Treorchy RFC

The Zebras

Treorchy 65 - 3 Llantrisant

The Oval, Treorchy, 15th May 2010 (report by Howard Lazarus)

Treorchy entertained Llantrisant at the Oval in their final match in Division 2 East needing a bonus point victory to put the pressure on Rhydyfelin in the race for second place in in the league and promotion to Division 1 East.
 
Playing into a stiff breeze, Treorchy took the lead after 5 minutes when Gareth Fear broke from the base of a ruck on the home 10m line to race in. Llantrisant replied with a penalty but Treorchy's domination of possession was rewarded when the dangerous Chris Clayton, who is on dual registration from Pontypridd, powered his way over to make the half time score 10-3.
 
Man of the match Gareth Fear broke again from his own 22 to free Trystan Lazarus to race in from 70 metres and a marvellous move between Clayton and Lazarus down the left freed Lee Stone to claim the bonus point after 50 minutes and take a 24-3 lead.
 
A comitted Llantrisant couldn't live with the pace of the Treorchy backs and further tries were scored by outside half Andrew Mallin, Gareth Fear and substitutes Daniel John and Rhodri Jones. Celyn Aston added 2 penalties, 7 seven conversions and the final try for a 25 point contribution.
 
With the final score 65-3, the Treorchy players and supporters nervously waited for the result from Rhydyfelin.  News that Gilfach Goch had scored a penalty in the final minute to draw 27-27 with Rhydyfelin was greeted with delight at the Oval as it meant that the Zebras' highly successful season had ended with a second place finish and a second consecutive promotion.

Treorchy:  15 Lee Stone (rep: Daniel John), 14 Chris Clayton, 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Celyn Ashton, 11 Chris Harris, 10 Andrew Mallin, 9 Gareth Fear.  1 Chris John, 2 Shaun Green, 3 Jamie Maggs (rep: Gareth Jones), 4 Kyle Evans (rep: Rhodri Jones), 5 Damon Filmer (rep: Vernon Lloyd), 6 Daniel Thorne, 7 Wayne Davies, 8 Jamie Summers.

Tries:                Gareth Fear (2), Chris Clayton, Lee Stone, Trystan Lazarus, Celyn Ashton,
                          Andrew Mallin, Daniel John, Rhodri Jones
Conversions:    Celyn Ashton (7)
Penalties:         Celyn Ashton (2)

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Treorchy 75 - 0 Garndiffaith

The Oval, Treorchy, 12th May 2010

Treorchy:  15 Lee Stone, 14 Chris Clayton, 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Jay Power (rep: Daniel John), 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Andrew Mallin, 9 Gareth Fear.  1 Gareth Jones, 2 Gafyn Lazarus, 3 Jamie Maggs (rep: Robert Jones), 4 Kyle Evans, 5 Gareth Barker, 6 Daniel Thorne (rep: Rhodri Jones) 7 Ben Hughes, 8 Jamie Summers (rep: Damon Filmer).

Tries:                Chris Clayton (3), Jamie Summers (3), Trystan Lazarus, Peter Hutchings,
                          Andrew Mallin, Gareth Jones, Gafyn Lazarus, Gareth Barker, Rhodri Jones
Conversions:    Lee Stone (5)

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Treorchy 15 - 35 Gilfach Goch

The Oval, Treorchy, 7th May 2010

Treorchy:  15 Celyn Ashton (rep: Gareth Fear), 14 Robert Davies, 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Jay Power, 11 Chris Harris, 10 Andrew Mallin, 9 Steffan Jones.  1 Chris John, 2 Shaun Green, 3 Jamie Maggs (rep: Gareth Jones), 4 Rhodri Jones, 5 Damon Filmer (rep: Vernon Lloyd), 6 Daniel Thorne (rep: Gareth Barker) 7 Wayne Davies, 8 Jamie Summers.

Penalties:     Celyn Ashton (5)

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Treorchy 24 - 8 Penallta

The Oval, Treorchy, 1st May 2010

Treorchy:  15 Lee Stone (rep: Jordan Lloyd), 14 Robert Davies, 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Jay Power, 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Andrew Mallin, 9 Steffan Jones.  1 Chris John (rep: Jamie Maggs), 2 Shaun Green, 3 Gareth Jones, 4 Kyle Evans, 5 Damon Filmer (rep: Gareth Barker), 6 Daniel Thorne 7 Wayne Davies, 8 Jamie Summers.

Try:                  Shaun Green, Damon Filmer, Andrew Mallin, Peter Hutchings
Conversion:     Lee Stone (2)

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Treorchy 10 - 38 Mountain Ash

The Oval, Treorchy, 24th April 2010

Treorchy:  15 Andrew Mallin, 14 Chris Harris, 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Jay Power, 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Celyn Ashton (rep: Lee Stone), 9 Gareth Fear.  1 Chris John, 2 Shaun Green (rep: Gafyn Lazarus), 3 Gareth Jones, 4 Kyle Evans, 5 Gareth Barker (rep: Damon Filmer), 6 Daniel Thorne 7 Ben Hughes (rep:Rhodri Jones), 8 Wayne Davies.

Try:                  Peter Hutchings
Conversion:     Celyn Ashton

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Penallta 18 - 7 Treorchy

Penallta, 20th April 2010

Treorchy:  15 Andrew Mallin, 14 Robert Davies, 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Richie Lewis (rep: Lee Stone), 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Celyn Ashton, 9 Gareth Fear.  1 Jamie Maggs (rep: Robert Jones), 2 Shaun Green, 3 Gareth Jones, 4 Gareth Barker (rep: Kyle Evans), 5 Damon Filmer, 6 Vernon Lloyd (rep: Gafyn Lazarus), 7 Ben Hughes, 8 Rhodri Jones.

Try:                  Peter Hutchings
Conversion:     Celyn Ashton

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Brynmawr 32 - 37 Treorchy

Brynmawr, 17th April 2010 (report by Carl Spiller)

Treorchy took another major step towards a second successive promotion with a hard earned away win at Brynmawr last Saturday.

On another cloudless day made for running rugby, Treorchy and Brynmawr didn’t disappoint by clocking up two tries apiece in a breathless opening quarter.  Treorchy opened the scoring after just five minutes with a converted try from full back Andrew Mallin, who was on hand to finish off a break from the superb scrum half Gareth Fear. 

Five minutes later a lost line out deep in Treorchy territory gifted the home side field position and after fruitlessly probing down the right hand side, they eventually found additional numbers on the left hand side for the score.  Gareth Barker added a second try for Treorchy a few minutes later following a 8, 9 scrum move just outside the home twenty two got full back Mallin to within a couple of yards of the line.  From the resulting ruck, Barker superbly reached for the five pointer.  To complete an end to end opening twenty minutes, Brynmawr registered a second try of their own as a rolling maul just outside the Treorchy twenty two split off and left the try scorer in for an easy score.  Treorchy did however hold the lead 14-12 courtesy of two successful conversions from the metronomic boot of outside half Celyn Ashton compared to one from Brynmawr, but lost the lead as Brynmawr registered their third try of the game on the counter attack following a penalty for each side.  To complete a pulsating half of rugby, Ashton added another penalty as Treorchy pressurised the home side’s goal line before the ref blew with the home side leading 22-20.

From the restart, the Zebras were guilty of missing a number of first up tackles as the home side increased their intensity looking to kill the game off as a contest.  Treorchy managed to withstand the initial pressure, but they had to do without the services of hooker Shaun Green to a yellow card as the home side increased their lead courtesy of a forty third minute penalty following an infringement on their own goal line. 

Despite being down to 14 men, Treorchy then produced a pivotal ten minutes of rugby to seize the initiative as first Celyn Ashton slotted over a nerveless kick from half way to reduce the arrears.  Then with the clock ticking down on the sin bin and the home side on the attack, a quickly taken long drop out bounced kindly on the hard surface and back into the hands of the onrushing Treorchy centre Trystan Lazarus.  That attack broke down, but powerful wing Chris Harris was able to register the Zebra’s third try of the match as he picked up ruck ball just outside the home twenty two, before powerfully breaking some weak first up tackles to gallop over.  Ashton added the extras to push Treorchy out into a 30-25 lead.
         
With half an hour to play, a gripping finale looked likely, but outside half Ashton and full back Andrew Mallin were able to ensure that the home side struggled to gain any significant territory with some excellently judged kicking, while some good work from the forwards attacking the Brynmawr line out took a major first phase platform out of the home side’s attacking repertoire.  With time running out, the visiting supporters had long given up any thoughts of the try bonus point in favour of securing the more vital win, but with the game already deep into injury time, a Brynmawr attacking move broke down and speedy centre Lazarus was able to gather and show a clean pair of heels to score beneath the posts to secure the bonus point.  Ashton added the simple conversion as Treorchy looked to have finally secured the win to go along with the bonus point 37-25. 

