“A STEP BACK IN TIME”
WRU Principality Cup
(By kind permission of the Carmarthen Journal)
Maesteg Quins 3pts; Carmarthen Quins 10.
9th December 2000
The scoreline indicates the intensity of the contest and highlights what cup rugby is all about. The home side delighted their supporters with their display and the Carmarthen contingent were left in no doubt why Maesteg were unbeaten up until this match. It was the Quins’ fitness and experience that ultimately took the tie but the result was in doubt. They won the toss and gave the home team the advantage of the strong wind. The home side had performed wonders in getting the pitch ready but it still resembled a paddy field and this ruled out any sustained ball moving.
The home side were quick to exploit the elements and the heavy pitch and outside half Ryan John was kept busy kicking his side deep into the Quins half, counteracting the slow and steady build-up by the visitors. The hard and laborious work by the Quins pack in making inroads into the Maesteg half was nullified by the shrewd kicking of John and he was responsible for the game’s opening score when he put over a 30yd penalty.
The Quins defence was tested, but again it was able to contain any threat. However, it was energy sapping work due to the terrible playing conditions. Fitness was going to play a big part and as the game wore on, the Quins had the distinct edge. As the first half drew to a close, the home support work disappointed with only three points to show for all their efforts and they had failed to take full advantage of the strong wind. With this advantage in the Quins’ favour the pack made ground from several rolling mauls.
The home side were forced to defend and to their credit they matched the Quins’ ferocious tackling. But this continued pressure was bound to tell and sure enough a penalty was awarded and the reliable Giles Thomas was on target to level matters. Maesteg tried valiantly to stem this tide but the patience of Giles Thomas eventually paid off. He had continued to vary his play for all of the match bringing his locks into play sometimes, going back to his pack at other times and he also put in some fine kicks. With play on the home 22, Emyr Jones found Thomas moving at pace. He gave a brilliant dummy and the cover defence was deceived and he was through to walk over under the posts. The conversion was a formality and the buffer was set.
Again to their credit, Maesteg were urged on by their supporters and it was only the experience and resilience of the Quins team that stopped them turning dangerous positions into points. Paul Morgan and Dale Jones were called on to put in more than the average amount of tackles. Emyr Jones was able to make some ground but the conditions prevented his usual robust talent from making the difference. Maesteg had men on hand to put in that all important tackle.
The home side used all their substitutes and made the Quins pull out all the stops. They had to run all the penalties that came their way in the last quarter in an attempt to equalise, but the Quins’ defence was as solid as it had been for most of the season. And with both sides unrecognisable due to the mud, the final whistle heralded a Quins victory and a place in the next round.
The draw gives them a home tie against Blackwood or Treorchy on December 30th.