Treorchy RFC

The Zebras

Llanharan 39-30 Treorchy

Llanharan, 30th April 2011

Treorchy:
15 Lee Stone, 14 Ryan Evans, 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Celyn Ashton, 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Julian Huntley, 9 Steffan Jones; 1 Chris John, 2 Shaun Green, 3 Rhys Gillard, 4 Jamie Summers (capt), 5 Andrew Harris, 6 Daniel Thorne, 7 Ben Hughes, 8 Wayne Davies

Replacements used: Jordan Lloyd, Robert Jones, Gafyn Lazarus, Simon Collins, Daniel Waldin

Tries:               Jamie Summers, Julian Huntley, Ben Hughes
Conversions:   Celyn Ashton (3)
Penalties:        Celyn Ashton (3)

Treorchy 7-34 Merthyr

The Oval, 27th April 2011

Treorchy:
15 Julian Huntley, 14 Ryan Howells, 13 Andrew Mallin, 12 Trystan Lazarus, 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Jordan Lloyd, 9 Steffan Jones; 1 Chris John, 2 Gafyn Lazarus, 3 Robert Jones, 4 Charles Stevenson, 5 Damon Filmer, 6 Daniel Thorne, 7 Rhodri Jones, 8 Jamie Summers (capt),

Replacements used: Rhys Gillard, Steve James, Shaun Green, Ben Hughes, Gareth Fear

Try:             Rhodri Jones
Conversion: Jordan Lloyd

Ystrad Rhondda 33-9 Treorchy

Gelligaled Park, 23rd April 2011 (report by Carl Spiller)

Treorchy and Ystrad played out a competitive but ultimately one sided Division One East fixture last Saturday.

With relegation now out of the players hands, as the WRU consider a league restructure, Ystrad had only pride to play for at home against the Zebras who had comfortably run out winners earlier in the season at the Oval and who had confirmed their own survival two weeks previously.

In a niggly contest which saw three yellow cards, Treorchy opened a six point lead courtesy of penalties from the boot of outside half Celyn Ashton before Ystrad struck back with a penalty from the home outside half Dylan Jones.

With the Ystrad back row hugely effective at the breakdown and the home side also managing to neutralise Treorchy's ball carriers, the game was threatening to turn into a attritional forward contest. However in former Rhydfelin full back David Gratton, Ystrad had a potent attacking
weapon and he duly delivered topping his impressive performances against the Zebras last season to register an outstanding hat trick and very nearly adding a fourth in a blistering 20 minute spell either side of half time.

The first try came courtesy of a turn over deep in Ystrad territory following a break out of defence from Treorchy. With the bulk of Treorchy's pack still behind the play, Ystrad winger Andrew Hutchings found himself in acres of space but had Gratton on hand to score beneath
the posts as he was closed down just outside the Treorchy twenty two.

After Jones successfully converted Gratton then showcased his skills with a break and inch perfect chip ahead to beat the covering defence to score a stunning solo try on the cusp of half time.

With Ystrad struggling in front of goal, a penalty a piece from Ashton and Jones left the score 18-9 at half time.

Within seconds of the second half resumption Gratton completed his hat-trick as he gathered an expertly placed chip from Jones and superbly rounded full back Andrew Mallin to score.

With the conversion unsuccessful, Treorchy found themselves trailing 23-9 and with a mountain to climb.  They responded superbly to the challenge but found the Ystrad defence in no mood to entertain a comeback as they managed to deny the visitors a try by holding the ball up over the line not once but twice.  Treorchy were also guilty of some profligacy as they knocked the ball on twice five metres out and butchered a glaring two on one move. In addition winger Ryan Howells was unfortunate that his own solo break and chip went unrewarded as the ball just bounced dead before he could dot it down for the score.

To emphasise the contrasting clinicalness, Ystrad then claimed the bonus point try after a lengthy spell in defence as winger Daniel Phillips ran in unaposed following a break from the impressive back rower Steffan King.  The conversion was added and to knock the final nail in the Zebras coffin Gratton added a penalty in the final minute to consign the visitors to a disappointing 33-9 defeat.

Treorchy play Merthyr on Wednesday evening in their final home fixture before they conclude what has been a season of fluctuating fortunes when the travel to Llanharan on Saturday.

Treorchy: 15 Andrew Mallin, 14 Ryan Howells, 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Richie Lewis,11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Celyn Ashton, 9 Gareth Fear; 1 Chris John, 2 Shaun Green, 3 Simon Collins, 4 Jamie Summers (capt), 5 Daniel Thorne, 6 Damon Filmer, 7 Rhodri Jones, 8 Craig Everett

Replacements used: 
Robert Jones, Gafyn Lazarus, Rhys Gillard, Steve James, Chris Harris

Penalties:        Celyn Ashton (3)

Treorchy 20-20 Bargoed

The Oval, 9th April 2011 (Report by Carl Spiller)

In glorious end of season weather Treorchy extended their unbeaten run to three games in a hard fought Division One East contest at home to Bargoed last Saturday.

With the strong breeze blowing up the valley, the Zebras opened the scoring from wing Peter Hutchings who found just enough space an inside pass within the visitors twenty-two to get over the line.