However, Treorchy failed to gather the restart and after some committed goal line defence, the home side were able to register a fourth try of their own.  The conversion was slotted, but despite the restart from Ashton which unluckily bounced dead gifting the home side a scrum on half way, the home side were unable to complete a remarkable late recovery as Treorchy celebrated another hard fought away win which leaves them inching closer to promotion.

Treorchy complete their away fixtures on Tuesday when they face strugglers Penallta, before they complete their season with five home games in a row knowing that their fate is firmly in their own hands.

Treorchy:  15 Andrew Mallin, 14 Chris Harris, 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Jay Power, 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Celyn Ashton, 9 Gareth Fear.  1 Chris John, 2 Shaun Green, 3 Gareth Jones (rep: Jamie Maggs), 4 Gareth Barker, 5 Jamie Summers (Capt) (rep: Gafyn Lazarus), 6 Wayne Davies (rep: Damon Filmer), 7 Ben Hughes, 8 Rhodri Jones.

Tries:                Andrew Mallin, Gareth Barker, Chris Harris, Trystan Lazarus
Conversions:    Celyn Ashton (4)
Penalties:         Celyn Ashton (3)

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Llantwit Fardre 25 - 39 Treorchy

Parc Canol, 10th April 2010 (report by Carl Spiller)

In gorgeous sunny weather Treorchy overcome a major hurdle in their pursuit of promotion as they earned a hard earned bonus point victory in an exciting eight try contest away to rivals Llantwit Fardre last Saturday.

An offside from the kick off gifted Treorchy the early initiative as outside half Celyn Ashton slotted the three points before Ashton then produced an inch perfect punt to push the home side into a defensive line out on their own five metre line.  An overthrow from the home side then gifted Treorchy open side Ben Hughes the five points which Ashton narrowly failed to convert.

A penalty on half way to the home side thanks to a reaction by Hughes following his try allowed Llantwit to open their account for the day courtesy of the boot of full back Rob Kotyla.  Ashton stretched Treorchy's lead with two further penalties , either side of a speculative drop goal from full back Andrew Mallin which found its way over courtesy of the post and bar, as the visitors adapted quicker to the referee's ruck interpretations as Treorchy stretched out into an early 17-3 lead.

Despite dropping behind the visitors on the scoreboard, the home side had contributed to an exciting opening quarter and they gained their reward in the second quarter as they responded with two tries with scrum half Carl Thomas the catalyst for all of Llantwit's good play.  The first try came courtesy of wing Keiron Evans who benefited from a well placed chip kick which caught full back Andrew Mallin out of position, allowing Evans to dive on the loose ball for the five points.  Scrum half Thomas missed with the conversion attempt but was converting Llantwit’s second try ten minutes later as an excellent grubber kick from former international Geraint Lewis exploited the flat Treorchy defensive line, allowing the player coach to reduce the arrears.  As the game headed towards the break Ashton added a fourth penalty kick as the whistle blew with the Zebras leading 20-15.

No sooner had the second half kicked off, than the game was halted for seven minutes as Treorchy second row Daniel Thorne was forced from the field with a face injury as he tackled the robust Thomas.  Indications were that Thomas led with an elbow and the referee concurred as he awarded Treorchy the penalty but chose to give Thomas a final warning rather than administer a card.  Upon the resumption, Ashton failed with the penalty shot from half way, but with emotions running high, Treorchy responded with two stunning converted tries from wing Peter Hutchings as Llantwit imploded.

Just before Hutchings two try blitz, Llantwit were reduced to 14 men as the impressive centre Paul Davies was yellow carded for rushing out of the Llantwit defensive line in order to disrupt a Treorchy overlap.  From the penalty, Treorchy opted for a scrum rather than a kick which come to nothing, but a couple of minutes later Hooker Shaun Green made a superb initial burst as he caught the close defence napping with an intelligent angle from the blind side of the ruck.  The ball was recycled quickly and some good hands saw full back Mallin into space and a superb back of the hand pass saw Hutchings in for the try which Ashton converted. 

From the restart Treorchy gathered the ball safely in their own twenty two and with the home side’s back three positioned in back field ready for a clearance kick, Treorchy gave the ball some width allowing centre Trystan Lazarus to stretch his legs in open field before feeding wing Hutchings who held off some would-be tacklers before galloping away for his second try. 

However, scrum half Thomas, who despite the clear warning from the ref after his elbow and already getting away with an unseen forearm five minutes before Hutchings two try burst, chose to add to his charge sheet with an unnecessary late challenge on Hutchings after he had scored the try.  The referee was quick to stop the flashpoint from escalating as visiting players and supporters alike made their feelings known and chose to issue Thomas with a straight red before Ashton added the extras.

With the Zebras leading 34-15, Llantwit down to 13 for another eight or nine minutes and with twenty minutes still left in the contest, the home side looked in trouble, but responded well by recording their third try from short range as they chose too keep the ball in their numerically even forwards where their rolling maul had been difficult to contain all day.  With time running out and with a bonus point potentially slipping away, Treorchy’s recorded their fourth try of the day as number eight Rhodri Jones benefited from a superb charge down from open side flanker Ben Hughes.  

With time still remaining courtesy of the injury to Thorne, Llantwit were able to record their first try bonus point of the season as full back Rob Kotyla earned his second try of the day from short distance as the Llantwit pack displayed their rolling maul proficiency again.

But the day was Treorchy's as the referee blew for time on a 39-25 win and with news of Rhydfelin surprisingly losing at home to strugglers Newport Saracens, the Zebras next week Treorchy play their penultimate away game to Brynmawr in the knowledge that they have five home fixtures still remaining and with their chances of promotion in their own hands.

Treorchy:  15 Andrew Mallin, 14 Robert Davies, 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Jay Power, 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Celyn Ashton, 9 Lee Stone (rep: Gareth Fear).  1 Chris John, 2 Shaun Green (rep: Gafyn Lazarus), 3 Gareth Jones , 4 Daniel Thorne (rep: Gareth Barker), 5 Jamie Summers (Capt), 6 Vernon Lloyd (rep: Wayne Davies), 7 Ben Hughes, 8 Rhodri Jones.

Tries:                Peter Hutchings (2), Ben Hughes, Rhodri Jones
Conversions:    Celyn Ashton (2)
Drop Goal:       Andrew Mallin
Penalties:         Celyn Ashton (4)

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Treorchy 20 - 3 Ynysybwl

The Oval, 27th March 2010 (report ny Carl Spiller)

After two defeats in a row, Treorchy returned to winning ways with a solid home win against Ynysybwl last Saturday in Division Two East.

Playing with the strong wind at their backs in the first half Treorchy dominated territory and posession, but failed to take control of the scoreboard as the visitors proved a difficult proposition, managing to be competitive enough at the breakdown to repel most of Treorchy's attacks, while inaccuracies in both forward and back play also let the visitors off the hook on more than one occasion.

With time running out on the half and with just a single Celyn Ashton penalty to their name, Treorchy made a bold choice to kick to the corner and from a second penalty from the resulting line out, a quick tap was recycled to within touching distance of the line but good safe hands amongst the backs allowed wing Peter Hutchings (pictured) in for the try in the corner.  Ashton expertly added the extras from the acute angle as an often frustrating half of rugby ended with the Zebras leading 10-0.



The wind was perhaps worthy of a greater points advantage, but while Treorchy were clearly short on confidence in the first half, no doubt as a result of the two recent defeats in an already disrupted stop/start season, in the second half they went some way to removing the remaining residue as they closed out the contest in a quietly efficient manner to continue their long unbeaten home league record.

Ashton and Bwl full back Chris Cummings exchanged penalties in a tense third quarter before Treorchy began to assert themselves in the forwards, with second row Daniel Thorne superb, while the backs rediscovered some of their early season fluency and endeavor with Jay Power impressing in the centres alongside the always threatening Trystan Lazarus. A crucial killer score was looking inevitable as Treorchy's excellent driving maul sapped the last resistence of the visitors before substitute scrum half Daniel John burrowed his way over beneath the sticks to put the game out of sight.  Ashton slotted the extras to complete a solid 20-3 victory.

With table toppers Gilfach Goch falling to a shock defeat to Mountain Ash, Treorchy's pursuit for top spot took a major boost heading into a crucial period of three consecutive away games, beginning at Penallta next Saturday, which should help to shape the Zebras season. Following those three fixtures, Treorchy then play out their remaining five fixtures all at the Oval in what could be a tense and exciting final month of the season.

