Caerphilly powered their way into the National Bowl semi-finals with a magnificent six try demolition of last year's runners up Taff’s Well at the Constructaquote stadium.
A large crowd were witness to four first half tries by Chris Thomas, Connor Kawulock, Will Oliver and Mathew Hurley with the latter adding two conversions to give the home side a 24-0 lead at the interval.
Coming out of the blocks strong, the visitors failed to exit their own half save for the restarts within the first quarter of an hour with Caerphilly attacking from the off. Referee Aaron Parry had his work cut out as several scuffles broke out in the first 5 minutes as both sides measured each other before yellow cards for both flankers, Will Oliver for the home side and ex Caerphilly captain Rhys Watkins for the visitors proved the catalyst to settle things down a little.
Caerphilly made the first breakthrough on 13 minutes as Chris Thomas powered over out wide. The winger nearly crossed again on the 10 minute mark, the final pass just behind him as the home side exercised their game plan on the wide pitch.
The relieving kick from the lineout failed to find touch and Caerphilly headed back for the line. Scrum half Jac Jonathon took recycled ball across the back line, drawing the defenders, before releasing Oliver who cut a good angle to break through the defence and power over the line with 2 defenders in toe, outside half Matthew Hurley adding the conversion.
Next to follow was the try of the match. Gareth Dare collected the ball on the half way line. Running wide, the winger danced his way through 5 defenders, cutting inside before putting centre Connor Kawulock, the youth team player appearing in his first senior game, into space. The debutant still had work to do as he sidestepped the full back to go over under the posts for a converted try.
A series of penalties gave the visitors the opportunity for some territory and possession. As they worked their way to the line some space appeared out wide, but the pass failed to find the winger and the ball sailed into touch wide on the right. Minutes later disaster struck Taff’s Well as they worked hard to drive to the 5mtr line. Moving the ball down the narrow side, Hurley read the pass and intercepted to sprint the length of the field, just managing to cross the line, with momentum, then adding the conversion to give the home side a 24-0 lead at the interval.
The Taff’s Well coach made several changes at the interval in an attempt to change the course of the match, but a killer blow was struck in the opening 5 mins of the second half putting to bed any chance the visitors may have had to salvage the game. Caerphilly drove upfield from restart, the final pass again finding touch rather than hands. Climbing high in the lineout Oliver stole Taff’s Well ball. With the defence on the back foot, no.8 Josh Williams found a gap on the 22 and went over under the sticks for another converted try.
Despite several failed attempts, next to cross was centre Matthew Nuthall as he sold his opposite number a dummy to score another converted try under the posts, the home side bossing the game as they stretched the Taff’s Well defence.
To their credit the visitors kept faith and finally found a rich vein of form narrowly missing out on tries as first a pass went awry and into touch down the right, quickly followed by a good break down the left, a foot in touch the only thing that stopped Gavin close from scoring. Their patience di eventually pay off as replacement scrum half Gwilym Edwards broke upfield putting Mike Lyndon into space out wide the centre breaking through eventually putting flanker Ieuan Parsons over for a well worked try which was well converted by full back Tom Benjamin.
A simple penalty for Hurley increased the lead, the home side surprising the crowd with the decision to kick for goal, but points in the bag and a rest bite for the team. Taff’s Well however were not yet finished as the visitors raced down the left touchline beating a couple of tackles to score out wide outside half Rhys Lott crossing for the converted try, adding an air of respectability to the scoreline, Final score 41-14.
With last year’s winners Bury Port also losing in the Quarters two new teams will now appear at the final as Caerphilly enter the draw along with Amman Utd, Cardigan and Cilfynydd for their Semi-Final game to be played at a neutral venue on the 25th March. This week also sees the draw take place for the Quarter Finals of the Glamorgan County Silver Ball competition. With the 6 nations in full swing the 1st and 2nd XV have no game this week, the Youth team however will get a run out at the Constructaquote Stadium on Friday with a friendly against Abertilery. 7:30pm kick off.
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