Against the wind, Bargoed struggled for both possession and territory, but capitalised on some poor discipline from the home side to reduce the arrears to a single point courtesy of two penalties from outside half Jamie Howells and on the half hour the visitors took the lead courtesy of a solo run from dynamic winger Chris Mapps.  The winger appeared to step out of play in the lead up, but showed an excellent turn of pace and a strong sidestep to break the defensive line to score beneath the posts.  From 7-0 down, Bargoed had suddenly raced into a 13-7 lead despite facing the wind and a shortage of possession.

Treorchy responded with a second try of their own from Peter Hutchings as Treorchy exploited a rare chink in the visitor’s defence following a turn over on half way. Steve James and Rhodri Jones combined well to exploit the extra space to put Hutchings away for the try beneath the posts that James converted. With a point lead Treorchy declined a penalty opportunity in the closing minutes of the half in the attempt to increase their half time advantage, but the powerful and disciplined visitors defence, led by a strong team performance at the tackle area, saw the half out without further alarm.

Despite facing the elements in the second half, Treorchy continued to hold the advantage in terms of possession but continued, on a day of poor skill levels, to break down the Bargoed defence who seemed for the most part comfortable without the ball.

With twenty minutes remaining centre Trystan Lazarus looked to have registered Treorchy's third try only for the referee to disallow it for a knock on when it appeared that Lazarus had salvaged his initial fumble before the ball had hit the ground.  Treorchy erased the disappointment as replacement outside Celyn Ashton slotted over two excellent touchline penalties from opposite sides to stretch the lead to seven points as the game moved into the final ten minutes.

Despite a shortage of good attacking ball, Bargoed did carry a threat and winger Mapps registered his second try as he broke clear from a flat inside pass near a midfield ruck.  Howells added the easy extras from beneath the posts and with the momentum with Bargoed, they should have snatched a late win as they pressurised the Treorchy line, but a knock on over the line rescued a deserved share of the points for the home side as the whistle blew on a 20-20 draw.

With news of Ystrad's defeat to Newbridge, Treorchy's league survival is now confirmed and they can look forward to the remaining fixtures without the added pressure of survival - starting with an interesting fixture away to Ystrad on the 23rd April.

Treorchy: 15Andrew Mallin, 14 Chris Harris, 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Richie Lewis,11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Steve James, 9 Gareth Fear; 1 Chris John, 2 Shaun Green, 3 Simon Collins, 4 Charles Stevenson, 5 Rhodri Jones, 6 Damon Filmer, 7 Ben Hughes, 8 Jamie Summers (capt)

Replacements used: 
Robert Jones, Daniel John, Celyn Ashton, Gafyn Lazarus, Daniel Waldin

Tries:               Peter Hutchings (2)
Conversions:   Steve James (2)
Penalties:        Celyn Ashton (2)

Merthyr 18-22 Treorchy

The Wern, 2nd April 2011 (report by Carl Spiller)


Treorchy's season took yet another twist as they produced a performance full of skill and character to shock home side Merthyr and record their second consecutive win on Saturday in Swalec Division One East.

Merthyr started strongly as Treorchy struggled to contain the home side’s highly effective ball carriers and they duly opened the scoring via winger Malachy Mullins courtesy of a half break from the sharp outside half Neil Burnett.

With the wind at their back, Treorchy carried a threat throughout the first half, but were guilty of failing to capitalise on a couple of half opportunities and the home side, who were also guilty of some missed opportunities, eventually made the visitors pay as number eight Alwyn Lee registered the second try of the game five minutes short of half time.

At 10-0 down and the wind to play into in the second half, things were looking grim for the Zebras but a stunning five minute spell reignited the contest as first Peter Hutchings benefited from a break from centre Trystan Lazarus who exploited a gaping hole in midfield left courtesy of a misread miss pass. Then on the cusp of half time, the home defence failed to spot Hutchings unmarked on the blind side touchline and after an inside pass to supporting full back Andrew Mallin who in turn fed hooker Shaun Green for the try. With Jordan Lloyd recording the first successful conversion of the afternoon, Treorchy took an unexpected 12-10 lead into half time.

Merthyr responded from the kick off with a second try from winger Mullins as he trotted over unopposed following an eight, nine move from a scrum exploited the absence of Zebra scrum half Gareth Fear who had moments earlier received a yellow card for a goal-line infringement.  The conversion was again missed to leave Treorchy still in touch trailing just 12-15.

Another defeat would have lined up a tense decider away to fellow relegation strugglers Ystrad on the 23rd April, but in a hard season for a Treorchy team who have shown glimpses all season of the what they are capable of, they have also shown their capacity to dig deep and they again showed why they had gained consecutive promotions by producing a second half performance full of character and endeavour to play some of their best running rugby of the season. 

With Fear and Peter Hutchings proving a constant threat, they stretched the home side’s defence and were unfortunate not to retake the lead on a number of occasions as centre Lazarus just failed to gather a chip ahead following yet another break, this time from replacement outside half Steve James, and moments later Andrew Mallin was put through a gap only to be tackled just short.  Some back chat as the ref awarded a scrum instead of a penalty allowed Merthyr to clear their lines and a second penalty for yet more chat following a quickly taken drop out allowed the home side to increase their lead from the boot of Burnett.