Treorchy:  15 Andrew Mallin, 14 Robert Davies, 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Jay Power, 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Celyn Ashton, 9 Lee Stone (rep: Daniel John).  1 Gareth Jones (rep: Jamie Maggs), 2 Shaun Green, 3 Chris John, 4 Daniel Thorne, 5 Jamie Summers (Capt), 6 Vernon Lloyd (rep: Rhodri Jones, 7 Ben Hughes, 8 Wayne Davies(rep: Gareth Barker).

Tries:                Peter Hutchings, Daniel John
Conversions:    Celyn Ashton (2)
Penalties:         Celyn Ashton (2)

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Abercynon 17 - 12 Treorchy

Abercynon, 6th March 2010

Treorchy:  15 Andrew Mallin, 14 Robert Davies, 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Jay Power, 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Lee Stone, 9 Steffan Jones (rep: Daniel John).  1 Chris John, 2 Jon Thomas (rep: Robert Jones), 3 Shaun Green, 4 Daniel Thorne (rep: Gareth Barker), 5 Jamie Summers (Capt), 6 Vernon Lloyd, 7 Rhodri Jones, 8 Wayne Davies.

Tries:                Trystan Lazarus, Steffan Jones
Conversion:       Jay Power

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Rhydyfelin 29 - 16 Treorchy

Rhydyfelin, 27th February 2010 (report by Carl Spiller)

Treorchy fell to their third league defeat of the season as they were out played away to Rhydyfelin last Saturday in Division Two East.

Treorchy started brightly and opened the scoring after just seven minutes as second row Gareth Barker barged his way over from close range following a superb cross kick from outside half Celyn Ashton to winger Jay Power, making his first start for the first team in nearly two
years. Ashton added the extras, but Rhydyfelin responded within two minutes with a converted try of their own as wing Liam Watton crossed in the corner following a missed tackle on Rhyd outside half Lewis Smith.

Both teams then exchanged penalties as Treorchy began to impose themselves on the Rhydyfelin set piece, but it was the home side who recorded their second try as space was identified following a turn over in midfield and some excellent hands allowed Watton in for his second try despite the best efforts of two would-be tacklers. Full back David Gratton added his second conversion as the ref blew with the home side 17-10 up.

Despite their dominance in the scrum and the proficiency of their mauling, Treorchy were finding it difficult to generate any quick ball from which to attack as the excellent Rhydyfelin back row, led superbly by open side Sam Evans, were proving themselves to be highly effective at the breakdown. But it was the speed of thought and invention of the home side's backs, with outside half Smith and in particular centre Ross Lucas, which was proving the main obstacle to the Zebras pursuit of the win as the pair orchestrated a stunning exhibition of fast and loose rugby as the home side ran the table topping visitors ragged in a superb second half performance.

In addition to Smith and Lucas, Rhydyfelin had a powerful back three willing to run back at every opportunity and it was after just six minutes of the second half that wing Gavin Close registered the home side's third try of the afternoon following a kick down field. The home side were quick to spot the opportunity on the left flank and Close made no mistake to push Rhyd out to a 22-10 lead.

Minutes later Close narrowly missed out on a second try as flanker Vernon Lloyd pulled of a superb tackle in the corner as the home side upped the pace at every opportunity taking quick taps and quick throw ins.

On the hour mark that tackle looked like it might become crucial as the home side lost two-try scorer Watton to a straight red as he led with his elbow into a tackler when in possession. With a quarter of the game remaining, Treorchy opted for the three points which Ashton duly converted but within three minutes the contest was virtually ended as full back Gratton belied the heavy pitch to score a stunning solo try as he used his pace to arc through a gap in the Treorchy defence before rounding the last man to score beneath the posts. He added the extras himself as the home side led 29-13 with just 16 minutes remaining.

To their credit, Treorchy never gave up and put together their most meaningful passages of play as they battered away through the forwards but their accuracy, allied to some heroic defending kept the home line in tact despite going down to 13 men for ten minutes as the referee lost patience with some of tackle area infringements.

After such an impressive season to date, Treorchy will have felt the manner of the loss deeply but have the opportunity to make immediate amends and also reinvigorate their promotion push as they again travel next Saturday, this time to Abercynon.

Treorchy:  15 Lee Stone, 14 Jay Power, 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Andrew Mallin , 11 Peter Hutchings (rep: Chris Harris), 10 Celyn Ashton, 9 Daniel John.  1 Chris John, 2 Shaun Green, 3 Gareth Jones,  4 Gareth Barker, 5 Kyle Evans (rep: Vernon Lloyd), 6 Wayne Davies, 7 Rhodri Jones, 8 Jamie Summers (Capt).

Try:                  Gareth Barker
Conversion:     Celyn Ashton
Penalties:        Celyn Ashton (3)

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Newport Saracens 7 - 24 Treorchy

Maes Glas, Newport, 20th February 2010 (report by Carl Spiller)

Treorchy maintained the pressure on Gilfach Goch at the top of Division Two East with a hard fought away win at Newport Saracens.

Treorchy were out of the blocks from the off dominating the early passages of play and setting up camp in the Sarries half but were unable to open the scoring on a tacky Maes Glas pitch until the end of the first quarter as scrum half Gareth Fear scored a fine team try.  Nothing looked on as Sarries had possession on half way, but loose head prop Chris John showed his all round game by turning the ball over at the midfield ruck. The ball was transferred to wing Peter Hutchings who broke a tackle before off loading to second row Gareth Barker who rampaged into the Sarries twenty-two before another excellent off load gave Fear enough space to show his acceleration to dive over under the posts.

Celyn Ashton, playing at inside centre, slotted the extras and was adding a second five minutes later as fellow centre Trystan Lazarus continued his fine individual season with another try.  Again, Treorchy capitalised on turn over ball as a robust tackle from Fear stopped a scrum pick up at source before flanker Vernon Lloyd positioned himself well to gather the risky off load before quick hands allowed Lazarus to gallop over untouched from just inside the twenty-two.  On the half hour mark Ashton extended Treorchy's lead to 17 points as he converted a penalty following a high tackle on wing Craig Payne.

With the game seemingly slipping away, Sarries then experiencing their best passage of play in the minutes leading up to half time as they cut out some of the 50/50 offloads of earlier, while they were much more competitive at the breakdown. Their challenge looked to have been fatally compromised however, as they were reduced to 14 men following a brawl involving a number of players from both sides as the game headed towards the break.

With the home side a man down, the visiting supporters might have expected the Zebras to have cruised to the bonus point win. However the introduction of some fresh Sarries legs at half time, allied to some missed first up tackles from the visitors and some sympathetic refereeing, saw two Treorchy yellow cards at the tackle area which helped the home side to dominate territory and possession and on the hour mark gained their reward with a seven pointer from close range to reduce the arrears to 17-7.

With the result back in the balance, Treorchy kicked back into life as they began to find spaces out wide to go with their set piece solidity, to continually push the home side back into their own twenty-two. With time running down the Zebras made the game safe with their third try as flanker Rhodri Jones (having moments earlier having being slotted in on the wing to cover a blood injury to Payne) capped a fine individual performance with a try in the corner following a scrum five after Celyn Ashton had been held up over the line. Ashton added the extras from the touchline to complete the scoring at 24-7 as Treorchy narrowly missed out on the bonus point.

Next week Treorchy continue their pursuit for promotion as they embark on a crucial run of difficult fixtures with a stern test away to Rhydfelin.

Treorchy:  15 Andrew Mallin, 14 Craig Payne (rep: Jon Thomas), 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Celyn Ashton, 11 Peter Hutchings (rep: Jay Power), 10 Lee Stone, 9 Gareth Fear.  1 Chris John, 2 Shaun Green, 3 Gareth Jones,  4 Gareth Barker (rep: Kyle Evans), 5 Daniel Thorne, 6 Vernon Lloyd (rep: Wayne Davies), 7 Rhodri Jones, 8 Jamie Summers (Capt).

Tries:                Gareth Fear, Trystan Lazarus, Rhodri Jones
Conversions:    Celyn Ashton (3)
Penalty:            Celyn Ashton

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Mountain Ash 6 - 17 Treorchy

Parc Duffryn Pennar, 12th February 2010 (report by Carl Spiller)

They say that winning ugly is a sign of a good team and on Friday night Treorchy displayed the type of grit and character that might well push them all the way to two consecutive promotions as they continued their push for Division One with a hard fought and clinical away win over fellow contenders Mountain Ash as the two old foes resumed their rivalry after a number of years in separate divisions in this rearranged fixture.

