The Llantwit Major First XV after surrendering their unbeaten run in the league in their last outing were back on form as they beat Treherbert at home 26-15, crossing for four tries to pick up a valuable bonus point.
And they needed to be back on form as Treherbert after a spluttering start to their season had been on a good run of form coming into this fixture and with the Red Devil’s you always get hard rugby. The visitors not disappointing as they gave the home side a real test especially with their impressive driving maul.
It was Treherbert who started the brightest under the floodlights on this Friday night fixture, pinning Llantwit back in the early exchanges and on winning a line out immediately put their driving maul in to top gear as they drive the home side over their own line to take the lead, the conversion narrowly going wide.
It was already clear to see that the visitors strength was with their tight forwards and the home sides was out-wide where they were finding some gaps and looking exciting when they spread the ball. But the Llantwit pack were having none of that fancy stuff as they matched Treherbert’s physicality with a driving maul set try of their own. A solid line-out was taken by flanker Stuart Edbrooke, then all eight of the pack jumped in the van and rumbled upfield with Dan Bawden and Huw Williams keeping the momentum going before number eight Rob Carter crashed over. Loz Howley slotting over the conversion.
Not to be outdone the fancy backs then showed their worth for Llantwit’s second try, a lovely weighted long miss pass from outside half Howley on the visitors ten metre line set the move going to centre Josh Austin who whisked it onto fullback Ethan White who released wing Steff Godwin up the touchline. Austin running a great supporting line was on hand to keep the move going who then popped it back inside to opposite wing Rory Budina who had quietly wrapped around. Budina crossing and had the legs to go round to the posts to touch down for a quite scintillating try. A classic example of great handling and taking the ball at speed. Howley duly converted.
Treherbert soon bounced back with a strong period of play they began pegging Llantwit back and putting their driving maul back into gear. The home side struggling to repel it and then came under the wrath of the match official as flanker Jamie Lewis was shown a yellow card for illegally pulling down the maul. A full complement of players were struggling with the juggernaut visiting pack so when reduced to seven it was no time before Treherbert crossed again for a well worked try from a penalty line-out.
Llantwit’s tactic now was to hang on with fourteen until half time and not to concede anymore points as Treherbert naturally put them under the cosh. And they were close to breaking through only to be thwarted by a great run from of all players tight head prop Dave ‘The Rock’ Taylor who pounced on a loose ball in his 22 and then showed a great turn of speed to break the defensive line and went upfield like a rhinoceros on the charge. With support close by the ball recycled when the big man was finally downed and then spread quickly and up the field. A penalty awarded for a ruck infringement the reward which Howley then put in a huge touchline kick to giving Llantwit a line out five metres out. And after a few attempts to cross during which Treherbert were also reduced to fourteen as their scrum half was yellow carded for slowing the ball down in the red zone. It was the old war horse lock Shaun Shea who eventually snook over for a try against the run of play and arguably the turning point in the game. The half time score 19-10.
The third quarter developed into a bit of a stale mate as Llantwit now playing towards the School End defended their lead with a strong defensive display and Treherbert attacked with everything they had in an attempt to get back into the game but just fell short despite several good periods of possession. It was though the Llantwit scrum and the boot of Loz Howley which just started to edge the game. The scrum becoming dominant and Howley stretching the visitors with a barrage of good field kicks. As they went into the last quarter the home side emptied their bench and were just too strong for the visitors with captain Geraint David crossing from short range to finish off a dominant period where Llantwit were camped in the visitors 22. Howley converting.
It was then left to Treherbert to have the final say and show Llantwit what they will face in the return fixture as they once again tumbled over with their impressive driving maul. And they won’t have to wait long as these two teams (this being a postponed game from the autumn) will face each other again in few weeks this time at Treherbert. Their large and loyal travelling supporters leaving on Friday night throwing the gauntlet down by promising that Llantwit will be turned over at their home ground.
Man of the Match was the old stalwart Shaun Shea who put in a huge shift in the second row. Further mention going to scrum half Ryan Evans who bossed the tight areas and Loz Howley whose kicking game caused plenty of damage throughout. The team would also like to thank everyone involved in all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes in setting up a night time fixture.
This week the Blood and Blacks are at home again as they welcome Hirwaun to the Recreation Ground. Kick off is at 2:30pm.
Nathan is the Operations Director and one half of Vale Breakfast on Bro Radio. You'll hear him reading local news, hosting at local events and presenting our facebook live videos.