Caerphilly RFC travelled the short distance to Taff’s Well last weekend in their quest to reach the Principality stadium in the National Bowl Semi-final in their biggest game of the season so far. Their opponents were Rhondda Cynon Taff side Cilfynydd, currently sitting 3rd in Division 3 East Central A having only lost 3 times this season.
The match started well for the Cheesemen as they went ahead on 11 minutes courtesy of a penalty from outside half Matthew Hurley. With much of the play happening in centre field neither side were giving an inch. With an attack on 15 minutes Caerphilly thought they had gone over for a try from a scrum close to the line, only to be brought back by the referee for a reset.
Following a series of penalties Cilfynydd found themselves attacking the Caerphilly line, but a lost lineout allowed the cheesemen to clear upfield.
A break from deep by Matthew Nuthall following turnover ball at an attacking lineout saw Caerphilly move up to the half way line, the centre releasing his partner Connor Kawulock. With a 3 on 1 the centre took play deep into the 22 before releasing winger Chris Thomas, who was held just short. With the next play no.8 Josh Hayward broke away from the scrum to power over out wide, Hurley adding the spoils for a 10-0 lead.
The score remained the same at the interval as Cilfynydd enjoyed a sustained period of pressure, Caerphilly’s defence holding firm, despite Cil opting for a lineout on 2 occasions instead of an attempt at 3 points.
An early penalty in the second half from Hurley settled Caerphilly nerves and gave them the confidence of a 2 score lead, the side breaking from deep on several occasions thanks to the twists and turns of full back Ben Candy. Handling was proving poor in the good conditions and several attacks broke down as the last pass went astray on several occasions.
The turning point came 20 minutes into the second half. With Cilfynydd chasing the game Hurley intercepted a pass in the Caerphilly 22 to run the length of the field unopposed to score a converted try under the posts and a 20-0 lead.
Despite numerous attacks the Cheesemen failure to close out their attacks could have been their undoing. During an inconspicuous attack from Cil, they found themselves within inches of the line and following a rolling maul Lewis Meecham went over for a try with a quarter of an hour remaining, Delme Kin adding the conversion.
To make matters worse, Caerphilly found themselves down to 14 men inside the final 10 minutes following a high tackle from winger Gareth Dare. During this time Cilfynydd crossed again for a try out wide through Huw Williams to set up a tense finish.
Caerphilly kept the attacks at bay and eventually finished up crossing the line in the final few minutes only for the referee to be unsighted. They finished the game with a well-deserved win however, in their opponents 22 and a date with Amman United at the Principality Stadium on April 16th bidding to win the National Bowl for the first time in the club’s history.
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