An excellent start from the visiting Zebras saw them open up an early ten point lead courtesy of a try beneath the posts from in form winger Peter Hutchings following a superb touch finding kick from outside half Celyn Ashton and some excellent athleticism from back rower Rhodri Jones who terrorised Mount at the early line outs.  Ashton added the simple conversion and slotted over a penalty before the home side began to assert some control over the contest with their lively backs always threatening, behind an impressive scrum.  However, as in many fixtures this season, Treorchy’s committed defence were superb in maintaining the visitors lead, while their scramble defence was utterly heroic in snuffing out the few times that the defensive line was broken as the Old Firm had just two penalties from the boot of outside half Matthew Parfitt to show for their efforts as the whistle blew for half time with Treorchy leading 10-6.

The second half began as the first ended with Mount the stronger side, but slowly Treorchy began to gain the upper hand with youngsters Shaun Green in the front row and Rhodri Jones impressing for the visitors as they began to get the upper hand at the breakdown.  However, the ever willing home side continued to exert pressure, and after a series of five metre scrums were successful repelled, inside centre Andrew Mallin superbly skipped his way over to score Treorchy’s second try of the night beneath the posts.  Despite an otherwise uncharacteristic kicking performance from him, Celyn Ashton slotted the extras to stretch the Zebras lead out to 17-6 with the game heading into the final quarter of an hour.  With time remaining, the game was far from over, but Treorchy’s excellent defence held firm and with five minutes to go, visiting supporters were gladdened to see the return of wing Jay Power who, very nearly two years after that horrific broken leg away to Tylorstown, made his long awaited return to first team action as the points were secured for another important away win. 

Next Saturday Treorchy will look to maintain the pressure on Gilfach at the top of Division Two East as they travel to Newport Saracens in another rearranged fixture.

Treorchy:  15 Lee Stone, 14 Craig Payne, 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Andrew Mallin , 11 Peter Hutchings (rep: Jay Power), 10 Celyn Ashton, 9 Gareth Fear.  1 Chris John, 2 Shaun Green, 3 Gareth Jones,  4 Gareth Barker, 5 Kyle Evans (rep: Damon Filmer ), 6 Daniel Thorne (rep: Wayne Davies), 7 Rhodri Jones, 8 Jamie Summers (Capt).

Tries:                Peter Hutchings, Andrew Mallin
Conversions:    Celyn Ashton (2)
Penalty:            Celyn Ashton

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Treorchy 20 - 21 Maesteg

The Oval, 23rd January 2010 (report by Carl Spiller)

Treorchy suffered their first home defeat since April 2008 as they exited the Swalec Plate following an often I'll tempered but highly competitive game against Maesteg last Saturday.

With Treorchy top of Division Two East and the visitors in a similar position at the top of Division Two West the game was always going to be an interesting gauge of the relative divisions strengths, but any neutral supporters present would have been bitterly dissapointed as both teams produced an opening half hour to forget as the frequent multiple-player fracas left little time for rugby.

The rugby that was played was of the atricitional variety as both sides, Treorchy in particular, showed the effects of weeks of inactivity as tackles were missed and skill levels were low. However of genuine concern for the Zebras will be the way in which the visitors were able
to apply pressure at the set peice and it was this advantage that enabled the visitors to repel some early pressure from the home side as they made ground attacking round the fringes.

With thirty minutes gone, the Zebras led courtesy of the odd penalty in five from the boot of outside half Celyn Ashton compared with two from Maesteg counterpart Roddie Evans. On the half hour mark though the referee finally ran out of patience and with both captains already having a ten minute breather, yet another mass punch up saw a red card for Maesteg blind side Ben Howe.  Howe was unfortunate in that he was the only player to be red carded in an ugly flash point but can have had no complaints otherwise in that his succesful haymaker wasn't just landed right in front of the ref, but very nearly collected him en route.

As often happens, losing a man galvanised the away team who ended the half the stronger in registering their third penalty to level the scores at 9-9.  However, what was unexpected was that this edge continued after the break and turned into outright dominance following a second Treorchy sin binning for a side entry at a ruck.  Maesteg took advantage and three further penalties from the boot of Evans and a snap drop goal from the impressive scrum half Lee Ronan appeared to have settled the contest as Treorchy hit the panic button in the face of a committed and well organised Maesteg outfit with full back Liam Healey excellent in defence
and attack.

With their proud home record set to end in a tame wimper, Treorchy responded with two well taken penalties from the boot of Ashton as their numerical advantage finally began to show. With Maesteg leading 21-15, the game moved into the final ten minutes as Treorchy finally
rediscovered the type of flowing rugby that prior to the unscheduled winter break had allowed them to reach the summit of Division Two East as they battered away at the visitors led by indefatigable captain Jamie Summers and the introduction of second row Gareth Barker. The excellent Maesteg defence held firm, but with the clock already deep into injury time, one final push saw wing Peter Hutchings get over in the corner to spark celebrations amongst the supports. However the job was only half done and from the touchline, with Treorchy a single point down, Ashton narrowly failed with the conversion and moments later the visiting
supporters were celebrating a hard fought win in what turned out a mini classic.
  
Next week the Zebras travel to Newport Saracens as the league campaign resumes (before the Six Nations break!) looking to continue the form that very nearly snatched this match from the fire.

Treorchy:  15 Lee Stone, 14 Craig Payne, 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Andrew Mallin , 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Celyn Ashton, 9 Daniel John.  1 Chris John, 2 Shaun Green, 3 Gareth Jones,  4 Damon Filmer (rep: Gareth Barker), 5 Kyle Evans, 6 Daniel Thorne (rep: Vernon Lloyd), 7 Ben Hughes (rep: Rhodri Jones), 8 Jamie Summers (Capt).

Tries:                Peter Hutchings
Penalties:         Celyn Ashton (5)

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Maesteg Harlequins 7 - 55 Treorchy

South Parade Fields, 12th December 2009 (report by Carl Spiller)

Making their bow in the revamped Swalec Plate last Saturday, Treorchy put paid to Maesteg Quins cup chances with a ruthless nine try victory.

Despite leading Division Two East, Treorchy might have been forgiven for taking their eye off the ball, but things couldn't have been further from the truth as they proceeded to comprehensively outplay the home side as they collected 38 unanswered points in the first half alone as the difference between the top of Division two and the bottom of division three was in evidence.

The tone was set within the first five minutes of the game as Treorchy attacked the Quins forwards and the result was a try apiece for second row Damon Filmer and Captain Jamie Summers from two rolling mauls.  The inspirational Summers has, so far this season, been the embodiment of Treorchy's spirit as he has not only been prepared to front up in the front row, but has also been highly effective.  Last Saturday he shifted position again, this time the lesser move across to blind side flanker, but there was again no change in his attitude and thanks to some excellent support play he added three further tries of his own as the Treorchy forwards took total control of the game.
 
To complete the first half scoring, Celyn Ashton took advantage of some woeful midfield tackling to stroll over beneath the posts for the sixth try of the game.
 
At 38-0 up at half time, many home supporters must have been fearing the worst, but an improved second half showing stopped the Zebras from running up an even bigger score, while the Treorchy forwards were also guilty of some blatant white line fever as overlaps were squandered in pursuit of individual scores.  When the ball was eventually released, prolific centre Trystan Lazarus added two more tries to his season's tally, while fellow centre Andrew Williams opened his season's account with the team's ninth try as the whistle blew for full time on a comprehensive 55-7 victory for the Zebras.
 
The reward for Treorchy's victory is a third round fixture at home to Quins' near neighbours, Division Two West leaders Maesteg, in a repeat of the recent friendly that saw Treorchy lose out 39-21 albeit away from home.  However, next week Treorchy return to league action away to old foes Mountain Ash as they look to consolidate their position at the top of Division Two East.


Treorchy:  15 Andrew Mallin (rep: Jay Power), 14 Craig Payne, 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Andrew Mallin , 11 Robert Davies, 10 Celyn Ashton, 9 Daniel John.  1 Chris John, 2 Shaun Green (rep: Jonathan Thomas), 3 Gareth Jones,  4 Damon Filmer, 5 Gareth Barker (Rep: Vernon Lloyd), 6 Jamie Summers (capt), 7 Wayne Davies, 8 Rhodri Jones (Rep: Kyle Evans).

Tries:                Jamie Summers (4), Trystan Lazarus (2), Celyn Ashton, Damon Filmer,
                          Andrew Williams
Conversions:    Celyn Ashton (5)

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Treorchy 20 - 5 Llantwit Fardre

The Oval, 5th December 2009 (report by Carl Spiller)

Treorchy gained top spot in Division Two East with a hard fought win over rivals Llantwit Fardre last Saturday at the Oval as former leaders Gilfach Goch slipped to an unexpected home defeat to bottom side Llantrisant.

