Quins handed league debuts to Aled Bevan and Jake Lewis, but for their first match of the new season the Quins lacked their usual vibrancy, verve and did not apply their top two inches. Consequently, the game turned into a damp squib for the coal black and blood reds, not just because of the teeming rain that fell throughout.
Alternatively, the Mules looked more motivated, hungrier, determined and focused on the job. Applying pressure with the simplest wet weather game-plan, the expert way they executed it made it all the more effective.
Kenfig Hill’s kicking game was infinitely superior. Their kicks were accurate and purposeful, gaining them ground at every opportunity. The Quins’ kicks were mostly SCUD-like and easily dealt with.
The scrum was the only facet of play where the Quins were dominant, but they became something of a ‘one-trick-pony,’ as nothing else was working.
The Quins back-line movements just passed the ball along the line without forward momentum. While Kenfig Hill would get into attacking positions and patiently play through the phases. Such was the Mules focus, they were in control within five minutes of the second half re-start and didn’t look like losing the game from that point.
Despite being unable to adapt to the conditions, the Quins still had opportunities to pressurise their visitors. However, these opportunities were surrendered when eleven line-outs were uncharacteristically lost when getting into the visiting twenty-five. Pressure was relieved and opportunities to play through the phases and create scoring opportunities of their own vanished.
Penalties were swapped between Giles and Lloyd Bradley, before a period of scoreboard inertia.
This was eventually ended when the ball was neatly chipped over the top and bobbed nicely in a pool in the the in-goal area for the Mules to touch-down. Another Giles penalty soon followed.
A Quins driving line-out saw Scott Williams score in the corner and Bradley’s conversion hit the upright. At 8-11, there was everything to play for in the second half.
The second half kick-off unmasked the Quins’ unexpected, overall quandary. All it took was to gather the restart and set the ball up. The Quins couldn’t manage this and within minutes, the Mules scored a converted try.
After trying to get back into the game by running and driving line-outs which didn’t work, Bradley kicked another penalty to bring the Quins within bonus point territory.
Unable to believe their luck at the Quins not fully using the elements to their advantage, Kenfig Hill kicked deep towards the corners. This worked as another kick put the Quins in their twenty-five. A patient series of recycling saw the Mules score their third try and end a damp and dreary day for the Quins.
It would be remiss not to mention the referee who was excellent. At just nineteen years old he performed very well. He was given the respect his position deserved by both sets of players, but soon gained respect through his performance.
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