Three days after the final at the Principality and Ystalyfera were back in Division One West Central, home versus Seven Sisters. Short of players after the Penallta game, Robat White being the biggest casualty with a broken thumb, Ystalyfera fielded a “shuffled” side. Conditions dry with a slight breeze, ‘Fera kicked off towards the Swansea end, and set themselves up in the ‘tunnel’ corner. Following a couple of scrums, a penalty attempt was missed by outside half Steffan Castle. Ystalyfera kept the game in the Seven Sisters half and an attack was cleared by the Seven defence up into the home 22. Moving the ball quickly across the ‘Fera defensive line, they get a penalty in the 11th minute, and opt for a 5m lineout. The ‘catch and drive’ fails to deliver and Ystalyfera defend well, getting events back down into the ‘tunnel’ corner. This time increased pressure by the home pack pays off with a push over Try scored by captain Steffan Jones in the 22nd minute. Conversion was missed – score: 5 – 0. Ystalyfera now picked up speed and began to attack across the field. The Seven Sisters line held well and breaking out they earn some respite into the ‘Fera half. The game flowed up and down the field, and in the 36th minute Steffan Castle kicks a penalty awarded for offside – score: 8 – 0. From the restart Seven Sisters double up their effort, and after some sharp passing catch the home defence out of position, full back Dan Norton crossing over with a good try in the 38th minute. This was converted by outside half Jack O’Reilly – score: 8 – 7. Ystalyfera get back on the attack but give away a penalty for holding the ball after a tackle. Seven Sisters run the ball and catch the home defence offside. Kicked over by O’Reilly this ended the first half with a lead for the visitors: 8 – 10.
Ystalyfera flanker Jesse Patton does an excellent catch from the re-start and the ‘Fera get back on the attack in the ‘Garage’ corner. A strong catch and drive keeps the pressure on and from a loose ball at the back of a scrum, centre Gareth James darts thru to get the second Ystalyfera Try. This lifts his all time points total for the club to 1,826 – only one short of his brother Damian’s record. Steffan Castle converts and ‘Fera regain the lead 15 – 10. The game continues with both sides keeping play open, looking for further opportunity. In the 56th minute the redoubtable Steffan Castle converts another offside penalty – score: 18 – 10. Ystalyfera were now at full throttle and Seven Sisters were being stretched. A yellow card for a Seven prop raises the pressure and a third penalty by Steffan in the 69th minute lifts the score to 21 – 10. Seven Sisters were not giving up and Ystalyfera were still having to combat hard for the ball. With play creeping back to the ‘garage’ corner Ystalyfera run the ball along the back line, a grubber kick sees Steffan Castle chase thru and get the third Try in the 78th minute. Converting himself the score raises to 28 – 10. The 18 points in this game brings his season total to 96 points and his overall record for the club to 113 points. Seven Sisters attempt to redress at the end but to no avail.
A good match for the home spectators after last weekend, getting our second double over Seven Sisters and assuring Division One rugby at Ynysydarren next season. Penalty counts were 15 for Ystalyfera and 5 against; 2 for holding the ball after a tackle, 1 in the scrum and 2 for offside.
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