Ystalyfera RFC | 1st Team 24 - 22 Maesteg Harlequins RFC | 1st Team
Gareth James
Conversion 3
Penalty 1
Josh Jarrett
Try 1
Steffan Jones
Try 1
Martyn Davies
Try 1
Jay Ronan
3 Try
Geraint John Evans
1 Try
Rhodri Davies
1 Conversion

Match Report
15 May 2018 / Team News

Ystalyfera 24 –22 Maesteg Harlequins

The last home League fixture of the season was against the Champions Maesteg Harlequins, who ran on the field undefeated away from home, seeking to finish on a high before the promotion play-offs scheduled next week. Conditions were warm and mostly sunny with a slight breeze.

Maesteg kicked off toward the Swansea end, Ystalyfera getting an immediate penalty to move proceedings into the Garage corner. From the line out the ‘Fera moved the ball out the line and centre Martyn Davies barged thru for the first Try in the 3rd minute. Outside half Gareth James converted: score 7 – 0. Play restarted into the home half with a set of scrums. Eventually Gareth James making an effective line-kick back into the Garage corner. Maesteg confidently cleared the danger, and play returned to midfield, both sides exchanging possession. Taking a quick line out Ystalyfera moved the ball out their line at speed. Only for Maesteg Quins to gain control. Smart passing and use of space saw the Quins attack from deep, until hooker Jay Ronan stormed over for the first visitor Try in the 15th minute: score 7 – 5. Seemingly galvanised by this score, Maesteg woke up and Ystalyfera had to defend resolutely to keep them out. After a penalty Maesteg set up a line out in the Tunnel corner, and an efficient catch and drive saw the second Try in the 20th minute, scored again by Jay Ronan; score 7 – 10. Ystalyfera wing Luc Caines collected the restart and ran the ball from the 22 to half way. Working up the line, Ystalyfera earned a 5m line out in the School corner. Applying pressure with further penalties and line outs, a 5m scrum was pushed hard by the ‘Fera pack and No8 Steffan Jones drove over his 12th Try of the season. This was converted cleanly by Gareth James: score 14 – 10 - 26 minutes. Ystalyfera were now playing with some confidence versus the League leaders, Bowdy Davies, Luc Caines and Josh Jarrett searching for gaps. Maesteg responded, and spreading wide moved down the field at pace, they attempted a kick behind the Ystalyfera defence. Bowdy Davies collected and ran straight up the middle of the field. Catching the Quins unawares, he popped the ball to Josh Jarrett who ran in the third Ystalyfera Try in the 34th minute. Gareth James again converted: score 21 – 10. Both sides played out the first half with repeated thrust and counter thrust, with no quarter given.  

When the contest recommenced, both team continued to attack and defend at high speed, defying the heat and punishing conditions. Supporters could only admire their efforts, Maesteg Quins clawed back another Try in the 46th minute – a hat-trick for Jay Ronan; score 21 – 15. As soon as play restarted however, Maesteg conceded a penalty which the reliable Gareth James kicked over. This lifted his personal record for the club to a remarkable 1,902 points in 304 appearances. Maesteg Quins were certainly not giving up, and they attempted to raise their game further to redeem the score. Their good passing was met with positive defending by Ystalyfera. Substitues were now brought on for both sides, and the contest continued. The Ystalyfera scrums were a drain on the Maesteg forwards, no quarter being given.  A big effort in the Changing Room corner by Ystalyfera had to be defended with some force by Maesteg. In the 73rd minute, a clearance kick was charged down by ‘Fera substitute Owain Morgan and the visitors re-collected the ball. Moving out quickly saw Maesteg centre Geraint Evans run in a fourth “bonus” Try, this time kicker Rhodri Davies converting. The game ended with Ystalyfera keeping possession in the Maesteg half of the field, leaving the final score 24 – 22.

Definitely a match between two of the better sides in Division One West Central, the performances did not disappoint. Maesteg Harlequins showed why they were Champions and the ‘Fera gave out as good as they got. The Quins now have their play off opponents to consider, whilst Ystalyfera need to finish with two wins for a second place spot, plus a West Wales Cup final versus Felinfoel, if anyone can find a date to play it!!!

The penalty counts were;

8 for Ystalyfera – 2 not releasing player, 2 scrums, 1 offside, 1 dangerous tackle and 2 holding the ball.

11 for Maesteg Quins – 2 not releasing ball, 2 scrums, 2 offside, 1 holding a player, 1 late tackle, 1 dangerous tackle, 1 high tackle and 1 abuse at ref.

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