Cardiff Meds 2nd XV vs Cardiff University 3rd XV

It was a warm sunny Wednesday afternoon on Llanrumney playing fields that set the scene for what was to be one hell of a rivalry match in Cardiff. Spirits were high amongst the medics, especially the more senior players in the squad, who were well aware of how long this conflict had lasted. This match was more than just about rugby, it was about politics, and standing up to those who dismiss your claim, no, god given right, to play in BUCS. We had an abundance of freshman, fit and raring to play in this first game of the season for the 2nds. They listened intently to the pre-match pep talk, and, despite the lack of exposure to BUCS rugby, were more than intent on making their debut a one to remember.

The Meds kicked off the first half, and an early line out on the halfway line allowed us to exploit utility forward Zak Deere in the mid-field. Unfortunately, due to our delayed support and the University’s quick reactions, Deere was swarmed and a penalty for holding on was awarded to the Uni. This was sadly like an old record on repeat throughout the first half, whereby the Uni’s quick defence was converted to penalties, eventually resulting in the University converting a 3-point penalty early on.

The next score came from the Meds, whereby momentum was built from good running by Jack Weston and Ryan Harris, setting up a good platform for the backs. Fly half, Ollie Rae managed to ship out a miss pass to Jamie Plumb, who gained good ground on the left wing before offloading back to Rae who was taken down at the 5 metre line. Some quick thinking by Jamie Fenton saw him pick and dive over the line for the first try of the game. Overall this score came from a combination of quick ball, good support and white line fever.

The set piece was one major downfall for the Meds in the first half. We struggled at times to retain possession from our own lineout, and the sheer force from the Uni’s scrum made it difficult for scrum half Elliot Pritchard to distribute the ball out to the backs.

However, the Medics defence was stubborn for some time, and refused to allow the University to make any considerable gain line momentum, which was regularly quelled by up front tackling from the forwards. In particular, the likes of Tom Hunt, Harry Green and the two centres, Jack Lupton and Callum Johnson made their presence known. However, it was the discipline that really let us down in this half, permitting the University to pin us down in our own half through penalty clearance kicks. It was eventually the bold tenacity of the University’s attacking pressure that led to two tries being scored in the left hand corner. 13-5 was the score by the end of the first half.

After some stern chit-chat by Rhodri James and Harry Green during the half-time break, as well as some juicy segments of orange, the Meds had their heads back in the game. There was some hard reflection on our first half performance, like the C21 course encourages, which gave us the forward thinking motivation to go out all guns blazing in the second half.

The Meds’ second half performance perpetuated the statement ‘A game of two halves’, because this half, by far belonged to the Meds. Some solid upfront running from utility

forwards Zak Deere and Ryan Harris built our momentum, and a good drift defence, as practiced in training, hindered the University from scoring. The highlight of this half, if not the game, was when the University made their way down the field, only to be held short of the line for a solid 10 minutes. This can be attributed not only to the Meds physical strength in the tackle, but also their mental determination not to concede.

The second of the Med’s tries came from good tactical thinking from Rae, who called a reverse ball from the breakdown. Pritchard quickly distributed the ball, allowing Rae several options to pass to from 10. A quick inside ball to Plumb saw him break the line at pace, who then shipped it wide to Rhodri James, who made even further ground to pass right to wing Timothy Spence. Like Forrest Gump, Spence had one job, and one job alone. With the speed of a whippet, Spence sprinted to the line and converted his efforts with a try in the right hand corner. This try came from good security and strength at the breakdown, as well as good communication and support between team members that led to another stellar try by the Meds. 13-10.

Another penalty conceded within our 22 gave the University another right to get further in front, whereby they converted a penalty kick. 16-10. However, several scoring opportunities for the Meds came from strong running from the forwards, allowing us to ship the ball wide, utilising the overlap. This was however to no avail, as strong defence from the University and lack of depth in the backs led to the loss of possession and the ball being kicked down field. Despite utilising all of our subs bench, there was no further change to the score. This clearly highlighted our strength and depth, and a good fresher intake this year really aided our cause.

There was lots of heartache when the final whistle blew 16 – 10, however there were many positives to take from this match. Despite losing by a mere 6 points, we were solid in defence, attacked with intent and were never too hesitant to ship it wide followed by good support. We still have lots to work on come Monday night’s training, but there’s one thing that we know for certain: The University will have everything to lose in our next match-up, and the Meds will have a big point to prove – we will NOT be intimidated, bullied or beaten!

#uppameds

Team:

Forwards: Ryan Harris (MOTM), Tom Daubeney, Ish HY, George Oram (came on and stole two lineouts), Jamie Fenton (first try scorer), Sam Rozewicz, Jack Weston (Fresher of the match), Tom Hunt, Jeremy Guildford, Harry Green, Zak Deere (utility forward), Aran Fitzpatrick, Bryn Cresswell.

Backs: Elliot Pritchard, Ollie Rae (missed all his kicks), Matty Wray, Jack Lupton, Callum Johnson, Rhodri James, Timothy Spence (second try scorer), Jamie Plumb (DOTD), Chris Campbell, Rian Thomas.

By Jamie Plumb (Boyzone)

Posted on: October 25th, 2016
Posted in: results

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