Bonymaen RFC | 1st Team 3 - 10 Maesteg Harlequins RFC | 1st Team
Owen Howe
1 Conversion
1 Penalty
Benjamin Andrew Davies
1 Try

Match Report
22 January 2018 / Team News


On 20th January 1265 the first English parliament convened. In 1892 the first game of basketball was played in Springfield, Massachusetts. 2009 saw Barak Obama become the first black President of the USA and in 2018…

In an excellent match programme article, on several occasions the Bonymaen vice-chair pointed to the Quins possessing a massive pack and how Bonymaen have had to fight for every score against the Quins. He overlooked how the Quins too have to fight tooth and nail for their points against his club’s traditional fierce competitiveness. Such is the inherent determination of the Swansea suburbanites, the Quins have never won at Parc Mawr. Just one of the Quins team had experience of victory there when playing for another club.

Such games are won and lost on fine margins. The margin was so fine in this match it was almost diaphanous.

Quins started scintillatingly. A line-out steal and vicious up-and-under hemmed Bonymaen in their own twenty-five. The clearance into the teeth of a blast didn’t gain much distance.

A fluent midfield move sent Jack Picton racing up the wing. With vision and skill, a perfectly weighted chip ahead stripped the Bonymaen defence bare, leaving Quins scrum-half Ben Davies with a foot race to touch the ball down before it crossed the dead-ball line. He did and Owen Howe kicked the inebriated wide-angled conversion that wobbled and curled its way between the uprights at the last moment.

Realising kicking would prove fruitless, firstly because of the wind and secondly, the slightest imprecision would see Owen Howe return the ball miles.,Bonymaen took advantage of Quins inaccuracies. Keeping the ball for inordinately long periods, going through phase after phase, still the Quins kept their hosts at bay.

Breaking through the only two weak tackles by the Quins all game, Richard Cunniffe passed inside. A desperate tackle was made a second too soon and impressive Lawrence Thomas kicked the goal.

Quins got back into the home twenty-five, gained a penalty and although kickable, it was booted to touch. The line-out ploy proved ineffective but further indiscretions allowed Howe to put the Quins into double figures with a penalty.

Home play against the wind was often exemplary, yet the visitors would steal possession or win a penalty, allowing Rhodri Davies and Howe to punt excellent touch-finders.

Quins’ flying back-row ensured if a gap was probed, they would extinguish the attack, as Healy, Williams and Tutt operated as an effective ‘flying column.’.

Bonymaen’s determination appeared furiously frenzied, while the Quins’ seemed more composed even when under great stress. Left-wing Joe Millen was worked clear and seemed destined to score, only for a second wave of Quins defenders to bundle him into touch inches short of the line. The line-out was lost and Bonymaen were heaping pressure on their visitors only for the frenzied nature of their approach to rob them of a score, when an act of foul play was penalised.

By no stretch of the imagination it was a twenty points wind. The Quins managed ten and whether they would weather a predicable home onslaught would be seen.

Visiting support could have been forgiven for thinking the worse. In the first quarter the Quins didn’t get into the home half. However, just like the retreating Swansea bay tide, Bonymaen got further and further away from the Quins try-line. Initially spending time on the Quins five yards line early in the second half; then the twenty-five they gradually receded further and further away from the Quins try-line.

On the half hour Thomas missed a goal shot and Bonymaen looked less and less likely to score.

In the final fifteen minutes Bonymaen suddenly conceded turnovers, penalties at the scrum and breakdown. These were the first tell tale signs the Quins were gaining the upper hand. Ben Davies was now changing the focus of attack from open to blind, commanding the base of the ruck as better ball became available.

With the clock now proving the Quins’ friend, their close quarter pop-ups and blindside play was executed superbly. Bonymaen had every ounce of energy sapped from them, especially when the replacement Quins ball carriers brought a fresh impetus. Mike Owen, Rhodri Bwye, Gavin Burridge and debutant Rhydian Jenkins made regular trundles to pin the hosts in their half.

Forced to run from their own line, after ten phases Bonymaen still found themselves under the shadow of their posts. Out of puff, out of options and out of time, a bonus point proved better part of valour as each inch won proved as hard as gaining a yard. Belting the ball into touch, the final whistle sounded for a thrilling, compelling, gloriously gutsy, Quins win.

A pointless second half was a magnificent testament to the impenetrable Quins defence and immaculate discipline in immensely difficult circumstances. A single defensive error would have seen this win turn into a loss. That error did not occur, with every Quins shoulder firmly stuck to the wheel. It was a twenty points wind and Bonymaen were shut out.

Another historical first to add to the January 30th list, in 2018 Maesteg Quins won at Parc Mawr for the very first time. It may not matter to the rest of the world, but it does to Maesteg Quins who respect Bonymaen so much it is a huge, much prized scalp.

A ‘big’ Quins team achieved a first for the club, but in sport size is measured in many latent attributes. This first Parc Mawr win was achieved not just by a big pack, but by twenty big hearted, big, big men.


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