19 January 2020 / Team News


Helluva game! Helluva quarter final! Helluva showpiece for village grass roots rugby as Rhigos knocked Pontardawe out of the Specsavers Shield by 20 points to 18 to progress into the semi finals and set up a thrilling local derby with neighbours Cwmgwrach.

It was a really exciting match with the lead changing hands four times before the home team got the result that they fully deserved. 

Rained off last Saturday weather watchers in both clubs were mumbling and grumbling all week to find Rhigos kicking off on an unbelievably sunny afternoon on a firm pitch that belied all the concerns.

Rhigos heavily out weighed by the bigger Pontardawe forwards started the game with energy and passion. A series of pick and goes, which were to be a feature of the game saw Pontardawe concede an early penalty under their posts for Dicky Davies to convert: 3 - 0 Rhigos.

Pontardawe immediately struck back gaining a foothold in the Rhigos 22 metre zone. Their pressure lead to a scrum 5 metres out which went down and referee Anthony Kavanagh went straight to the posts to award a penalty try. It seemed harsh particularly with hindsight because the Rhigos front row though smaller and lighter than their opponents scrummaged very effectively throughout the game. But the referee is the sole judge of fact and Pontardawe were in front 3 - 7.

Rhigos kicked off and time and again tested the Pontardawe defence with a series of pick and goes in the red zone. After 15 minutes of constant pressure they got their reward when the entire pack seemed to throw Joss Pope over the line to score a try too far out for Dickie to convert. Rhigos lead   8 - 7.

Practically from the kick off Rhigos concede a penalty directly in front of the posts but almost on the half way line for the Cherries 10 to convert with a fine kick Pontardawe lead 10 - 8 and despite a furious assault on Pontardawe's goal line that is how the score remained at half time.

The Rhigos pack had performed with great energy and a high work rate in the first half we wondered if they would burn out and shortly after half time they faltered and Pontardawe won another penalty for the 10 to convert. Pontardawe 13 - Rhigos 8.

The home supporters rallied the troops and Cameron, James and Jonny spurred on by some neat play from Lewis and Dickie drove on time and again and steadily worked their way up into the red zone and yet again Joss Pope just made the try line with a lunge that saw Paul Moon jump out of his scooter with delight. Dickie's tired looking conversion scraped over. Pontardawe were unhappy with the score by Mr Kavanagh was perfectly placed and awarded the score Rhigos noses in front 15- 13.

The game was now into the fourth quarter of time and had been played with great intensity and passion by both sides. Either side looked capable of winning. Tecki and Spencer had replaced James and Harry. First Pontardawe attacked down the right and the Rhigos defence swarmed all over them. Before Rhigos got going again with some strong running from Apo. A kick to the corner. A lineout. A drive. A neat pass from Lewis and Duane DiDi scored a well worked try in the corner which this time Dickie failed to convert. Rhigos 20 Pontardawe 13.

The fans were jumping up and down but went silent quickly as Pontardawe attacked again and were awarded a penalty. Ponty miss and there's a huge sigh of relief around the ground.

In fact Ponty keep on attacking moving from right to left and back and the 10 chips neatly for the corner and the right wing scores the try. A groan from the crowd. A missed conversion. A sigh of relief from the crowd. There are five minutes left to play and Rhigos deservedly held out to win their way into the semi finals.

Emori and Dan and Greg deserve a huge thank you from all at the club for their work this season with a young squad of inexperienced but enthusiastic grafters. The players were all quite excellent from 1 to 23. I for one can't wait to see Martin's film of the game

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