Maesteg Harlequins RFC | 1st Team 13 - 6 Ystalyfera RFC | 1st Team
Steffan Castle
2 Penalty

Match Report
22 March 2018 / Team News

Maesteg Quins 13 - 6 Ystalyfera

Following a month without a game Ystalyfera entertained Maesteg Quins in the Quarter Final of the Glamorgan County Silver Ball at Aberavon. With the game between the leading sides in the National League Division One West Central, both as yet undefeated, a tough hard encounter was expected and so it turned out to be.  

Conditions were dry and cold, the pitch firm with no breeze of any sort. Ystalyfera kicked off towards the ‘Cardiff’ end, and an immediate return from the Quins was fielded by ‘Fera full back Steffan Castle. From the first scrum Maesteg Quins made a positive attack, and the Ystalyfera backs again had to clear the ball. The Maesteg forwards were most determined and in the 4th minute drove over for Alun Edwards to score a Try. This was converted by outside half Rhodri Davies: score – Quins 7 – 0 Fera. After the restart Ystalyfera conceded the first penalty, attempting to stop the Maesteg centres from penetrating in midfield. The contest began to settle and the ‘Fera backs gained some possession. Outside half Gareth James attempted a searching kick out to his winger Luc Caines, but the Quins came back and gained a penalty on the 22m line. This was converted by Rhodri Davies in the 12th minute, lifting the Maesteg Quins lead to 10 – 0. The ‘Fera began to work with their forwards to advance upfield, Maesteg Quins using the boot to repel all the effort. Eventually the game crept into the Maesteg half, and a penalty for a high tackle was awarded to Ystalyfera. In the 25th minute Steffan Castle converted the commendable long kick to get Ystalyfera’s first points: score 10 – 3. Maesteg Quins restarted back on the attack until the ‘Fera stole the ball and ran out of defence. A further penalty gained an attacking line-out only for poor ball handling to lose the advantage. Ystalyfera increased the pace of the game searching for openings in the Maesteg half, but repeated knock-ons and bad passing broke up the attacks. The Quins managed to break out and a resulting penalty for offside in the last minute of the first period allowed Maesteg to increase the lead to 13 – 3 before half time.

Maesteg Quins restarted and Ystalyfera were positive, the leaders giving away a set of penalties, Steffan Castle converting his second in the 44th minute: score 13 – 6. The contest to keep control of the ball was ruthless, both sides making every effort with powerful drives and hard tackles. The game drifted into a relentless battle up front, neither team giving any quarter. The effort began to tell on players from both sides, with injuries and effects of cramp increasing. Substitutes were employed but the pace and intensity did not relent. Ystalyfera continued to seek redemption of the score and Maesteg appeared happy just to ‘keep them out’. The eventual effect was the increase of errors by both teams. The ‘Fera were not giving up and whilst attempting to move the ball out wide, Maesteg Quins had to make a big effort to break up the flow of the game. After lengthy stops for injured players to recover, Ystalyfera made a strong final effort close to the Maesteg try-line in added on time. Despite scrums, penalties and line-outs all within the Quins 5m area, Maesteg held out and the referee blew the whistle. Final score 13 – 6 to Maesteg Quins.

The game lived up to its expectations. Two good sides difficult to beat and with every respect for each other, battled it out from start to end. Every player on the field gave his upmost and the supporters from both sides could only give praise for their efforts. With both teams having to meet each other both home and away in their League fixtures, the fight to be Champions of Division One West Central is yet to be concluded. Good luck and may the best team win.

The ferocity of the contest was reflected in the penalty counts;

11 for Ystalyfera – 2 in scrum, 2 holding ball when on the floor, 2 offside, 2 high tackles, 1 not releasing tackled player, 1 over the top and 1 in from side.

14 for Maesteg Quins – 2 offside, 3 holding ball on floor, 2 high tackles, 2 over the top, 2 playing ball off the floor, 1 in scrum and 2 abuse at referee.


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