13 February 2020 / Club News


For a number of years Ystalyfera have built the dream of reaching their goal and playing rugby in the WRU Championship. Looking with slightly green eyes at near neighbours Trebanos, after coming out on top of Division One West Central and winning the play-off, they earned the right to play at the level where they have yearned to play for some time.

Ystalyfera felt aggrieved at the views of some Division One clubs who questioned ‘Fera’s elevation when the Division One strata was ludicrously expanded to four leagues. Those clubs felt ‘Fera, having being hoisted up a league after finishing seventh in Division Two, would not be competitive or possess the necessary quality. They obviously never played them before!

Without question Ystalyfera will always sniff out an opponent’s weakness on the field. Every contest, however small or large is viewed as an opportunity to promote their village and woe betides anyone who gets in their way.

Angered at those negative views of others, ‘Fera have proven those clubs wrong by taking their place in the Championship while leaving their doubters behind.

During their ascent ‘Fera became renowned battlers especially on their own patch. They also found in their more recent successes the ability to win away from home, which was not always a strong point. This too was a Quins characteristic that was eradicated first in 1997-1998 until 2007, then reborn in 2010-2011. In eradicating their away day blues, both clubs became effective league challengers.

Having clashed on numerous occasions in recent seasons and taken a great interest in Ystalyfera, hammerings of the Swansea valley club are rare. They thrive on being ultra-competitive. Any and every contest won within a match is treasured and cheered on enthusiastically.

As one of the few ‘have nots’ clubs in the league among many ‘haves’ this enthusiasm has been paramount. Presently bottom of the league Ystalyfera will view every victory they accrue as priceless.

It is highly unlikely Saturday’s game will be a runaway result. The South Parade fixture was a typical grunt and grind match where it was impossible to shake ‘Fera off the coat tails. Saturday will be an arm wrestle from start to finish, with the hosts conjuring up a trick or two from their Pandora’s Box. The game will be undecided until the full eighty minutes are up. Hopefully, enough will be done for the Quins to come out on top.

After a much needed win over Beddau, quite a wide gap has opened up between the green and golds in the final relegation spot and the current safety mark of thirty points. It looks like three wins are needed by the Bulldogs and five for Ystalyfera to climb to safety. Consequently they need to start winning sooner rather than later, but Ystalyfera will be mindful of how wins can create a huge momentum shift and they will point to the exploits of Cross Keys and Ystrad Rhondda.

As always, the habitual threats from individuals such as Gareth James and Steffan Jones will need to be nullified to stop the creativity of Luc Caines and Steffan Castle who, despite his diminutive stature, has been known to bury a few.

With luck the Quins will have plenty to pick from and everyone will be up and running. The last time the Maesteg men went to the Swansea valley they were beaten even though the league was secured. This is something they would love to rectify, but it will be as stern and an in your face contest as you will find anywhere.

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