Druids v Gwernyfed (Away) 26 Oct 2013

29-21 Win

Five Try Spree from Druids

A longish journey to Gwernyfed RFC in Powys, faced a 25 man squad from Monmouth Druids in a league fixture. The match was played at a school very reminiscent of Hogwarts School in the Harry Potter films. They hoped that no ‘ out of this world’ experience were awaiting them.

The Druids lost the toss and the home side elected to play into a strong wind and up a slight slope to the playing surface .Obviously, anticipating using these advantages to the best effects in the second half.

The game started with the Druids pressing the Gwernyfed line for long periods but unable to breach the home defence. In fact, somewhat against the run of play, Gwernyfed took the lead with a well worked try from a line out on the Druids 22 metre line. Gaining possession they set up a driving maul which eventually resulted in a forward crashing over the Druids line close to the corner flag. The outside half bisected the posts with a fine kick into the strong wind.

So the Druids were facing a 7-0 deficit and the danger of the elements in the second period loomed. They forced a scrum deep in the home 22 metre area, set up a maul and Second Row Milo Thomas dived over. The conversion kick failed but the manner of the score was significant to the outcome of the game.

They almost added a second try when Centre Mike Whistance broke from inside of his teams half, but was tackled by the speedy defender after a 40 metre run.
Just before the interval, Gwernyfed missed a penalty goal and the Druids added to their score line with a second try again from a scrum deep in the home half of the field. The visitors pack shifted the home eight back at a rate of knots and Number Eight Nick Phillips touched down. Again the conversion failed but as the half time whistle blew they had ground out a 10-7 lead.

At the restart, the Druids upped the pace and set Gwernyfed on the back foot. The Druids extended their lead again through Nick Phillips at the back of a dominant scrum. The home side were driven off the ball and Phillips crossed again for a fine try which was converted by Dave Brace.

Gwernyfed attacked and almost scored but for a fine last ditch tackle from Prop Mat Gibson. The referee who had a good match, awarded Yellow Cards to a player from each side for ‘handbags’.

The Druids maintained their superiority and scored two more tries to establish a real grip on the game. Firstly Centre Greg Wilding, dodged and side stepped, it seemed like the whole Gwernyfed side, to cross near the posts. Then Wing Rob Farr used his considerable pace on the left wing to evade tacklers and touch down. Outside Half Aarron Price converted the final try to make the score 29-7.
Well, maybe the Druids thought the game was won and perhaps complacency set in, but the home side scored two converted tries to bring the final score to 29-21.

A fine result from all 22 players in the squad. Their scrum was dominant which was a real advantage for the Druids and Nick Phillips who had an outstanding match at Number Eight, made full use of it. The whole pack deserve mention and young Gareth Morgan showed with his appetite for work. A word for both centres, Greg Wilding and Mike Whistance. In attack and defence they are very solid and do not allow many sides to get through their tough tackling.

On the bus back to Monmouth, the whole team celebrated their victory in fine voice.

Tries: M.Thomas, N.Phillips (2), G.Wilding, R.Farr
Conv: D.Brace, A.Price

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