Fixture

Maesteg Harlequins RFC | 1st Team 11 - 18 Ystrad Rhondda RFC | 1st Team
Owen Howe
Penalty 2
Jakob Williams
Try 1
Rhys Truelove
1 Conversion
2 Penalty
Sion Summers
1 Try
Cole Swanack
1 Try

Match Report
08 September 2018 / Team News

MATCH REPORT: OPPORTUNITIES LOST

Saturday September 8th 2018

Maesteg Quins 11 – 18 Ystrad Rhondda

WRU Championship

So the Quins’ first league point in the Championship was to be a losing bonus in the home contest between the two promoted clubs.

Starting well, after fifteen minutes a good driving maul had Ystrad Rhondda on the back foot. A scrappy delivery was picked up by Lee Ronan who looked to be setting up a potent attack, until the referee whistled for a visiting infringement. Showing a yellow card to the scrum-half, Owen Howe kicked the penalty.

The ‘penalty disease’ was to raise its ugly head. The first for a scrum infringement was unlucky. The second, after a quick tap and go by Ystrad, was needless and the third under the shadow of the Quins' posts, after a line-out from the kick to touch was foolish. Rhys Truelove levelled the scores.

Quins went through multiple phases of attack. Ystrad’s defence was equal to the task and at this point they were far more confident than the Quins in enforcing a turnover. Tadgh McGuckin made a half break but didn’t quite spot a support runner making his way towards him.

The kicking game was poles apart. Ystrad were kicking with accuracy and purpose, to heap pressure on their host. Home play with the boot lacked precision and generally went straight to the opposition, giving visiting dangerman Cole Swannock plenty of time, space and opportunities to launch dangerous counter-attacks.Ystrad kicked to where the Quins weren't. Quins kicked to where Ystrad were.

Quins created space and were making their way up the tram-lines. It was the right decision to pass, unfortunately the ball went into touch.

After a needless high tackle, the Quins were made to pay. Firstly, Ystrad’s backs unpicked the home defence and when they got close to the line, the forwards took over. A relentless period of short drives was repelled by a Quins defence that was becoming increasingly comfortable.

Unknown to the Quins, while the forwards were battling away, full-back Swannack placed himself on the very extremities of the touch-line. The ball went through half a dozen more phases before, as quick as a flash, the entire Ystrad three-quarter-line moved swiftly to the left-hand side of the field to link with the full-back. Transferring the ball fluidly, Swannack was over for the game’s first try.

There was an opportunity to reduce the arrears before half-time, but the penalty attempt drifted wide.

Early in the second half a line-out win against the throw saw Nathan Smith striding up-field. Choosing to kick, the ball ended up in Swannock’s hands. From his run Ystrad gained a penalty that was kicked to touch. In a rare moment of weak defending, Trulove sent Rhys Howells under the posts without a finger being laid upon him, as a huge gap opened for the centre to walk through. It was all the more puzzling and disappointing as the move came from first phase possession.

Everything the Quins did appeared laboured compared to their guests. Slow recycling allowed Ystrad to re-group. Quins were distinctly second best in their reaction times and they lacked dynamism with players taking the ball from standing starts, making them sitting ducks for Ystrad’s rush defence. Consequently, despite having something of a purple patch, Ystrad contended with the pressure.

Yet is was a good period of play. Ystrad kept out a long series of line-outs and driving mauls that whirled and waltzed towards the line.

Sucking in Ystrad’s defence, a pass out wide was knocked on with the line at the Quins mercy. Dithering also ended a promising move under the Ystrad posts, when a run was aborted, so was a pass and the carrier was left stranded.

Ystrad’s patient play just proved how well drilled and comfortable they were in everything they did. Taking the sting out of the Quins tail, the Rhondda men kept possession for long phases.

Ben Davies hacked ahead and had nobody near him if the ball had not trickled into touch. A cross-kick was delicately placed directly into the hands of the defender. Instead of causing discomfort, it became nothing more than a pass to the visiting wing.

In contrast, Ystrad ensured they didn’t leave the Quins half without scoring. Wearing the Quins down like a fine glass-paper, they kicked a penalty when the Quins were guilty of not rolling away. Truelove goaled.

Again the Quins pulled themselves up by their boot straps. A five yards scrum saw Jakob Williams pick up and arc his way over the line.

With time ticking away, Howe goaled a penalty to take the Quins into bonus point territory. There was still time create a thrilling finale and slight glimmers of hope punctuated the final minutes. However, the Ystrad forwards unit knew when to tuck the ball away and they all carried exceptionally throughout and in the final minutes they did so to ensure there was no ‘get out of jail card’ for the Quins.

Nobody is more disappointed than the players themselves. Opportunities were created and pressure was placed on Ystrad but to win matches – chances have to be taken and pressure has to be turned into points. They worked hard to achieve Championship status and they won’t sell themselves cheaply. They will be on the training paddock again to improve.

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