‘free play’ and an easy shot at goal, Quins called a scrum. At the third time of asking, the referee took exception to another infringement and awarded a penalty try.

A sky-scraping Howe up and under was regathered. Lee Ronan punted the ball ahead and Ryan George scarpered into pole position to snap up possession and in all likelihood score. Quite how the ball bounced so high is unfathomable, but in a rocket-like launch it reared up ten feet to beat all would-be re-gatherers. A scramble ensued and just as Matthew Tidball took delivery of a pass to sprint towards the line with nobody to impede his progress, the referee spotted a slight nudge forward and the opportunity to extend the lead was lost.

Instead of leading seventeen-three with half-time on the horizon Newbridge were in the ascendancy, making several line breaks. Line-out drives were repelled until a more potent shunt allowed skipper Stuart Vokes to burrow over. Rees converted and half-time arrived with the scores all square.

It was an instantaneous response after the fifteen minutes hiatus. A weakness in the home scrum was exploited to the full in the second period and the first kickable goal was slotted by Howe.

Scrum – penalty – goal – repeat; appeared to be the order of the afternoon. It was great to see a referee not attempt to even things up at the scrum. This process was punctuated when a sustained movement was brought to a halt by a home forward killing the ball on the line. With the ‘Pigs’ reduced to fourteen, a scrum from point blank range was called.

There was no time for Newbridge to twist, turn stand up or drop, in their efforts to disrupt any advance. It was a rapid reverse and Mike Owen grabbed a touchdown. Howe converted and two further forty yards plus penalties were goaled by the talismanic full-back to extend the Quins’ lead.

Attempting to gain field position from the boot was the right option, but the Quins’ execution was not the best, allowing Newbridge to gain a foothold.

When called upon the Quins defended with dogged defiance. Scrambling and harassing with every ounce of energy they had against tricky half-back and midfield pairings. When the hosts thought they were through, Josh Mines would lasso himself around their legs. Alex Griffiths chased and harassed well. Ryan George and Kieran Watkins were tenacious. While Lee Ronan made a kamikaze pilot appear cautious.

There was a massive competition at the break down which the Quins won comprehensively. The reason was three-fold – an immense improvement in discipline in this area. Practice. Plus, it wasn’t just the usual culprits in the form of Tidball, Steve Williams and Mike Owen who stole possession; everyone pitched in with a steal. Kieran Griffiths proving particularly immovable to gain the final penalty.

Newbridge were desperate to get something out of the game. This desperation resulted in several unforced knock-ons. Finally, Newbridge reached the Quins twenty-five and elusive Sam Withers slithered over for a try which he also converted.

Not wishing to hand the Gwent men a chance of picking up any points, Howe converted a fifth penalty to take a losing bonus point away from their hosts should a kickable penalty come their way. This took Howe’s personal tally to seventeen.

Quins move up to sixth in the table and next Saturday face Rhydfelin at South Parade in what promises to be another exciting encounter.


There doesn't appear to be any tagged photos.

Upload and Tag Photos