Fixture

Maesteg Harlequins RFC | 1st Team 19 - 15 Bedlinog RFC | 1st Team
Owen Howe
Conversion 1
Penalty 4
Jakob Williams
Try 1
Nathan Huish
1 Try
Alexander Paul Meeson
2 Try

Match Report
20 October 2018 / Team News

HEN [BLWYF] BEATS FOX: MAESTEG QUINS 19-15 BEDLINOG

Saturday October 20th 2018

Maesteg Quins 19 – 15 Bedlinog

WRU Championship

Maesteg RFCs No.1 supporter Kevin Dixon was remembered for his contribution to rugby union in the Llynfi valley by the Quins, who held a minute’s silence and wore odd socks for the match in honour of a true character of Yr Hen Blwyf.

During the first ten minutes Quins dominated possession with excellent continuity play. Bedlinog's defence was left threadbare as a result of the expert phase play. Jay Ronan romped over the line to mark his 150th Quins appearance with a try, but it was not to be.

An ill-thougt punch led to the referee hauling play back and showing a straight red to a Harlequin. Would the lost try chance, dismissal and subsequent disparity in personnel be the decisive moment of the game? Only time would tell.

Instantly the previous continuity stopped. However, it was fourteen-man Quins who took the lead, when Bedlinog killed the ball at a ruck and Owen Howe put the Quins 3-nil up.

With the bit between their teeth the hosts got into another attacking position. Jakob Williams gathered untidy line-out ball. In an act of true alchemy and an excellent example of ‘heads-up rugby’, Williams spotted space and showing a turn of pace, the scrum-half weaved his way over the line to touchdown in the corner. Howe converted to give the Quins a ten points lead.

Shoved off their own ball, Quins were penalised but the Foxes missed the relatively simple chance.

Bedlinog chose to run out of defence and the ball flew out of a ruck. Like a trap-door spider appearing from the shifting sand, Josh Mines ensnared the prostrate defender to glean a penalty which Howe converted to build a decent lead. 

A difference between the teams was the way in which Bedlinog were lying deeper and running onto the ball, while the Quins were flat and easier to contain from their standing starts. Lock Alex Meeson broke the line and found hooker Nathan Huish on his shoulder. A last-ditch tackle hauled the visiting skipper down. Quick recycling from a couple of rucks and again Meeson was in the line to finish the move he started with a try. The simple conversion was missed. Would these missed points be the undoing of the Foxes? Only time would tell.

The referee allowed a good contest to unfold at the breakdown and both sides took advantage of this rare opportunity. Penalties did at times seem ‘unusual’ but the breakdown contest made for a better game.

Lewis Tutt was downed by a no arms tackle that went unpunished and when the position was lost, the unsighted incident in full view was all the more galling.

Early in the second half the Quins didn’t kill a grubber kick and found themselves defending an attacking Bedlinog line-out. The first drive was halted, but the coal black and blood reds didn’t regroup quickly enough. The Foxes were over the line for Meeson to clain a second try to reduce the score to 13-10.

Awarded a kickable penalty in the Quins twenty-five, if Bedlinog converting the goal it would have levelled the scores. The line-out option was chosen which the visitors duly lost and the Quins were left unscathed.

This was a game in which the two hookers Ronan and Huish, were particularly prominent. While there were several errors with the line-out due to the tricky wind, the all-round contest between the two in attack and defence was enthralling.

Getting into the Bedlinog twenty-five, a move was halted when an attacking player was tackled without the ball. Howe kicked the goal to extend the lead to six points once more.

Frustratingly for the home faithful, their charges could not play for more than one set of plays at a time. Lost line-outs, knock-ons and turnovers meant pressure was not maintained as the players would have liked. Bedlinog were experiencing the same kind of issues, but it was the Quins' galvanised defiance more than mistakes that halted their progress.

On one occasion the Foxes were able to maintain momentum and from a driving line-out skipper Huish was over. The wide angled conversion would have put Bedlinog into the lead with time reaching eighty minutes. The attempt to goal the try went wide and short.

Steve Williams was back on form. Lewis Tutt was his roving best particularly with ball in hand. Aled Evans carrying was his best in a Quins shirt so far. Josh Mines scythed attackers with precise leg clamping tackles..Behind the scrum Jakob Williams was a livewire.

There was plenty of injury time to see out and with five of the ten minutes left to play Howe kicked his fourteenth point, taking Bedlinog out of penalty or dropped goal to win range.

This didn’t prevent Bedlinog from running their way to victory. With three minutes remaining a series of penalties pinned the Quins deep in their half.

With four vital points in the sights of both teams, someone had to do something. For the Quins the final quarter was bossed by Kieran Watkins. Tackling, harassing and holding up possession, he also stripped the visiting centre of possession in the face of a potent attack. Lewis Francis also showed up in defence, particularly when blasting through one particular ruck to regain possession.

It was last chance saloon for the Foxes when another penalty allowed them to kick deep into the Quins twenty-five. The forward drive became messy. When showing a brief glimpse of the ball, Kieran Griffiths pounced. Barnacle like he held up the carrier and in an effort to prevent any further advance the backs piled in. Aled Edwards led the cavalry charge along with Watkins and McGuckin to stop any phase play feet from the home line. Edwards held the carrier in a vice like grip. As the maul hit the deck, the ball came back on the Quins side, the result of an enforced knock-on. For the second time a Quins man was tipped up to add to the mayhem. The final whistle sounded at this point.

This was as gutsy a performance as any by the coal black and blood reds. As good as anything they have served up in recent years. They were dealt a hand and played it to stoic perfection for a win high in endeavour, effort and good old-fashioned sweat. As former captain Terry Thomas stated: "If medals were handed out for sporting guts and togetherness; as we speak they'd be minting twenty in Llantrisant for this Quins performance."

Next week – Quins travel to take on league leaders Pontypool. Can’t believe I’ve just written that. A supporters bus is arranged – 50 spaces are available. £8 a space. If you are a Quins fan - you have to be there for what will be an unbeleivable experience as the Quins venture on to Pontypool Park for the very first time.

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