09 September 2018 / Club News

Match Report: Tonna Vs Pontardawe RFC

Just like the last game we played at Tonna (30/12/17) the day was grey and miserable although this time the rain did hold off for the entire match. Prior to kick off their was a minutes silence out of respect for a former Tonna and Neath player Byron Bater; who was a good friend of mine who sadly passed away last week aged 64. I was able to video it (the teams lined up on either side of the half way line) and send it onto his wife and four grown up daughters, who now life in Tunbridge Wells.  It meant a lot to them. As I understand it, future most improved players in the Tonna Club will be awarded the Byron Bater Cup, such is the respect for the man.


Referee Marcus Richards from Porth got the game underway on time with the home team kicking off with the club house behind them.  Within seconds of the start Tonna were awarded an easily kickable penalty, which thankfully they missed. Not long afterwards though from a line out, some 15 yards out from our line, the ball was tapped down to the tighthead prop coming around on the peel who basically ran in for an easy try and facilitated an easy conversion. So 3 minutes into the game we were 7 points down.


Unfortunately our restart kick didn’t travel 10 and we back under the cosh form the resulting centre spot scrum. That said we were soon to be awarded a penalty in the middle of the field some 35 metres out which Dan Brindley comfortably slotted over and thereby make up for the earlier poor restart. 7-3.


Tonna’s restart put us under pressure and after a bit of broken play in our 22 a long clearance kick to relieve the pressure on us, saw Tonna’s No 13 gather the ball on the half way line and go right leaving one or two of our defending forwards for dead as his blistering pace and elusive footwork took him over the try line running in from the corner to place under the posts which was easily converted by the No 9. 14-3


So the first quarter was essentially all Tonna and this carried on into the early minutes of the second quarter when again their talisman no13 did a lovely show and go to run in a second try, again under the posts facilitating yet another easy conversion for No9. 21-3. 22 minutes played.


Then the tide changed, Ponty took control of the game choosing to keep the ball close in the forwards and drive, pick and go, time and time again with ground being systematically made. After a sustained period of such play the try line came close and the substantial team effort resulted in a well won try for Josh Willis, the right hand goal post got in the way of the conversion attempt. 21-8


Gathering the restart Ponty carried on where they had left off and substantial power play gained ground and as the try line approached Norm took matters into his own hands and stormed for the line taking to two defenders with him for another good try, to which the right hand goal post played its part in preventing another conversion 21-13. And half time




The second half started in the same way as Ponty had finished the first, lots of physicality, power play, pick and goes that resulted in Tristan going over for a try which again went unconverted but took the score to within 3 points of Tonna.  So from 21 points to 3 down we were well and truly back in it at 21 -18.  


The game then got itself bogged down for 10 minutes, 10 meters out from our right hand side try line . Scrummage after scrummage followed some of which we pushed them back and lots of times they pushed us back. This period ended with the ball coming out and being run along the line and after moments of broken play the Tonna No 8 make a break and run in a good try which wasn’t converted. 26 - 18.


From the kick off Ponty applied loads of pressure and were keeping the Tonna defence trapped in their 22. A long kick down the touchline into our half by Tonna, sought to relieve the pressure but the ball was prevented from going to touch by Sam who then brought the play in field and passed to Calum who faced with several Tonna players coming up in a line at him,  I thought had no option but to kick it somewhere. Lucky it was him who had the ball and not me for he decided to trust his  speed and dancing feet and take them on. So from his own half with everybody in front of him (other than Sam) he ran the ball, side stepping the initial defenders, out pacing others around their outside he made it to the right hand corner touchline to score a try, I guess he will never forget. Again the conversion was missed so the score moved onto 26-23 as we entered the final quarter.


This quarter saw the teams more evenly balanced and Ponty not do so well in the scrummage. With twelve minutes to go and play in our half some 25 meters from our posts I heard the ref blow his whistle but then go on to let a Tonna forward come out of a maul with the ball and run in a try. Which wasn’t converted. I do not what happened there, but the score nevertheless moved onto 31-23.


So we needed 8 points to draw nine to win when we were awarded a reasonable penalty kick attempt, the debate being take the kick or kick for the corner. Given that a penalty was going to be needed in any event they choose the penalty which Dan kicked beautifully through the posts. 31.26 Game On. That said its hard for us supporters to ask more from the forwards, who you know have given their all to the cause, but ask we did.  


From the restart play was under our posts with only minutes to go a mix up at the back of scrum saw the Tonna back row capture and drive our scrum half to within a meter of our line and out popped the ball on to the ground for it to be gathered and fall over for the decisive and gut wrenching try which was converted taking the game to 38-26 which proved to be the final score.


Overall well played with good discipline throughout. Something not quite right with our scrummaging in this game And something not right with our kicking game i.e. in both leagues games so far we have kicked the ball away fruitlessly, not too many times but enough to mention it.





This Weeks Sponsors Man Of The Match Tristian Davies.

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