Maesteg Harlequins RFC | 1st Team 17 - 16 Trebanos RFC | 1st Team
Tadhg Mcguckin
Conversion 2
Penalty 1
Aled Edwards
Try 1
Benjamin Andrew Davies
Try 1
Thomas Dew
1 Conversion
2 Penalty
Lewis Humphreys
1 Try
1 Drop Goal

Match Report
21 April 2019 / Team News


Saturday April 20th 2019

Maesteg Quins 17 – 16 Trebanos

WRU Championship

A win in this match would guarantee Championship status for the victors. Defeat would mean a further agonising wait to secure a place in Welsh club rugby’s second tier.

Nobody said it would be easy. It certainly wasn’t and the result was in doubt until the final kick of the match.

Believing the Quins only possessed a scrum, Trebanos felt if they nullified this facet of play, they could prevail. For much of the game they achieved their goal, but Banws forgot the Quins have another quality – resilience.

The Ancient Borough tried to run from their own twenty-five. Tadgh McGuckin was an unlikely ‘jackler’ and won a penalty. From thirty yards the penalty missed.

Trebanos didn’t factor in the pace Quins possessed. The first of several robust runs surprised the visitors. McGuckin instigated the movement. Geraint Watkins who made a welcome return to Quins colours put Jay Ronan away. The hooker showed great skill in slipping a pass to Rhys Costain who again proved a wonderful attacking asset as he sped up the wing. Costain’s pass beat the defence, but unfortunately surprised the support runner who knocked on with an open try-line.

Eight points had now been missed within the opening four minutes.

Banws too had the fumbles, knocking on with the Quins line at their mercy.

Quins laboured amid mistakes. Knock-ons being the main culprit. Alternatively, Trebanos maintained possession for longer to create space. Only the hosts utter defiance kept them at bay, hurling tackle after tackle at their opponents until inducing an error.

Discipline became a problem. Recently, scores or possession have been gifted to opponents. On this occasion a mouth offered the referee unwanted advice. Tom Dew kicked the goal to open the scoring.

Soon after, a midfield encroachment in the twenty-five allowed Dew to double the lead.

Rhys Costain made another break. Within two passes the move broke down. Then the hosts lamely kicked away turnover possession. Another movement was created only for a poor pass to kill it off. Momentum was thrown away with alarming regularity.

It remained six-nil at the break. Quins needed to get back into the game by producing the first score of the second half.

Within minutes Alex Griffiths hoisted a towering up-and-under. Ben Davies took full advantage of visiting inability to regather and there was no stopping the scrum half as he raced thirty yards to the line. McGuckin’s conversion gave the Quins the lead.

This could have been the moment the Quins took greater control. An attacking line-out in the visiting twenty-five was won, only for the drive to be totally disrupted once more. Finding themselves in the opposite area of the park, Banws showed how a line-out drive should be done. Gaining a penalty, the simple chance drifted wide.

Nathan Smith produced a towering line-out performance. Another attacking Quins line-out was again won but knocked-on in the first transfer to the backs. Once more play went back into the Quins twenty-five.

Entering a fraught final quarter, the Quins scrum began to take control. A couple of penalties were won and suddenly, passive scrums were called.

Having moved to full-back, Geraint Watkin had to deal with a very tricky kick. Three players bore down on him and he was alone to deal with the situation. Skipping to his right, a hand-off and short burst of speed saw him elude the trio and make a wonderful clearance kick.

Lee Ronan looked to have eased the pressure when ripping possession from an opposing carrier. The referee thought otherwise and awarded a penalty that was kicked to touch.

Play went into midfield and from the ruck returned blind. Out-half Lewis Humphries spotted a gap and despite a number of defenders in the vicinity, he wriggled over the try-line. Dew converted.

With under ten minutes remaining the hosts took the lead again. Patient play left the Trebanos defence bare and Aled Edwards crashed over. McGuckin converted.

Time ticked down, yet the Quins could not kill off the game with a decisive period of continuity. Three times the Maesteg men gained possession only to immediately hand it back.

From a scrum deep in the Quins twenty-five Trebanos went open, set up a ruck and sent the ball back to Humphries who dropped a goal. Under a minute remained.

Like thrush the Quins kept coming back. Regaining possession they were awarded two penalties. For the second, the eighty minutes were up and the ball was handed McGuckin. Ten yards in from the right-hand touchline, facing Pwll-yr-Iwrch, it was by no means an easy kick.

To overcome the combined effects of twenty-five degrees heat, the acute angle of the penalty, plus the relegation repercussions of an unsuccessful attempt, required a head chiselled from ice and courage.

Tangible silence fell on South Parade, as both sets of supporters begged for opposing outcomes.

A raucous home roar signalled the successful kick with McGuckin mobbed by his mates.

Around the beginning of the year, many locals felt the Quins were faltering. The only way to answer critics is on the field. This magnificent achevement against many odds really is something to marvel at. Next season the iconic Gnoll and a return to Pandy Park, but this time to play Cross Keys instead of the United is on the agenda. Remarkable!

Finishing the season in as high a position as possible, by winning the two remaining fixtures is the next objective. Beginning with perennial runners-up Narberth next week. That would be a real feather in the club’s cap.

But for the moment, raise a glass to McGuckin for producing something special.


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