Rhymney 27 Crumlin 31
The game between these two sides down there in the autumn had swayed to and fro before an eventual Brewers' win, and despite a bright Rhymney start and 12-0 lead, another see-saw struggle was to happen at a cool and sunny Park this time around. Eventually stand-in skipper Ieuan Breen's men again earned two losing bonus points for their four tries and a narrow defeat, but it was galling to provide the visitors with their first away win in a long time. Just as against Tredegar Ironsides a while back, two points weren't anywhere near as satisfying as the five the winners took away. Early signs had been good, a sparkling Callum Buckley run helping lead to a breakaway score by flanker-on-the-day Callum Ryan, converted by Liam Davies, and then No 8 Chris Richards tearing away on the counter from halfway for that 12-0 advantage. There were two other close things, too, but just when fans thought another home score would get things wrapped up in short order, the Crumlin pack began to assert itself. Carl Samuel, allegedly playing his last Rhymney - and rugby - game, was showing up well in tight and loose, but the visitors were chasing hard, getting to the corners and then showing off a well drilled rolling maul which the Brewers found tricky to stop. It was pressure from their eight which brought them right back into it with a pair of converted tries, and when Rhymney did win good ball on the Crumlin 22 an ill advised chip ahead was charged down and quickly became a further unconverted score at the other end: 12-19 at the break. Rhymney huffed and puffed but lost as much scrum ball as they won, failed to pass a couple of times when well set, and the lineout went horribly awry at just the wrong times: must have been watching Wales! Liam Davies tried hard to make things happen with limited ball, but again the Crumlin pack advanced and produced a neat overlap for a well-converted try. Mike Green and Keelan Pardoe got sub action, in the last quarter lock Andrew Barnett began showing some of his earlier season form, and when the backs then went right with the best hands of the match, wing Kyron Moss gratefully accepted Joey Buckley's pass to sprint over. Davies covered magnificently, then added a penalty, and at 22-24 there was more than a glimmer. However, a poor kick, back chat, a yellow card and penalty pressure and Crumlin got over wide out, in a move deserving a score though with a suspiciously bouncing touchdown, duly converted. There was some injury time, though, and after another Barnett charge and Lloyd White work, Chris Richards danced over for his second. Davies could not convert but then placed a clever chip ahead that all but stood up for now-emergency-winger Ryan to grab what would have been the clincher. It didn't, though, and Crumlin gratefully kicked dead to bring the final whistle. As a still-slim long-former player on the bank observed, though, 'Imagine how much more they'd enjoy it and how well they'd do at this level if they all trained and got really fit!...' First chance to try to live up to that is on Saturday at Rogerstone. Come on you Brewers!
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