In a second half where Merthyr were more intent on keeping the ball in hand and registering the bonus point try than utilising the wind advantage and first securing the win, it was beginning to look like Treorchy’s profligacy would allow them to hold on for the win, but a penalty from the boot of James reduced the arrears back to three points as the game entered the final five minutes. 

The decision to go for the penalty appeared at first to be an attempt to secure the losing bonus point but it could have also been an attempt to make a conversion unnecessary and so it proved as Treorchy showed no signs of closing up shop working their way into Merthyr territory for a final time where Lazarus arced his way around his opposite number before feeding full back Mallin for the try beneath the posts.  James added the extras as the whistle was immediately blew for time sparking celebrations amongst the players who had thoroughly deserved their 22-18 victory.

Next week Treorchy face Bargoed at the Oval with a healthy gap now forming between the Zebras and the relegation zone.

Treorchy: 15 Andrew Mallin, 14 Chris Harris, 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Richie Lewis,11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Jordan Lloyd, 9 Gareth Fear; 1 Jamie Summers (capt), 2 Shaun Green, 3 Simon Collins, 4 Charles Stevenson, 5 Rhodri Jones, 6 Damon Filmer, 7 Ben Hughes, 8 Wayne Davies

Replacements used: Daniel Thorne, Steffan Jones, Steve James

Tries:               Peter Hutchings, Shaun Green, Andrew Mallin
Conversions:    Jordan Lloyd, Steve James
Penalty:           Steve James

Treorchy 24-20 Bedlinog

The Oval, 27th March 2011

Treorchy: 15 Celyn Ashton, 14 Chris Harris, 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Richie Lewis,11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Steve James, 9 Steffan Jones; 1 Chris John, 2 Gafyn Lazarus, 3 Simon Collins, 4 Charles Stevenson, 5 Kyle Evans, 6 Wayne Davies, 7 Rhodri Jones, 8 Jamie Summers (capt)

Replacements used: 
Shaun Green, Robert Jones, Damon Filmer, Andrew Mallin, Daniel John

Tries:               Andrew Mallin, Chris Harris, Peter Hutchings
Conversions:    Steve James (3)
Penalty:           Steve James

Ebbw Vale 62-12 Treorchy

Eugene Cross Park, 19th March 2011 (report by Carl Spiller)

Treorchy slipped to a comprehensive defeat away to second placed Ebbw Vale at Eugene Cross Park last Saturday in a Swalec Division One East fixture.

After a disappointing result away to Blackwood last time out Treorchy started in similarly disappointing fashion with three mistakes inside the first 60 seconds gifting the home side field position, but a strong defence restricted Ebbw to two penalties from the boot of outside half Dorian Jones in a competitive opening twenty minutes and in their first possession in the Ebbw twenty-two looked to have registered the first try of the match only for it to be harshly disallowed for obstruction as scrum half Daniel John stepped his way through a gap on the fringe of a ruck. Within two minutes Ebbw had compounded the decision by increasing their lead with a try from full back Sam Collins as a poor clearance kick was run back, Collins benefiting from a neat chip over the defensive line.

Treorchy responded with a break from their own half which almost ended with a try in the right corner, but as in the Beddau home game failed to make the break count as the ball was knocked on just short of the line.

With Treorchy defence holding firm, superbly led by captain Jamie Summers, and half time approaching and the opportunity to play with the wind in the second half, a 13 to nil deficit was not as bad as it seemed and the contest was still on.  However, two tries in injury time from a strong Ebbw Vale side killed the game stone dead. The first try came courtesy of a penalty try as Treorchy collapsed a rolling maul. The penalty seemed justified, but given the maul was still five metres from the line, had more ground to the line than the maul had already made and was Treorchy’s first offence on their own line, the decision looked a little hasty and would have been a little galling for the visitors given the earlier decision to chalk off a try of their own. And to complete a spell Ebbw collected their third try from winger Wes Cunliffe as a flowing move resulted in the visitors defence stretched allowed Cunliffe to step inside and go over the beneath the posts.

Within three minutes of the restart Ebbw Vale added their bonus point try as the referee again chose to award a second penalty try, again for a first offence and with the home side still short of the line in a refereeing performance as uncompromising as the Ebbw forwards at the ruck area.

Ebbw collected two more tries as the visibly tiring Treorchy side began to fall off tackles but on the hour Rhodri Jones continued his excellent season with a try to open the visitors account as he scored in the corner after a neat step.

Ebbw responded with a try from replacement centre Andrew Bevan following an offload in midfield but Treorchy then responded with arguably the try of the match as Rhodri Jones executed a clean turnover from a ruck inside his own twenty-two allowing scrum half John the time and space to gallop away and after a couple of sharp side steps fed replacement outside half Jordan Lloyd who ran in for the score from the half time line.

