Under a blue sky and bright sunshine, Ystalyfera kicked off into a light breeze from the Swansea end at Ynysydarren park. An immediate exchange of kicks sees a knock on by the visitors giving ‘Fera the put in at the first scrum. Playing the ball out, a high tackle gives outside half Steffan Castle the chance to open the score in the 3rd minute with a well taken penalty: 3 – 0. From the restart another dangerous tackle by Kenfig Hill earns a yellow card. Taking the penalty quickly proves to be a mistake however by Ystalyfera, loose play letting the ‘mulers’ drive up for a 5m scrum in the garage corner. The home forwards win the ball and ‘Fera break away downfield. Working the ball across looking for gaps, a defensive attempt at an interception gives Ystalyfera a scrum in the middle of the visitors 22. Ystalyfera run again but the effort fails with Steffan Castle being taken out, this missed by the referee. After a stop for his recovery, Ystalyfera attack again, and a period of quick ball movement to and fro across the field is defended somewhat desperately by Kenfig Hill. A drive to the tunnel corner fails with a dropped ball close to the visitor try-line. This period of pressure does not get Ystalyfera any further score, the forwards now deciding to have a go. A series of line outs and scrums shows the strength of the ‘Fera pack, but Kenfig Hill defend well, handling errors giving the ball back to the home side. A rare sprint into the ‘Fera half of the field does offer some relief but Ystalyfera soon return to the offensive. In the 38th minute a 5m attacking scrum sees a big push, and an eager attempt to get the ball before it leaves the scrum forces the referee to award Ystalyfera a penalty Try. This was converted by centre Gareth James, he at last passing his brother Damian’s club record of most points for the club, reaching 1,828. Both sides play out the remainder of the first half with Ystalyfera looking for more and Kenfig Hill keeping them out. Half time score: 10 – 0.
Lock Paul Davies comes on for Ystalyfera at the start of the second half, Kenfig kicking deep and Steffan Castle clearing well. The visitors start with renewed purpose moving the ball, and Ystalyfera have to work hard to keep them out. Getting a line out in the tunnel corner, the ‘Fera forwards are beaten by the backs giving away a penalty for early movement, and the visitors convert successfully in the 48th minute – score 10 – 3. With a long restart the visitors get an immediate line out and sharp play allows a Kenfig winger to force his way through and score the first visitor try in the 50th minute. This was well converted equalising the score at 10 – 10. Ystalyfera begin to wake up until full back Liam Garland has to leave the field injured. Caught offside in the 60th minute Kenfig Hill kick themselves into the lead 10 – 13. The game is now being played in the Ystalyfera half until replacement wing Dafydd Thomas makes a break up the touchline. A hasty Kenfig clearance lets ‘Fera attack again and in the 64th minute the relentless Steffan Castle runs in a try which he converts himself – score: 17 – 13. Ystalyfera now seem to light up and attack again. 3 minutes later and a Castle penalty lifts the lead to 20 – 13. With 68 minutes gone, Ystalyfera surprisingly continue to keep the game open looking to increase the lead further. In the warm conditions and playing for the fourth time in a fortnight, this was a big ask and Kenfig Hill saw a chance. From the back of a scrum in the 71st minute they ran in their second try, pulling the score back to 20 – 18. An immediate attack from the restart gave them a penalty, and very loose play by Ystalyfera let them in for a third try in the 73rd minute, this being converted, leaving a final score of 20 – 28 to the visitors. We play Kenfig Hill again away on 3rd May.
A warm end of season game saw Ystalyfera fall away in the second half, Kenfig Hill taking the opportunity to steal the lead at the end. Nevertheless the result confirmed Builth Wells as the side joining Cwmllynfell in the relegation places. Gareth James can be congratulated for getting the highest points total for the club (1828), and the prodigious Steffan Castle, who has scored 68 points in the last six games, lifting himself to 109 points so far this season.
Penalty counts were 6 for Ystalyfera and 10 against;
5 for holding the ball after a tackle, 1 backs move to early in a lineout, 1 for illegal handling, 1 in from the side and 2 for offside.
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