Despite the difficult conditions, Treorchy were out of the blocks quickly and after missing a shot at goal in the opening minutes, opened the scoring with a converted try as outside half Celyn Ashton fielded a clearance kick on the Llantwit ten metre line, before beating two weak first up tackles to get behind the defensive line and working Peter Hutchings over for an excellent opening score.

Llantwit missed a chance to reduce the deficit with a penalty, but otherwise Treorchy were dominating the territory courtesy of some excellent out of hand kicking from Ashton and full back Lee Stone, as well as being gifted some free territory from some understandable handling errors from the Llantwit back division.

One positive for Llantwit was their line out which was a particularly fruitful phase of the game as former Welsh international Geraint Lewis displayed the range of skills that won him his caps as Llantwit held their nerve to throw to him at the tail, while their rolling maul was difficult to stop at times, while throughout the whole game Llantwit's forwards provided an abrasive challenge at the break down.  However, with the return from injury of youngster Jamie Maggs, Treorchy were able to call on a full compliment of front row forwards for the first time in the league all season and the difference was apparent as Llantwit where driven off the ball in the shadows of their own posts.  Scrum half Gareth Fear was stopped short, but captain Jamie Summers, returning to number eight after his enforced spell in the front row, was on hand to add the five points.  Ashton added his second conversion and on the half hour mark had stretched Treorchy's lead out to a healthy 17 points with a penalty.

Llantwit responded superbly with a try of their own as they worked their way deep into Treorchy territory.  They found the excellent Zebra defence difficult to break down, but a precise cross field kick from Llantwit outside half Carl Thomas fell nicely into the arms of his brother Dean for the score.  The try was left unconverted, but with the game going into half time 17-5, Llantwit will have felt they still had a chance with the wind at their backs in the second half.

The second half was instantly forgettable as conditions worsened making multiple phases a rarity and differentiating between both sides almost as difficult, but Treorchy were still required to clock in an excellent collective Treorchy defensive effort to snuff out any hope of a Llantwit revival.  While Treorchy's dominance at scrum time become less pronounced during the course of the game, they got a grip of Llantwit's rolling maul in yet another impressive performance from the united Treorchy pack who stood their ground superbly.

A second Ashton penalty on the hour mark appeared to secure the points, but Llantwit had more chance to gain something from the fixture as they were awarded a scrum on the Treorchy line with five minutes remaining.  The scrum was disrupted by Treorchy and to compound the lost opportunity, the visitors were reduced to fourteen men as the referee brandished a red card following an altercation after the whistle had blown.  From then on, the biggest threat to the outcome of the match was the worsening conditions and the final act summed up Llantwit's day, and also Treorchy's defence, as a penalty for the visitors in their own half was kicked to touch in the knowledge it would end the game, thereby consigning Llantwit to their third defeat in a row.

After six weeks without a league fixture, next week Treorchy take another break as they travel to Maesteg Quins in the cup.

Treorchy:  15 Lee Stone, 14 Craig Payne, 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Andrew Mallin , 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Celyn Ashton, 9 Gareth Fear.  1 Chris John, 2 Shaun Green, 3 Jamie Maggs (Gareth Jones),  4 Damon Filmer (Vernon Lloyd), 5 Gareth Barker (Rhodri Jones), 6 Daniel Thorne, 7 Ben Hughes (rep: Wayne Davies), 8 Jamie Summers (Capt).

Tries:                Peter Hutchings, Jamie Summers
Conversions:    Celyn Ashton (2)
Penalties:         Celyn Ashton (2)

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Ynysybwl 18 - 20 Treorchy

The Recreation Ground, 24th Ocrober 2009 (report by Carl Spiller)

Treorchy maintained the pressure at the top of Swalec Division Two East leaders Gilfach Goch with a narrow victory over near neighbours Ynysybwl on Saturday in an epic contest.

With the game taking place at the Ynysybwl Recreation Ground, the elements were inevitably going to play a part and so it proved as the strong wind favoured the home side in the first half as Ceri Cummins narrowly failed with a penalty attempt from inside his own half a few minutes after he’d opened the scoring with a penalty from an early scrum.

Despite the conditions Treorchy struck back by dominating territory for the remainder of the quarter but were unable to notch a score and minutes after butchering a glorious try scoring chance, Ynysybwl registered the first try of the match as centre Sean Ireland took a good angle from a short pass following some pressure on the Treorchy line.  Cummins converted and added a second penalty on the half hour mark as the home side stretched out to a thirteen point lead.  Via some excellent defence the Zebras were able to keep the Bwl at bay for the remainder of the first half as both teams were fortunate to keep fifteen men on the field as tempers frayed.

A thirteen point advantage was perhaps about par given the wind advantage, but Treorchy were fortunate to not concede more from the restart as a knock on deep in the twenty-two gifted the home side early field position.  Treorchy weathered that particular storm and four minutes later had reduced the arrears with a converted try from the excellent openside flanker Ben Hughes, who had shown his ability to get to the breakdown first with some vital penalty decisions throughout the game. 

Treorchy thought they had scored a moment earlier as outside half Lee Stone intercepted a move inside the Bwl half to slide over under the posts only for the referee to quite rightly take the teams back for an earlier Zebra knock on at the line out where Daniel Thorne was imperious all afternoon. 

However, from the next passage of play, Stone chipped ahead as the home’s side’s handling let them down again.  Stone was impeded in the act of scoring, but flanker Hughes was on hand to slide over under the posts to seal the score.  Celyn Ashton added the conversion and was adding a second conversion two minutes later as a simple eight, nine move from the back of a scrum just outside the home twenty two allowed full back Andrew Mallin to gallop over virtually unopposed.  With thirty two minutes still to play, Treorchy had overturned the deficit and more was to come as Ashton added a penalty and Stone a neat drop goal as Treorchy turned the screw on an increasingly dejected looking home side.

With just ten minutes of the match remaining, Treorchy invited pressure as a wind assisted kick downfield unluckily went dead to gift the home side a scrum deep in Treorchy twenty–two.  What followed was a ten minute series of scrums as Treorchy defended superbly, while the referee favoured calling early for a scrum rather than let a ruck develop.  However with the game about to move into injury time, outside half James Read managed to barge his way over near the corner flag.  Cummins lined up the equalising conversion, but against the strong wind he was unable to convert and tie the scores.

What happened next was somewhat surreal.  In the first half the referee allowed just three minutes of injury time, which to most spectators appeared quite favourable to the visitors who were in the difficult position of facing the wind.  However, for the second half, one can only imagine that the referee had been influenced in his concept of time by the nearby filming of Doctor Who as he chose to play a bewildering fourteen minutes of injury time despite the obvious lack of any second half injuries.  This injury time allowed the home side one final shot at goal, but with the wind persistent in its ferocity, Cummins again narrowly failed and the referee eventually blew for time to seal an epic victory for Treorchy which keeps them second in the table, hot on the heals of leaders Gilfach Goch.

Treorchy next week travel to Aberavon Quins in a friendly, before they face Penallta in their next league fixture at the Oval on Saturday 14th November.

Treorchy:  15 Andrew Mallin, 14 Craig Payne, 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Celyn Ashton, 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Lee Stone, 9 Gareth Fear.  1 Jamie Summers (Capt), 2 Shaun Green, 3  Chris John , 4 Kyle Evans, 5 Daniel Thorne, 6 Vernon Lloyd (rep: Jonathan Thomas), 7 Ben Hughes (rep: Wayne Davies), 8 Rhodri Jones (rep: Damon Filmer)

Tries:                Ben Hughes, Andrew Mallin
Conversions:    Celyn Ashton (2)
Penalty:            Celyn Ashton
Drop Goal:       Lee Stone

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Treorchy 48 - 13 Abercynon

The Oval, 17th October 2009 (report by Carl Spiller)

On a beautiful sunny afternoon, a healthy crowd gathered to see whether Treorchy could return to winning ways as they faced former Mid District rivals Abercynon at the Oval.  After the disappointing defeat away to Gilfach Goch, Treorchy responded with a comprehensive seven try victory that moves them up to second in Swalec Division Two East.

Treorchy dominated the early territory, but showed the same levels of ill discipline as the week before to allow the visitors off the hook with a couple of needless penalties in the opposition twenty-two, and Abercynon demonstrated the value of making the most of your opportunities as their two early visits into Treorchy territory saw them collect two penalties from the boot of centre Matthew Turner.  However, it would be fair to say that those two forays represented the sum total of Cynon’s territory in the first half as the home side set camp in the Abercynon half of the field, courtesy of a dominant performance from the Treorchy pack, particularly in the tackle area, turning over Cynon on a regular basis.  However, the reshuffled back division found the disciplined Abercynon defence difficult to break down.