The try scoring was still no over though as under pressure on his own line that man Jones again made a clean break from a line out before kicking the ball ahead only for Collins to field the ball just ahead of Jones.  Collins then ran the ball back which eventually led to second row Ashley Sweet dotting down for Ebbw’s eighth and final try. With the immaculate Dorian Jones registering an 100% afternoon with the boot, the final whistle blew on a comprehensive 62-12 defeat.

Treorchy will need to wipe away the disappointment of their recent run of results as they entertain Belinog to the Oval next Saturday afternoon in a key bottom of the table clash.

Treorchy: 15 Lee Stone, 14 Chris Harris, 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Celyn Ashton,11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Steve James, 9 Daniel John; 1 Chris John, 2 Shaun Green, 3 Rhys Gillard, 4 Kyle Evans, 5 Rhodri Jones, 6 Damon Filmer, 7 Wayne Davies, 8 Jamie Summers (capt)

Replacements used: 
Simon Collins, Charles Stevenson, Jordan Lloyd, Robert Jones, Ben Hughes

Tries:           Rhodri Jones, Jordan Lloyd
Conversion: Celyn Ashton

 

Blackwood 42-17 Treorchy

Blackwood, 11th March 2011

Treorchy: 15 Celyn Ashton, 14 Andrew Mallin, 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Richie Lewis,11 Daniel John, 10 Steve James, 9 Steffan Jones; 1 Chris John, 2 Gafyn Lazarus, 3 Robert Jones, 4 Jamie Summers (capt), 5 Gareth Barker, 6 Kyle Evans, 7 Rhodri Jones, 8 Charles Stevenson

Replacements used: 
Shaun Green, Wayne Davies, Damon Filmer, Peter Hutchings, Gareth Fear

Try:                Steve James
Penalties:      Celyn Ashton (4)

Treorchy 23-35 Beddau

The Oval, 5th March 2011 (report by Carl Spiller)

Treorchy slipped to a frustrating defeat at home to Beddau in an unpredictable and fluctuating contest last Saturday.

Playing into the teeth of the wind in the first half, it was Treorchy who opened the scoring from Captain Jamie Summers as Beddau were unprepared for his quickly tapped penalty following an infringement at a ruck five metres out.

The conversion was missed into the win, but in an enterprising first half of rugby Treorchy broke the visitors line on half a dozen occasions with scrum half Gareth Fear lively and number eight Charles Stevenson powerful, Treorchy registered their second try after both teams had
exchanged penalties.  The try came courtesy of yet more casual defence from the visitors as Treorchy threatened to run away with the contest.  A mixture of good defence and some poor composure stopped the home side from capitalising and putting the game to bed before the half hour mark and in typical fashion, Treorchy then gifted the visitors territory in the final ten minutes of the first half and were fortunate to take a 13-6 lead into the break as Beddau converted just one of three late penalty opportunities.

Despite the now favourable wind, Treorchy had to ride out the opening ten minutes of the second half following a yellow card to back row forward Damon Filmer in the final moments of the first half.  But for the second game in a row conceded a try from the first passage of play
after returning to fifteen men as the increasingly influential Beddau scrum half Carl Thomas burst through a yawning gap in the home defence before feeding Glen Slater for the try.  The conversion levelled the scores before both teams again exchanged penalties to leave the score at 16 points apiece.

With 15 minutes remaining Treorchy looked to have sealed the win that their first half performance had seemed inevitable as second row Kyle Evans scored following an nifty show and go from replacement hooker Shaun Green had created the run in for Evans.

Even the most partisan of home supporters would have acknowledged a dominant second half performance from the visitors in which they controlled both possession and territory and following a couple of front row replacements also began to take control of the scrum and with seven minutes remaining the referee justly awarded a penalty try following a scrum five for the visitors.  The conversion levelling the scores again at 23-23.

With Carl Thomas dictating the point of attack from scrum half and his ball carriers all making yards, a winning score looked likely and it duly materialised as outside half Rhys Truelove suddenly skipped his way through a tiring home defence after yet more pressure in the Treorchy twenty-two. With Beddau on the rampage, a miserable second half was compounded as Beddau even wrestled away Treorchy's losing bonus point in the seventh minute of injury time as a flowing move saw Aaron Pinches over in the corner to secure the unlikeliest of bonus points for Beddau.

Treorchy: 15 Celyn Ashton, 14 Andrew Mallin, 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Richie Lewis,11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Steve James, 9 Gareth Fear; 1 Chris John, 2 Gafyn Lazarus, 3 Rhys Gillard, 4 Kyle Evans, 5 Jamie Summers (capt), 6 Damon Filmer, 7 Rhodri Jones, 8 Charles Stevenson

Replacements used: Gareth Barker, Wayne Davies, Shaun Green

Tries:             Jamie Summers, Rhys Gillard, Kyle Evans
Conversion:   Celyn Ashton
Penalties:      Celyn Ashton (2)

Treorchy 15-22 Newbridge

The Oval, 19th February 2011 (report by Carl Spiller)

Treorchy followed up their victory over Rumney last time out by picking up a hard earned losing bonus point on Saturday at home to league leaders Newbridge.

After a poor showing in the away fixture to the league leaders, Treorchy were looking to salvage some pride, but found life difficult against an efficient Newbridge team who were as effective without the ball as they were dangerous with it.

