Fixture

Maesteg Harlequins RFC | 1st Team 47 - 28 Bridgend Athletic RFC | 1st Team
Owen Howe
Conversion 5
Penalty 4
Lewis Francis
Try 1
Geraint John Evans
Try 1
Kieron Watkins
Try 1
Aled Edwards
Try 1
Nathan Smith
Try 1

Match Report
08 May 2018 / Team News

Maesteg Quins 47 - 28 Bridgend Athletic

Saturday, May, 5th, 2018

Maesteg Quins 47 – 28 Bridgend Athletic

Division One West Central

Something had to give. Two irresistible forces collided when second placed Bridgend Athletic confronted table-topping Maesteg Quins at South Parade.

Interesting sub-plots permeated this fixture. Athletic were rightly confident, pointing to an excellent fourteen matches unbeaten run. The run goes back to November 2017 when the Quins beat the Bridgend men at the Brewery Field.

In a case of ‘our unbeaten run is bigger than yours,’ Quins too had an unblemished league record. Theirs went back thirty matches to December 2016. It was the Athletic who gave the Quins their last taste of league defeat that day.

Opposing teams who have faced the Athletic and Quins of late, felt the Bridgend outfit would inflict the first seasonal defeat upon the Maesteg men.

There was an additional incentive for the coal black and blood reds. Three more league points, one more victory, beating one more team would mean the Division One crown would be theirs. The consequence of this motivating factor was a mesmerising Quins performance.

Choosing to enter a kicking duel with Qwen Howe proved a folly for the Athletic. When measured in distance and accuracy, an early bout of aerial tennis went the Quins way.

Awarded a penalty on the Athletics’ five yards line, Quins opted for a touch-finder. The ensuing maul forced its way over the line and Lewis Francis was on the ball to score. Owen Howe slotted the conversion.

The visitors were conceding penalties thick and fast. Owen Howe put ten points between the teams with a regulation goal.

A change of momentum was caused by several Quins infringements. Starting with a ruck offence on the Athletic’s twenty-five. Then came a high tackle and when penalised at a ruck on the try-line, a quick tap saw visiting captain Ben Howe bundle over. Bevan converted.

Rhodri Bwye made a huge break in his own twenty-five to open up the opposition. The move ended feet from the Athletic line. Again Bwye intervened to steal possession at a driving maul. Getting into the opposition half Quins gained a penalty and Howe converted.

Quins’ steady accumulation of points suddenly accelerated. From a line-out Lewis Tutt and Lee Ronan combined to break open the defence. Nathan Smith took possession and ploughed over for the Quins’ second try. Howe converted.

Owen Howe continued to punish his opponents with another penalty.

Matthew Tidball’s carving carry gave the Quins the momentum to instigate an attack. Lee Ronan wriggled through, rapid recycling put Aled Edwards in at the corner and Howe added two more.

In the second half a high tackle and Howe – you guessed it.

Bridgend Athletic cannot be pinned down for an entire eighty minutes. Kicking out on the full seemed fairly innocuous at the time, but after seven minutes of attack, the Athletic were awarded a penalty. Another quick tap and the Bridgend boys were over. Bevan converted.

The Athletic needed to make consecutive scores. This was not allowed to happen as the Quins built a big lead and never let go.

A Garryowen was allowed to bounce. Lee Ronan led the charge and hacked on. Regaining possession, fresh from beating the Wallabies, two of the Quins’ Wales Deaf internationals combined to devastating effect. Andrew Healy burst through and passed to Kieron Watkins. Jinking at first, Watkins took a direct route. Handing off a would-be tackler, on losing balance the wing stretched out to score the bonus point try. Owen Howe added two more points.

Reducing the arrears, the Athletic manufactured a clever try. Building patiently through the phases centre Jenkins’ intelligent support run was the key to getting over the line and Bevan converted.

Quins’ replacements all made an impact. The try of the match started seventy yards out. Adam Hillier-Rees bludgeoned the midfield. If Hillier-Rees was the cudgel, Andrew Healy was the arrow. His pace when hitting Hillier’s pop-pass surprised and left the opposition in his wake. Replacement scrum-half Ben Davies kept the defence honest and the high paced momentum. Rhodri Davies’ pass was so sharp, it would shave the hair off a kiwi fruit and replacement Geraint Evans was sent through a gap by a for a fifth try.

Between the Quins’ Owen and his namesake, Athletic’s skipper Ben Howe, their name was spoken more times than at a Native American gathering.

It was a superb all round Quins team performance. In the heat they did not falter and some seemed to thrive. Yet Owen Howe’s kick returns pinned the Newbridge Fields men deep in their half. His points tally swelled to twenty-two with a perfect nine from nine performance.

Predictably the Athletic were not finished. They love to run from anywhere and with nothing to lose they were particularly dangerous. A clever pass allowed Bevan to add a try to his four conversions and gain his team a well-deserved bonus point.

At full-time Athletic’s fourteen match unbeaten run ended. The Quins’ run continued but more importantly, victory brought a greater prize, the Division One title - the Quins’ eighth national league crown.

It was a stunningly beautiful day, but the weather was outshone by the wonderful rugby on display and relegated even lower by the absolute, unbending and thoroughly overwhelming pride felt by all the followers of such a fantastic team. Without doubt the finest talent packed group to have ever represented the coal black and blood reds. Such seasons are exceptionally rare. The lucky few who are around right now to see it – just drink it all in, enjoy every single second.

However, there is no time to rest or dwell on plaudits. Three league games remain with Resolven on Tuesday [8th], Tondu on 10th and Ystalyfera in a week’s time.

The High Motive / Glamorgan County Silver Ball Final versus Glamorgan Wanderers follows on the 19th at the Morganstone Brewery Field. There’s more. Whether it will be a one or two matches play-off to see who goes into the Championship from the West remains to be seen.

Ymlaen.

 

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