Dinas Powys RFC open their season by snatching a last-gasp victory
8:40am Thursday 13th September 2012 in Sport
OGMORE VALE 24 DINAS POWYS 30
A GLORIOUS afternoon alongside the river Ogmore was the setting for the first league game of the season for the Villagers in their new home of Division 5 Central.
The failure of Rhigos RFC to turn up the previous week meant a delayed start to the season and there was much anticipation as they disembarked the coach over an hour prior to kick off. The home side had lost away from home at Glyncoch the previous week and looked a well drilled highly motivated unit warming up.
The game started infuriatingly for the Villagers as young outside half Gafyn Cooper put the adrenaline stimulated kick off out on the full, to the disgust of coaches Vesey and Boyland .
This was however to be one of only two errors made by the copper-haired fly half who gave an otherwise accomplished display in the late summer sunshine.
The home side controlled the early exchanges as the visitors displayed a rustiness in all facets of play. This led to the first penalty as an enthusiastic defensive line was caught offside at a ruck. The penalty kick was successful and Ogmore Vale led by three points after five minutes of play.
The Villagers were struggling to gain possession and therefore were under sustained pressure and a further penalty was awarded but not converted for a further offside decision.
The first ten minutes were torrid for the visitors and a long afternoon, indeed a long season, loomed ahead for the youthful Villagers side.
The oldest player in the team, acting captain for the day Nick Veggas, pressed into action at hooker for the day, was to have an inspirational afternoon.
It took the Villagers a quarter of an hour to enter the opposition half following a driving charge from Veggas supported by second row John 'Marine' Baber which resulted in a penalty being awarded for hands in the ensuing ruck and, unbelievably, with nearly a quarter of the game played following the conversion of the penalty by Cooper, the match was all square at three points apiece.
The home side, stunned by this ignomy, were immediately on the attack and a series of rolling mauls from lineouts were stoutly defended by the Villagers, but as the danger seemed to have passed a loose clearing kick that failed to find touch was gathered by the Ogmore right wing who ran 40 metres through ineffective tackling to score under the posts.
The ball was in fact dislodged from his grasp in the act of scoring, but was not spotted by the referee and with the conversion added the home side led 10-3. This was a fair reflection of play and the Villagers needed to shake off their malaise if they were to prove competitive in the contest.
A high hanging restart from Cooper was knocked on by Ogmore and from the ensuing scrum the ball was moved through the hands to centre Kieron Driscoll who made a stunning break of 20 metres before feeding right wing Mark Goode on an angle to cross for the Villagers' first try of the season.
This try owed much to the huge effort of the front row of Veggas, Alex Smith and Tom Paterson; the latter against a huge tight head prop made an immense effort in the scrum to allow the backs the high quality ball that makes rugby sometimes to appear such a simple game.
The conversion added by Cooper took the score after half an hour to 10-10.
This was now a real contest as the visitors settled and began to adjust to the pace of the game. The home side pressed hard from the restart but the back row of Lloyd Horwood , Tom Chapman and the imperious Morgan Williams held firm in defence, and turnover ball at the breakdown won by Williams in his own half was quickly passed to Veggas on the burst who transferred again to Williams who made a searing break, before passing to second row Jo Khan who drew the defender before passing to left wing James Smith who scampered the final 20 metres to evade the covering defence.
The conversion added by Cooper in a pair of borrowed boots as his own failed to make the journey took the score to 10-17.
This was the final meaningful action of the half and at the interval the visitors had worked their way back after a lacklustre start to lead at half time.
The home side kicked off the restart which allowed them field position as the restart was knocked on, and from the resulting scrum, flanker Morgan Williams was judged to have tackled the home outside half too robustly and was sent from the field for 10 minutes.
The penalty was kicked to touch and from the resulting lineout the inevitable rolling maul was created. The visitors prevented the score, but from the scrum the home number 8 drove from the base and with the support of his scrum half crashed over to score a try in the corner.
The conversion was an extremely difficult kick, but the fly half struck the ball beautifully to tie the score at 17-17.
The next eight minutes of the sin bin saw the Villagers play controlled rugby and deny the opposition any ball to take make use of their numerical advantage. Nick Veggas led from the front stealing a couple of opposition lineouts and driving the ball forwards forcefully.
This period saw the Villagers gain two penalties for offences at the breakdown which allowed Cooper to kick penalties from 35 metres and 50 metres, the latter drawing gasps from the crowd. The return of Williams from the sin bin saw the visitors lead 17-23.
The game was being played at a frantic pace and Ogmore Vale once again enjoyed a period of sustained pressure, however determined defence from John 'Evo' Evans and Driscoll in the centre prevented the home side from scoring a try.
The pressure was intense and then came a harsh yellow card for Villager second row Baber for kicking the ball at the base of a ruck. The home side opted for the scrum and coach Vesey had to gamble and put robust centre Driscoll into the scrum.
A formidable effort by the Dinas scrum held firm and the first attack was repulsed, a series of penalties led to a succession of scrums and eventually from one of these the home number 8 crashed over for his second try. The conversion was added and with 5 minutes remaining the home side led 24-23.
To win the match the Villagers would have to score again with a player short due to the loss of Baber to the sin bin.The final minutes were frantic as full back Sam Alderman and wing Mark Goode tried to outflank the home defence, an inside pass to centre Evans saw two players in support against two defenders, but the wrong option was taken and the chance went astray.
The home side were exhausted and frantically tried to clear their line by kicking long downfield. Alderman was to the fore running the ball back from deep and seeking the winning score.
A series of passes drew the home defence from side to side, eventually one of the passes went behind James Smith loitering on the right wing, the pacy winger set forth on a mazy run of 40 metres to score an amazing solo try under the posts.
Joy for the large Dinas support, and Cooper added the conversion on a day when his place kicking was impeccable, and the score advanced to 24-30.
The referee decided there was time for the restart and the Villagers, showing confidence, ran the ball from deep, with Driscoll making a telling break before feeding Morgan Williams who went deep into the Ogmore half. The ball was moved to second row Khan who raced down the left wing to within metres of the tryline.
The home side were penalised for an offence at the breakdown, and coach Vesey decided that his heart could not take any more excitement and told his charges to kick the ball to touch to bring the game to an end.
Next, Dinas Powys travel to unbeaten Porthcawl for what should be a difficult contest.