Despite a strong start from the visitors, Treorchy opened the scoring after seven minutes from the boot of outside half Steve James. Newbridge responded within five minutes with the game's opening try from back rower Gavin Knapp as he took an excellent angle off a short pass to barge his way over from ten metres out following some quick phases disrupted the Treorchy defence.  Full back Richard Powell added the easy conversion from beneath the posts and was adding a penalty a few minutes later following the third consecutive off side penalty following poorly placed up and unders.

And things appeared to be about to get worse as Zebra back rower Wayne Davies was yellow carded for a ruck infringement minutes later as Newbridge attacked with pace and precision.  Treorchy again demonstrated their spirit by not only repelling the kick to the corner as the
visitors turned down the easy three points on offer, but also reduced the arrears with a second penalty from the boot of James.  The young and exciting Bridge back line threatened throughout the first half and it was a clinical exploitation of space and numbers gave winger David James
a run in for the try as Treorchy were on the cusp of returning to full compliment.  With five minutes remaining, trailing 15-6 and playing into the wind, the game looked well set for a thrilling second half, but almost from the kick off (and with the Zebras back to 15) Newbridge ran in their third try as a blind side move from a scrum gifted winger Tom Watkins a run in for the try beneath the posts.

Despite being 22-6 down on the scoreboard, Treorchy started the second half strongly and following a powerful carry from captain Jamie Summers, the lead was cut to 22-9 courtesy of a third penalty from James.

In the first half Newbridge's pack had held a clear advantage at the contact area, producing excellent quick ball for their backs to exploit, while also slowing down the opposition ruck ball enough to allow their organised defence to snuff out any danger.  As the second half wore on
however, the hosts pack began to slowly gather momentum at the ruck in addition to a noticeable nudge at the scrums.  To compound the more even forward battle, the visitors back line went from clinical to clumsy as they produced an unexpectedly high number of unforced handling errors, most of which they executed in their own territory.  This allowed Treorchy the territorial advantage for the majority of the half, but they still found it difficult to break down the organised Newbridge defence and were guilty on a couple of occasions of not utilising numerical advantages with cut out passes.

A fourth Treorchy penalty, this time from the boot of centre Celyn Ashton, reduced the arrears to 22-12, but with the clock ticking into injury time, the visitors looked to have done enough to secure the win (although no doubt they would have expected more after registering three
first half tries), when Treorchy were awarded another penalty on the visitors ten metre line with the referee indicating final play.  With the win impossible, Ashton nervelessly slotted the penalty to secure the bonus point which their second half efforts deserved.  The win maintains Newbridge's position at the top of the division, while Treorchy welcome Beddau to the Oval on Saturday 5th March looking to continue to gather points in their push to escape the relegation places.

Treorchy: 15 Andrew Mallin, 14 Gareth Fear, 13 Trystan Lazarus, 12 Celyn Ashton,11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Steve James, 9 Steffan Jones; 1 Chris John, 2 Gafyn Lazarus, 3 Rhys Gillard, 4 Kyle Evans, 5 Gareth Barker, 6 Wayne Davies, 7 Rhodri Jones, 8 Jamie Summers (Capt)

Replacements used: Ben Hughes, Daniel John, Robert Jones, Richie Lewis, Charles Stevenson

Penalties:       Steve James (3), Celyn Ashton (2)

Rumney 12-14 Treorchy

Rumney, 5th February 2011 (report by Carl Spiller)

Treorchy chalked up their third win of the season in Swalec Division One East, and their first since September, in dramatic fashion last Saturday away to Rumney, in the process taking a significant step towards avoiding relegation.

With high winds blowing diagonally across the Riverside Park it was the visitors who had the advantage in the first half, but showed the clear signs of having played only three games in three months as the number of unforced errors and lack of cohesion proved a hindrance in breaking the Rumney defence down.  While the forward battle was a relatively even contest, it was Rumney’s slick backs who appeared to be holding the key to the outcome of the match as outside half Danny Clark orchestrated his backs well and it was Rumney who opened the scoring as said backs utilised their handling skills to open the scoring after 20 minutes courtesy of centre Wayne Dacruz who took a neat inside offload and showed enough pace to get to the line before the covering defence.  The conversion from out wide was narrowly missed and the extent of the wind was highlighted when Treorchy outside half Steve James, a late replacement for regular ten Celyn Ashton, slotted over a penalty from the angle inside his own half to reduce the arrears to 5-3 after half an hour.  And it was that wind that suddenly looked to be an even more significant factor as Rumney notched their second try on the stroke of halftime courtesy of wing Solomon Matthews who found himself in enough space from broken to play to showcase his speed to dot down for the try.  From beneath the posts Clark added the extras to push Rumney out into a sizeable 12-3 lead at the interval.

This season Treorchy have showcased their mental fortitude on a number of occasions, no more so than securing an unlikely draw away to Beddau with a patched up team.  But the hardy travelling supporters who chose to ignore the Six Nations on the television and the inclement weather outdoors, were treated to an impressive half of rugby from the Zebras who overturned the 12-3 deficit to record a well deserved and improbable win.  

