Maesteg RFC | 1st Team 8 - 11 Ystalyfera RFC | 1st Team
Ryan Lee James
1 Try
Steffan Castle
2 Penalty

Match Report
22 January 2018 / Team News

Maesteg 8 – 11 Ystalyfera

The third meeting between the clubs saw Ystalyfera travel to the ‘Parish’ to play a return league fixture. A slight wind blew from behind one end and the rain kept off. The pitch was however wet and muddy, Ystalyfera were advised by telephone on the way up that the game will start with uncontested scrums because of the conditions!!

Ystalyfera kicked off against the slight breeze and immediately were on the attack. A line out and scrum was followed by quick ball movement which worried the home side. A smart inside pass by Centre Emyr Myers gave flanker Ryan Lee James a chance to dash for the try-line. He took it well and ‘Fera were 0 – 5 up in the 3rd minute. Ystalyfera continued to press but Maesteg had now woken up and they cleared out of their 22. The home side now attempted their first attacking moves but dropping the slippery ball foiled their efforts. Ystalyfera came back looking for gaps in the home defence, only for Maesteg to clear the ball off the field when they gained possession. The game progressed flowing from one half to the other, both sides kicking for position - the passive scrums keeping an equal share of the ball. Maesteg then began to make use of the wind advantage to creep up the line, having taller forwards than their visitors. The Ystalyfera tackling was superb however, and when chances arose they ran out of defence, testing Maesteg across the field. This tactic was rewarded in the 34th minute when a penalty was converted by capable full back Steffan Castle, lifting the score to 0 – 8. The first half ended with a long penalty attempt by Maesteg which fell short.

The game restarted with a series of searching kicks by both sides, Ystalyfera backs getting the chance of an attacking run. Maesteg defended well however and earned a penalty. Both sides worked hard to gain possession of the ball and the contest rotated in midfield. In the 49th minute, the shifting play left a clear chance for Maesteg winger Alan Powell to race for the corner, with no ‘Fera player able to stop him. He crossed over with a well taken opportunist Try: score 5 – 8. This raised the Maesteg players and supporters, but Ystalyfera were not fazed. The ‘Fera worked the ball into a Maesteg corner where a catch and drive effort was stopped after a knock on. The hard fight for possession continued and in the 60th minute Masteg won a penalty in the ‘Fera half, full back Tadhg McGuckin equalising the score 8 – 8. Both sides were now having to find extra energy to continue the ponderous slog in the sticky mud. Ystalyfera pressed with their effective tackling and driving into the Maesteg half, and they were rewarded in the 75th minute with a penalty. A demanding pressure kick was dealt with by the cool Steffan Castle and Ystalyfera regained the lead. Maesteg looked to claw their way back in the remaining minutes, but it was not going to happen and Ystalyfera achieved their third victory this season.

The condition of the field and the passive scrums, stopped the chance of any attractive rugby to be played, but hey! this is Wales in January. Both teams did their best, Ystalyfera were able to draw from their positive impetus, to force a dogged victory and not be denied.

Penalty counts were;

10 for Ystalyfera – 5 holding ball on floor, 3 offside, 1 abuse and 1 not 10 yds.

9 for Maesteg – 3 not releasing player. 3 holding ball on floor, 2 offside, and 1 in from side.


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