To add to the re-shuffle in the backs, captain and regular number eight Jamie Summers was again forced to play at tight head prop, but he demonstrated his leadership with an another outstanding performance and it was he who broke the deadlock with a try from a quickly taken penalty just five metres out from the visitor line.  Celyn Ashton, playing at inside centre, added the extras to add to an earlier penalty as Treorchy took a 10-6 lead after half an hour.  With a couple of minutes remaining of the first half Treorchy registered their second try to go in 17-6 as a turn over in midfield was neatly chipped through and the bouncing ball favoured the speedy centre Trystan Lazarus who dotted down for his eleventh try of the season in just the seventh fixture.

As the second half began, the result was still in the mix, and Treorchy immediately gifted the opposition an early opportunity with two consecutive kicks direct into touch but with captain Summers making two consecutive loose balls his own, Treorchy ground their way back into Abercynon territory and there they stayed clocking up five second half tries in an utterly commanding performance.

The first try came five minutes into the half as the impressive young second row Kyle Evans displayed his dynamism and eye for a gap with a fantastic angle from a short pass to barge his way through the first tackle before skipping past the second to score beneath the posts for his first senior try for the club.  Despite the home side’s dominance, it took a further quarter of an hour to score the bonus point try, but on the hour mark flanker Wayne Davies was the recipient of a collective forward try as a rolling maul was driven over close to the touchline as Treorchy turned the screw on an increasingly dejected looking Cynon XV.  That dejection turned to outright capitulation as Trystan Lazarus continued his try scoring streak as he collected his second hat trick of the season.  His second try of the match came as he out sprinted the Cynon covering defence to gather another intelligent chipped kick from turnover ball in midfield and three minutes later, after a brief visit to the touchline to patch up a head wound, he collected a loose ball from yet another lacklustre Abercynon back move and showed his pace by galloped clear on the hard ground for the hat trick.

As the game entered the final ten minutes, there was still time for the try of the match as Celyn Ashton showed a side of his game which has noticeably and markedly improved this season.  Collecting the ball in the inside centre channel following off the top line out ball, he proceeded to gallop through a huge gap in the visitors defence created by some off the ball running, before showing a fantastic turn of pace to arc round the full back to score a scintillating solo try in the corner to cap a fine individual performance and complete a personal tally of 18 points for the match.

With the clock ticking down to the final few minutes, Abercynon made their first foray into Treorchy territory and were awarded a penalty on the Treorchy line.  From the resulting scrum, the referee, perhaps a little charitably, awarded the visitors a penalty try as the Treorchy back row disrupted a wheeling scrum.  The try was converted from beneath the posts, but merely added some undeserved respectability to the score line as the whistle blew with Treorchy comfortable winner 48-13. 

The Zebras next week travel to Ynysywbl in what will be another test of their promotion credentials.

Treorchy:  15 Andrew Mallin, 14 Craig Payne, 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Celyn Ashton, 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Lee Stone, 9 Gareth Fear (rep: Steffan Jones).  1 Chris John, 2 Shaun Green, 3 Jamie Summers (Capt) (rep Jonathan Thomas), 4 Kyle Evans, 5 Daniel Thorne (rep: Vernon Lloyd), 6 Wayne Davies (rep: Damon Filmer), 7 Ben Hughes, 8 Rhodri Jones 

Tries:                Trystan Lazarus (3), Celyn Ashton, Wayne Davies, Kyle Evans, Jamie Summers
Conversions:    Celyn Ashton (5)
Penalty:            Celyn Ashton

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Glifach Goch 27 - 16 Treorchy

Gilfach Goch, 10th October 2009 (report by Carl Spiller)

Treorchy slipped to their second defeat of the season and lost their position at the top of Swalec Division Two East in a brutal local derby away to Gilfach Goch.

Going into the match on the back of four wins from five fixtures, Treorchy knew that the visit to Gilfach would be an acid test of their promotion credentials and they left with much to ponder as they fell to 27-16 defeat against a Gilfach team who, although narrow in game plan, were organised at set piece, aggressive in defence, adopted a hugely physical attitude at the rucks, but more importantly displayed a far greater level of discipline.

Playing up the slight slope in the first half Treorchy opened the scoring after ten minutes with a penalty from the boot of Celyn Ashton following an early miss from Gilfach, but from that moment the story of the half was one of unforced errors and poor discipline from the visitors which gifted the home side easy field position in an otherwise even physical contest against a Gilfach team content to keep the ball close to the ruck.  That field position and the continued ill discipline allowed Gilfach to notch up three penalties, but with two minutes remaining of the half Ashton added a second penalty for Treorchy as the visitors managed to work their way into opposition territory. 

Inevitably Treorchy gifted Gilfach their best attacking opportunity of the half as a charged down clearance kick resulted in an attacking scrum five metres out.  But as an example of the exceptional commitment shown by the whole Treorchy team in an otherwise hamstrung first half performance, scrum half Lee Stone produced a superb enveloping tackle as the Gilfach number eight drove over the line, denying him the opportunity to ground the ball for the score.  From the second scrum five, Treorchy’s defence again held out the home side in the shadow of their posts and ironically won a penalty to go into half time just three points down 9-6.

After such a poor first half, the three point deficit would have seemed like a get out of jail free card given the Zebras had 40 minutes to make use of the slope, but within five minutes of the restart Gilfach had increased their lead with a fourth penalty and then the opening try of the match as the impressive outside Gareth Walters found a gaping hole in the visitors defence before feeding centre Adam Rees for the score.  Inexplicably the conversion was missed from in front of the posts, but at 17-6 Treorchy were facing an uphill task.

Treorchy, despite their youth, are made of stern stuff and led by captain Jamie Summers, forced to play out of position at loose head prop, they began the comeback as a home scrum was demolished by the make shift Zebra front row to give Ashton a simple third penalty on the hour mark.  Gilfach responded with a penalty of their own ten minutes, but the space the Treorchy backs were beginning to find as the disciplined Gilfach defence began to tire finally paid dividends as with the game heading into the final minutes of the match Peter Hutchings side stepped his way over for a converted try beneath the posts to reduce the score to 20-16 in Gilfach’s favour.

With the referee indicating that there were four minutes remaining, Treorchy were not content with a losing bonus point and from the restart created space for the outside backs, but the long pass was dropped and claimed by the home side deep In the Treorchy twenty-two and a couple of phases later the outside half Gareth Walters dived over in the corner to seal the win and rob the Zebras of their hard earned and deserved bonus point.

Treorchy will look to build upon the very many positives of this disappointing performance when they face Abercynon at the Oval next Saturday in what promises to be another bruising encounter.

Treorchy:  15 Andrew Mallin (Rep: Gareth Fear), 14 Chris Clayton, 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Jamie John, 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Celyn Ashton, 9 Lee Stone.  1 Jamie Summers (Capt), 2 Gafyn Lazarus, 3 Chris John, 4 Damon Filmer, 5 Gareth Barker (Rep: Nathan Gough), 6 Daniel Thorne, 7 Wayne Davies, 8 Vernon Lloyd (Rep: Rhodri Jones) 

Try:                  Peter Hutchings
Conversion:      Celyn Ashton
Penalties:         Celyn Ashton (3)

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Treorchy 35 - 12 Newport Saracens

The Oval, 3rd October 2009 (report by Carl Spiller)

Treorchy moved top of Swalec Division Two East with a third bonus point win on the bounce against visitors Newport Saracens at the Oval last Saturday.

Playing with the wind in the first half Treorchy raced into an early 13 point lead courtesy of two penalties from the boot of outside half Celyn Ashton and a converted try by Zebras captain Jamie Summers, who smartly took advantage as the visitors turned their back on a penalty just five metres out.  The visitors responded after fifteen minutes with an unconverted try of their own as they gained a foothold in the home side’s twenty-two for the first time as Treorchy found the powerful Sarries rolling maul too much to handle and hooker Paul Loader was the recipient of the five points.  Treorchy stretched their lead to 16-5 as Ashton added a third penalty, but with the sometimes powerful wind at their backs, they would have known that a lead of 11 points was borderline, but on the stroke of halftime they opened up the lead the wind advantage required as a smart back move fed wing Peter Hutchings into space and he calmly drew the full back before feeding centre Trystan Lazarus for the score which Ashton converted.

Despite being 23-5 to the good, Treorchy knew that the game was far from over and Sarries registered the first score of the second half as number eight Robbie Madden galloped over for a converted try as he picked up route one ball from a five metre scrum, catching the Treorchy defence off guard. Treorchy responded almost immediately following a half break from powerful wing Chris Clayton.  A few phases later an excellently weighted grubber kick from Ashton took advantage of the onrushing defence and thanks to a kindly bounce, full back Andrew Mallin scored the Zebras third try.  Ashton narrowly failed with the conversion as Treorchy pushed out into a 28-12 lead.