From the kick off the Treorchy pack displayed a noticeable increase in intensity at the breakdown and were almost immediately rewarded as a powerful charge from number eight Craig Everett drove the Zebras into the Rumney twenty-two to earn a penalty beneath the posts.  Skipper Jamie Summers chose to ignore the three points and a couple of phases later tight head prop Rhys Gillard was held up over the line from the quick tap.  With the ref awarding a second penalty for failure to retreat the necessary ten from the first penalty Summers went again with the result the same as the Zebras were again held up, this time an attacking scrum the outcome.  From that scrum Treorchy battered away at the Rumney defence for a multitude of phases, but failed to break the line a third time as the home side eventually cleared their lines.  However, Everett made a second lung busting run moments later and this time from the resulting penalty, the three points were accepted from beneath the posts as Rumney were reduced to 14 men for ten minutes courtesy of their persistent infringing.

While the spate of injuries have left Treorchy’s matchday squad looking a little thin in some fixtures this season, the benefits of the improvements made by those players who have had to step up were clear to see as Treorchy now look to have more strength in depth than first thought at the start of the season and on Saturday had the rare luxury of a bench containing a number of experienced players.  With influential trio Damon Filmer, Shaun Green and Wayne Davies all making their entrances for the final quarter, the pack were suitably re-energised helping Treorchy to take control of the forward battle with a simple but effective pick and drive game backed up with an uncompromising commitment at the ruck area.  And in-between repelling a couple of rare Rumney periods of pressure in the Treorchy twenty-two, James superbly slotted over his third penalty directly into the face of the driving wind  to reduce the deficit to just three points.  

While the course of the half the growing hope of a bonus point had turned into a belief that a win was not only possible but within grasp, the wind was still proving a hurdle to gaining field position and the winning score.  The pack kept going to the end and they were eventually rewarded for their endeavour and commitment as they deservedly snatched the lead in injury time as the Treorchy backs produced a moment of magic.  From a centre field ruck just outside the home side’s twenty-two, full back Andrew Mallin produced a superb flat pass to the drifting Trystan Lazarus who, after getting outside his man, had enough gas to get over in the corner to spark wild scenes amongst the Treorchy bench and supporters.  Treorchy played out the remaining two minutes without alarm to register the win that lifts them above Llanharan in the table and further away from the relegation zone.

The next fixture is home to leaders Newbridge on Saturday 19th February, but with Treorchy’s  squad nearly back to full compliment the team should look forward to the remaining fixtures with confidence.

Treorchy: 15 Lee Stone, 14 Andrew Mallin, 13 Richie Lewis, 12 Trystan Lazarus, 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Steve James, 9 Steffan Jones; 1 Chris John, 2 Gafyn Lazarus, 3 Rhys Gillard, 4 Kyle Evans, 5 Gareth Barker, 6 Jamie Summers (Capt), 7 Rhodri Jones, 8 Craig Everett.

Replacements used: Wayne Davies, Gareth Fear, Damon Filmer, Shaun Green, Robert Jones

Try:                Trystan Lazarus
Penalties:       Steve James (3)

Treorchy 19-27 Gilfach Goch

The Oval, 8th January 2011 (report by Carl Spiller)

Gilfach Goch picked up a bonus point win courtesy of a hard fought victory over home side Treorchy at the Oval last Saturday.

An away victory appeared unlikely early on as Treorchy dominated both territory and the contact area registering the opening try of the match from second row Gareth Barker from close range.  A few minutes later, with Gilfach surprisingly down to 14 men as the referee opted for an early and unexpected yellow card, the home side declined a kickable penalty in favour of a scrum after they had pushed the visitors off the first scrum of the afternoon.  Gilfach managed to wheel the subsequent scrum forcing a pick up, but Treorchy increased their lead to 10 points to nil minutes later as Zebra outside half Celyn Ashton added to his earlier conversion.

With the visitors' forwards struggling to gain parity it was left to a moment of magic from Gilfach's Adam Priday to register the first points for Gilly as his spectacular leaping catch from his own up and under saw him land in space and mid way between half way and the twenty-two, and the full back had enough gas to outstrip the covering defence for a memorable try beneath the posts.  Treorchy responded with a second penalty from the boot of Ashton, but a try from Gilly hooker Mike Catris out wide on the stroke of half time following Gilfach's first sustained spell of pressure inside Treorchy's twenty two left the visitors trailing by only one point after a half of rugby in which they struggled to make their mark.

Despite a third penalty from the boot of Ashton, the visitors began to assert themselves on the game with outside half Gareth Walters instrumental directing affairs behind a much more competitive forward effort and following a prolonged spell of pressure right winger Adam Wray benefited from some neat hands in midfield to dive over in the corner.  Lively Gilly scrum half Ian Davies failed with his conversion and Treorchy took advantage by retaking the lead from a fourth penalty of the afternoon from Ashton to edge Treorchy back ahead on the hour mark.

After an excellent first forty, Treorchy convincingly lost the territorial kicking contest in the second half (and in turn struggled to gain much attacking possession) as Walters used his left foot to greater effect as he continuingly found space behind the Treorchy back three, while the home side were also guilty of coughed up field position on a couple of occasions by being caught behind their forwards when counter attacking.  With the Gilfach forwards now on top and their rolling maul becoming increasingly more difficult to counter, they retook the lead with ten minutes left on the clock via the boot of Davies following an illegal collapse.

With Treorchy looking increasingly leggy, Gilfach had the sniff of a bonus point win in their nostrils and it duly manifested with three minutes of time remaining as flanker Carl Townsend benefited from another rolling maul from short range.  To rub salt into the home side's wound, Davies slotted over the conversion to deny the home side a losing bonus point.

The defeat leaves Treorchy still planted in tenth place as they travel to fellow strugglers Llanharan next Saturday.

Treorchy: 15 Andrew Mallin, 14 Daniel John, 13 Richie Lewis, 12 Trystan Lazarus, 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Celyn Ashton, 9 Steffan Jones; 1 Chris John, 2 Shaun Green, 3 Rhys Gillard, 4 Kyle Evans, 5 Gareth Barker, 6 Daniel Thorne, 7 Ben Hughes, 8 Jamie Summers (Capt).

Replacements used: Chris Harris, Wayne Davies

Try:               Gareth Barker
Conversion:    Celyn Ashton
Penalties:       Celyn Ashton (4)

Bargoed 33-13 Treorchy

Bargoed, 20th October 2010 (report by Carl Spiller)

Treorchy slipped to defeat in a physical, but ill-tempered affair away to mid-table Bargoed last Saturday, further cementing their position near the bottom of Swalec Division One East.

Treorchy started brightly camping in the home sides twenty-two for the opening minutes and narrowly failed to open the scoring as the usually metronomic Celyn Ashton failed with two difficult, but kickable penalty attempts.  Treorchy found space regularly out wide, but it was Bargoed however, who were slowly getting themselves into the game and had a clear nudge on both in the scrum, but also through their rolling maul.  In addition they also had in flanker Adam Coupe the most effective player at the breakdown and it was the home side who opened the scoring via two penalties and a drop goal from the composed outside half Jamie Howells as they started to control the ball.

On a grey cold day and with half time approaching on what had been a poor advert took a worse and particularly nasty and unseemly direction as a violent brawl broke out.  When the dust had settled and the game restarted, both teams found themselves down to 13 men (red cards to Rhodri Jones and Damon Filmer for the Zebras and Adam Coupe and Lee Williams for Bargoed), in addition to a substitution a piece courtesy of injuries sustained in battle.

From the restart and no doubt with blood still pumping, another fracas broke out, this time minor as the Zebras reacted to a flying forearm from a Bargoed player clearing out a ruck.  The referee reversed the original penalty for retaliation, as the half time thankfully whistle blew with the home side leading 9-0 and the referee having lost control.

With tempers eased, the second half saw Howells push Bargoed out into a 12 point lead, before the referee made use of his cards for a second time by sending Bargoed full back Lee Pearson to the sin bin for taking offence at some rucking of a home player lying over the ball under the shadows of his own posts.  The referee this time didn't reverse the penalty to the Zebras, which Ashton duly converted getting the visitors on the board, but did send Treorchy hooker Gafyn Lazarus to the bin for his retaliation to Pearson.

Much has been said about Treorchy's injury situation and despite the two week's without a fixture they were still without some key players.  However mid-way through the second half centre Trystan Lazarus made his first appearance of the season after breaking his leg in pre-season training and his impact was immediate as he put acting right wing Daniel John away down the left wing on half way with his second touch of the ball and the scrum half showed enough gas to make it the line before the covering defence could get across.

Five minutes later Treorchy's selected scrum half Gareth Fear added a try of his own after he spotted a poorly defended blind side and superbly arced round his opposite number for the score in the corner as the visitors took the lead for the first time.  From opposite touchlines both conversions were missed, but Treorchy were in the ascendency making better use of the extra space afforded by the red cards and following a break from the back of a scrum by Wayne Davies could have been celebrating a third try in quick succession only for the final pass to go to ground.

Bargoed then restamped their authority on the game as Ryan Sadler made a couple of close range powerful bursts before Howells superbly dummied his way through the Treorchy defensive line before feeding Luke Smalley for the easy run in illuminating what was otherwise an error strewn performance from the home backs.

Treorchy responded again with a lung bursting run from Charles Stephenson almost carving out a response. Moments later Stephenson was bursting through another hole following a pass from Fear who was then tackled high and late by home captain Leigh Meades. With both players still holding each other, Fear wrestled Meades to the ground, only to find the referee Stuart Kibble (on what was an inconsistent day that he would most likely wish to forget), indicating a penalty to the home side and brandishing a yellow card to the bemusement of the scrum half.  To compound the decision and with Fear barely having made a step towards the touchline, Meades superbly noticed the lack of full back cover and took a quick tap before punting the ball into the Treorchy 22. Home scrum half Mike Roberts outstripped the off-footed Zebras defence for the try.

At 26-13 and with five minutes remaining Treorchy still had the opportunity to salvage a bonus point, but being a man down struggled to find the space that was previously prevalent and it was left to the home side captain Meades to conclude the scoring as he took an interception to gallop under the posts moments after Bargoed had been denied a try from what the referee indicated was a forward pass, but looked nothing of the sort.