With the Treorchy pack putting in yet another fine and robust performance, with the excellent Gareth Barker prominent in the loose and Daniel Thorne impressive in the line out, Sarries found it difficult to reduce the arrears further as Treorchy weathered some extended spells of Sarries pressure in Treorchy territory to strike back with the try of the match, snatching the bonus point in the process.  The try looked a distant possibility as a set back move on the Treorchy ten metre line was slipped inside to the already galloping Clayton and he proceeded to burst through two tackles before hitting open space.  Using centre Lazarus as a decoy he then dummied the full back to sprint over for a sensational score.  Ashton added the extras to push Treorchy out into an unassailable lead 35-12 with just over ten minutes to go.  As in previous weeks, Treorchy managed to make life difficult for themselves as replacement flanker Vernon Lloyd was shown the yellow card for dragging down a rolling maul close to the Treorchy line, but despite the man reduction, young prop Chris John took the opportunity to underline his credentials by destroying his opposite number at the resulting attacking scrum to secure the penalty and the points. 

Next week the Zebras travel to Gilfach Goch for what promises to be another tight contest.

Treorchy:  15 Andrew Mallin, 14 Chris Clayton, 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Jamie John, 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Celyn Ashton, 9 Lee Stone.  1 Chris John, 2 Gafyn Lazarus, 3 Shaun Green, 4 Kyle Evans (Rep: Damon Filmer), 5 Gareth Barker, 6 Daniel Thorne (Rep: Vernon Lloyd), 7 Rhodri Jones, 8 Jamie Summers (Capt)

Tries:               Jamie Summers, Trystan Lazarus, Chris Clayton, Andrew Mallin
Conversions:    Celyn Ashton (3)
Penalties:         Celyn Ashton (3)

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Garndiffaith 23 - 47 Treorchy

The Tump, Lasgarn View, Garndiffaith, 26th September 2009
(report by Carl Spiller)

Treorchy recorded their first away win of the season with a comfortable six try defeat over Garndiffaith last Saturday and moved to second place in Division Two East.

Both sides exchanged early penalties before Treorchy scored the opening try courtesy of a delicate grubber kick from outside half Celyn Ashton which was smartly gathered by centre Adam John after an impressive rolling maul from the Treorchy pack had driven the ball to within five metres of the line.  Ashton added the extras.  Despite dominating the ruck area and edging the scrum contest despite the continued use of hooker Shaun Green out of position at tight head, Treorchy's discipline continues to be a concern as the home side were allowed to keep in touch as further penalties were exchanged before a third Garndiffaith penalty was answered with a crisp drop goal from Ashton in a physical opening half hour as Treorchy led 16-9.  Five minutes before half time, Treorchy extended their lead as Trystan Lazarus picked up his 5th try of the season as the home side's noticeably smaller back division were unable to stop the centre escaping a routine tackle to dot down near the post.  Ashton added the extras and on the stroke of half time, replacement wing Chris Clayton scored with virtually his first touch as he showed tremendous power and strength to break a number of tackles as he ran in from near half way.  Ashton failed with the conversion but the half time whistle was blown with Treorchy almost out of sight 28-9.

That lead was extended to 42-9 within ten minutes of the restart as Treorchy registered two further tries as first Trystan Lazarus picked up his second try of the match and 6th of the season in just the fourth match of the season as a set back move from a scrum deep in home territory was fed to full back Andrew Mallin who broke the first tackle before feeding Lazarus to dive under the posts.  Ashton again added the extras and added a fourth conversion five minutes later following a break from dynamic number eight Rhodri Jones fed Mallin who broke clear courtesy of an excellent side step before feeding the excellent flanker Wayne Davies who galloped over from just outside the twenty-two.

With the match over, Garndiffaith suddenly sprang back to life helped somewhat by Treorchy receiving two yellow cards in quick succession, Wayne Davies receiving his ten minutes for stopping quick ball at a ruck in a rare Garn foray into the Treorchy twenty two and the second to Vernon Lloyd for not retreating the necessary ten metres as a penalty was quickly taken.  Garndiffaith registered their first try prior to the yellow cards courtesy of some lax tackling from the visitors.  And after the yellow cards, Garndiffaith made use of the depleted Treorchy back row as the home side's scrum half threw a dummy from off the top ball line out ball in the Treorchy twenty two to run over unopposed.  With both tries converted, Garndiffaith added some respectability to the score line at 23-42, but Treorchy had the final word as they clocked up their 6th try of the day courtesy of tight head prop Shaun Green who showed tremendous energy on a beautiful hot sunny day to be in support as an excellent run from winger Peter Hutchings broke the first line of defence.  Green was on hand to take the offload as Hutchings was tackled and sprinted over from 25 metres for his second try of the season.  The conversion was missed, but the referee blew for time with Treorchy comfortable 47 points to 23 winners and with each passing game start to look more and more like they could put together a second promotion push in as many seasons. 

Next week the Zebras welcome Newport Saracens to the Oval in what promises to be another tight contest following Saracens win over former division leaders Ynysybwl on Saturday.

Treorchy:  15 Andrew Mallin, 14 Craig Payne (rep: Chris Clayton), 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Adam John, 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Celyn Ashton, 9 Lee Stone.  1 Chris John, 2 Gafyn Lazarus, 3 Shaun Green, 4 Damon Filmer (Rep: Gareth Barker), 5 Jamie Summers (Capt), 6 D Vernon Lloyd, 7 Wayne Davies (rep: Ben Hughes), 8 Rhodri Jones (rep: Kyle Evans).

Tries:               Trystan Lazarus (2), Chris Clayton, Adam John, Wayne Davies, Shaun Green
Conversions:    Celyn Ashton (4)
Penalties:         Celyn Ashton (2)
Drop Goals:     Celyn Ashton

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Treorchy 41 - 14 Rhydyfelin

The Oval, 19th September 2009
(report by Carl Spiller)

Following the disappointing away defeat to Llantrisant the week before, Treorchy got their season back on track with a fine bonus point victory over visitors Rhydyfelin last Saturday at the Oval.

Rhydyfelin opened the scoring as they exerted some pressure at an early scrum, but Treorchy responded immediately as they chose to kick to the corner when faced with a penalty in the Rhydyfelin twenty-two.  The initial catch and drive was repelled, but from the resulting scrum, outside centre Trystan Lazarus gained himself just enough space to dot down near the posts for the five points with outside half Celyn Ashton added the extras.

Rhydyfelin, however, were winning the kicking contest and as a result, were dominating the territory and responded with a try of their own on the 24 minute mark as the lively centre Dylan Hughes broke a first up tackle before putting the powerful left wing Gavin Close in for the try.  From the touchline the conversion was missed and within a few minutes Treorchy had regained the lead from a penalty just inside the Rhydyfelin half by Ashton.  In a scrappy first half littered with the fussy referee's whistle, Rhydyfelin finished the strongest and added two further penalties as the whistle blew with the visitors leading 14-10.

What was looking to be a tight game, was blown open in the space of two early second half minutes as Lazarus added two further tries to complete his hat-trick in double quick time.  His second came courtesy of a delicate chip from Ashton after a prolonged spell of possession deep in the Rhydyfelin half had been competently repelled by the visitors defence and his third the result of some indecisive play by the Rhydyfelin back three.  From the kick off and inside his own half Ashton unleashed a huge punt that ran and bounced just short of the visitors try line.  The excellent Treorchy chase were able to exert enough pressure against a hesitant Rhydyfelin with half an eye on counter attacking and the resulting clearance kick failed to make touch falling nicely in into the arms of prop Chris John who headed for the line from just outside the visitors twenty-two.  A couple more pick and drives got the Zebras to within five metres before the ball was eventually spun wide and Lazarus again found enough space to allow his pace to get him round for his hat trick.  With Ashton adding the extras for both tries, Treorchy stretched out into a 24-14 lead.
   
Despite the success they achieved in the first half via their kicking game, Rhydyfelin now chose to run the ball at every opportunity, including taking quick tap penalties on their own line rather than gain some territory.  Despite the best intentions of the excellent Hughes in the centre, who found gaps with his quick feet and was a constant thorn in Treorchy's side, the visitors made little headroom coughing up possession cheaply.  With Treorchy dominating the territory, the visitors were forced to play for ten minutes with 14 men when the ref took exception to flanker Sam Evans failure to retreat the necessary ten as Treorchy captain Jamie Summers rampaged towards the line after taking a quick tap.  That opportunity was missed and a minute later the referee levelled up the numbers by sending Treorchy centre Jamie John to the sin bin for doing the exact same thing, albeit deep in the Rhydyfelin twenty-two.  And things got worse for the home side as flanker Daniel Thorne was also yellow carded for what the referee indicated was a punch a minute later.  To accommodate, Treorchy moved replacement flanker Wayne Davies onto the wing leaving the pack short as 6 competed against 7.  However, this seemed to make no impact at scrum time as Treorchy picked up their fourth try as the visitors were unable to keep a solid base with scrum half Gareth Fear picking up the loose ball and diving over from short range.  The destructive scrum coming courtesy of the young front row Chris John, Gafyn Lazarus, while Shaun Green continues to impress out of position at tight head prop.  Ashton again added the extras as Treorchy edged out into a commanding 31-14 lead with fifteen minutes to play.

From a similar position, Treorchy had managed to let the points slip the week before in a horror show away to Llantrisant, but this week they were in no mood to repeat the trick and Celyn Ashton added a second penalty with five minutes remaining to give Treorchy a 20 point lead.  With the points secure, the Zebras afternoon was spoiled by a red card to Chris John for an incident at a scrum which left his opposite number down in need of treatment.  However, those present will have noted the unedifying sight of the injured player springing to his feet in order to mock John after the red card had been administered.  It will remain to be seen whether the referee will have changed his interpretation and severity of the incident following that particularly unsavoury incident.

There was time enough for one final sting in the tail as Treorchy again scored when a man light as Jamie John grabbed his first try of the season and his side's fifth as he gathered the ball from a chip into space from Ashton who again added the extras in a strong personal showing in which he became the Zebras leading point scorer of all time, overtaking David Evans in the process.
  
The final whistle blew on a comfortable 41-14 win and next week Treorchy travel to Garndiffaith as they continue their excellent start to the season in Division Two East.

Treorchy:  15 Andrew Mallin, 14 Craig Payne, 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Jamie John, 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Celyn Ashton, 9 Gareth Fear (Rep: Lee Stone).  1 Chris John, 2 Gafyn Lazarus, 3 Shaun Green, 4 Damon Filmer (Rep: Kyle Evans), 5 Gareth Barker, 6 Daniel Thorne (Rep: V Lloyd), 7 Ben Hughes (Rep: Wayne Davies), 8 Jamie Summers (C).

Tries:               Trystan Lazarus (3), Gareth Fear, Jamie John
Conversions:     Celyn Ashton (5)
Penalties:         Celyn Ashton (2)

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Llantrisant 33 - 26 Treorchy

Llantrisant, 12th September 2009
(report by Carl Spiller)

Following last week's hard fought win over Brynmawr, Treorchy slipped to their first defeat of the season away to Llantrisant in dramatic circumstances as they conceded four tries in the final twelve minutes.

Playing up the hill in the first half Treorchy opened the scoring within five minutes with a try from prop Shaun Green from a rolling line out following a break from centre Trystan Lazarus.  In a tight abrasive half of rugby, Llantrisant responded with two penalties to take the lead at half time as both teams took a well earned breather in the now seasonal September sun.

Within minutes of the restart, Treorchy looked to have made a telling psychological blow as captain and number eight Jamie Summers scored the Zebras second try from a pushover try, despite Treorchy being forced to field hooker Shaun Green in the tight head position due to injuries.  Outside half Celyn Ashton slotted over the extras as the visitors edged into a 12-6 lead, but Llantrisant responded to the push over try, by slowly gaining the edge at the scrum contest, to add to their exemplary line out and their physicality at the ruck area and began to squeeze Treorchy back into their own territory.  However, on 55 minutes a hopeful kick and chase from Peter Hutchings bounced perfectly for the winger on the hard surface and he was able to gallop away to score under the posts.  Ashton added the extras as Treorchy pulled out to a 19-6 lead.
                  
Again Llantrisant responded and were rewarded with a try of their own five minutes later following a sustained period of patient pick and drives on the Treorchy line.  The conversion was missed as Treorchy maintained a healthy lead at 19-11.  Five minutes later, Treorchy snatched the try bonus point as the home side's back three again allowed a hopeful kick to bounce and centre Lazarus benefited with his side's fourth try, albeit injuring his knee in the process.  Ashton added the extras as Treorchy looked unassailable at 26-11 with fifteen minutes to go.  Llantrisant had other ideas and on 70 minutes they registered their second try, again from close range with the referee and played advantage for an infringement.  The conversion was again missed, but Treorchy prop Green picked up the game's third yellow card (one from each side previously) for persistent infringing following the try.

Instead of restarting the game, Llantrisant were awarded a penalty on halfway and Treorchy were immediately forced back into their own 22 where the impressive home rolling line out registered the team third's try.  Suddenly from a comfortable position, Treorchy were under pressure just five points clear and with a man down.  The conversion again missed, but things got worse.  From the kick off, a turnover on half way and a quick transference to the space on the flanks saw the home side away to register their fourth try of the afternoon and the third in three minutes!  With the scores tied, this time the conversion was added from the touchline as Llantrisant took a sensational lead as the game slipped into the final few minutes.  Just two points down, Treorchy still an opportunity to gain the spoils, but a mixture of excellent Llantrisant defence and a lack of composure in attempting to run the ball from beneath their own posts gifted the home side field position and with the final act of the game, they duly scored their fifth try courtesy of a neat chip into space and a defending fumble allowing the home side to dive on the ball.  The conversion was again missed, but the referee blew for time in an incredible game of rugby with Llantrisant picking up the bonus point, while Treorchy had to settle for the two losing bonus points courtesy of four tries and losing within 7 points. 

Next week, the Zebras are home to Rhydyfelin where they will look to get over the disappointment of letting the win slip from their fingers.

Treorchy:  15 Lee Stone, 14 Andrew Mallin, 13 Trystan Lazarus (rep: Steffan Jones), 12 Adam John, 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Celyn Ashton, 9 Gareth Fear.  1 Chris John, 2 Gafyn Lazarus, 3 Shaun Green, 4 Gareth Barker (rep: Kyle Evans), 5 Daniel Thorne, 6 Vernon Lloyd (rep: Damon Filmer), 7 Wayne Davies, 8 Jamie Summers (Capt)

Tries:               Shaun Green, Peter Hutchings, Trystan Lazarus, Jamie Summers
Conversions:    Celyn Ashton (3)

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Treorchy 23 - 16 Brynmawr

The Oval, 5th September 2009
(report by Gary Spiller)

Treorchy’s first game since promotion to Division 2 underlined the huge step up in standard.  Last season Treorchy would’ve won this game with ease, but the extra physicality came as a shock to the young Zebras as they went into the interval trailing their more experienced Gwent rivals by 7 points.

Brynmawr with the strong wind at their backs opened the scoring after 30 minutes from the boot of M Jordan before the restart led to the first try for he visitors.  A midfield bomb wasn’t gathered by Treorchy and the bouncing ball was gratefully received by the visitors, and although Gareth Fear pulled off a try saving tackle N Preece in support was able to dive over under the posts.  Treorchy did manage something for their endeavour when Celyn Ashton cut the deficit to 10 -3 just before halftime.
         
The second half started with Brynmawr controlling possession into the wind and their confidence was misplaced when a move was anticipated by Treorchy wing Peter Hutchings, who intercepted and ran 70 metres for the score which was brilliantly converted from the touchline by Ashton to level the scores.  Brynmawr though composed themselves and again controlled play with two penalties from M Jordan lifting their lead to 16 – 10 before Treorchy found some resolve and Ashton responded with two penalties of his own, levelling the game with 10 minutes left.

Treorchy, now the stronger side won a lineout in Brynmawr territory, before some deft hands put Trystan Lazarus through a hole before passing to fellow centre Adam John who was agonisingly held up inches short.  There was no stopping scrumhalf Fear though as he barged over from the ruck.  Ashton converted to stretch the lead and complete another faultless performance.

With time ticking away Treorchy were able to control the ball and hold out for a win and the best possible start to life in Division 2.  Life doesn’t get any easier though as Treorchy travel away to Llantrisant this Saturday.

Treorchy:  15 Lee Stone, 14 Andrew Mallin, 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Adam John, 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Celyn Ashton, 9 Gareth Fear.  1 Vernon Lloyd, 2 Shaun Green, 3 Gareth Barker,  4 Wayne Davies, 5 Kyle Evans, 6 Daniel Thorne, 7 Ben Hughes, 8 Jamie Summers (Capt)

Tries:              Peter Hutchings, Gareth Fear
Conversions:    Celyn Ashton (2)
Penalties:        Celyn Ashton (3)

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