Another defeat on a day that will be remembered for all the wrong reasons, but another spirited performance from the young Zebras to claw their way back from a 12 point deficit, but the team will no doubt be bitterly disappointed not to have been able to hold onto the narrow lead when the home side looked to be struggling to exploit and defend the extra space.  After another break next week, Treorchy face the difficult trip to Blackwood still placed at the wrong end of the table, but still displaying the type of spirit and character required for the Division.

Treorchy: 15 Lee Stone, 14 Daniel John, 13 Richie Lewis, 12 Celyn Ashton, 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Steve James, 9 Gareth Fear; 1 Chris John (capt), 2 Gafyn Lazarus, 3 Rhys Gillard, 4 Calum Brennan, 5 Rhodri Jones, 6 Damon Filmer, 7 Ben Hughes, 8 Charles Stevenson.

Replacements used: Gareth Barker, Wayne Davies, Trystan Lazarus, Jordan Lloyd

Tries:             Daniel John, Gareth Fear
Penalty:          Celyn Ashton

Treorchy 8 - 36 Ebbw Vale

The Oval, 30th October 2010 (report by Carl Spiller)

Treorchy slipped to a sixth league defeat in nine against high flying Ebbw Vale at the Oval last Saturday.

Whilst the final scoreboard indicated a comprehensive win for the visitors in front of their sizeable travelling support, the team’s performance was one to encourage the home supporters, particularly at a time when the conclusion of the imposed international break could see a number of injured players make a return to Treorchy's depleted squad.

To the match and while the visitors pack clearly held a physical advantage, the Treorchy pack, who had to play out the final ten minutes last week in Beddau a man short due to yet more front row injuries, appear to take perverse pleasure in defying the odds and this week was no difference as they made Ebbw fight for every inch of grass on a crisp afternoon.

However the two areas that do need to improve are Treorchy’s first up tackling, as well as the scrambling defensive reorganisation as on the handful of occasions Ebbw did manage to generate quick ball, they were also efficient in identifying space and mid-matches in midfield and as a result notched up a five tries in a display of clinical finishing.

In a hard fought first half Treorchy went into the break 17-3 down thanks to a try a piece from dangerous wing Danny Ajuwa and number eight Hywel Jenkins.  Treorchy were unfortunate not to have been closer as second row Rhodri Jones was tackled touch in goal after a burst each from the hard working Callum Brennan and debutant Charles Stevenson had got behind the visitors defence.  While centre Celyn Ashton had also missed with two penalty attempts to add to his one success.

The game was over as a contest within ten minutes of the restart as quick ball was exploited in midfield allowing full back Wes Cunliffe and second row Ashley Sweet in for the scores, securing the bonus point in the process.

While Ebbw’s victory was thoroughly deserved, not enough can be written about the indomitable spirit of this youthful Treorchy team and despite the potential for suffering a morale sapping hammering, they raised the levels and started to find chinks in the defence of a team with premiership pretensions, with young tight head prop Rhys Gillard prominent ball in hand. Typically the visitor's notched their fifth try from yet another mis-match but it was left to the Zebras to end the scoring with a deserved try of their own as Gareth Fear, Gareth Barker, Stevenson and Peter Hutchings all combined to put Rhodri Jones over in the corner.

The defeat leaves Treorchy languishing three off the bottom of Division One East, but face a vital trip to fellow strugglers Bargoed on Saturday 20th November safe in the knowledge that they, in particular the forwards, are made of the right stuff to compete at this level.  All that is lacking is a bit more luck on and off the field.

Treorchy: 15 Andrew Mallin, 14 Ryan Howells, 13 Richie Lewis, 12 Celyn Ashton, 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Jordan Lloyd, 9 Steffan Jones; 1 Chris John (capt), 2 Gafyn Lazarus, 3 Rhys Gillard, 4 Calum Brennan, 5 Rhodri Jones, 6 Damon Filmer, 7 Wayne Davies, 8 Charles Stevenson.

Replacements used: Gareth Barker, Gareth Fear, Chris Harris, Ben Hughes

Try:                Rhodri Jones
Penalty:          Celyn Ashton

Beddau 29 - 29 Treorchy

Beddau, 23rd October 2010 (report by Carl Spiller)

After four consecutive defeats in Division One East, including two narrowly at home, Treorchy faced the difficult prospect of travelling to Beddau desperately in search of not only a result, but a performance to galvanise the squad and reignite their season.

The omens were good as Treorchy matched the home side in the early exchanges, but it was Beddau who notched the first try following a penalty a piece as powerful centre Kinches broke the Treorchy defensive line before feeding wing Ieuan Coombes for the score.

Within three minutes Treorchy had responded with a try from the increasingly impressive Rhodri Jones, this time playing in the second row rather than the more usual back row.  The try was made, however, by Jordan Lloyd making his first league start at outside half who ghosted past his marker before putting Jones in at the corner.

In a lively opening half, Beddau responded with a second try, this time from short range courtesy of flanker Robert Downes as Treorchy struggled to halt the advancing maul.

Following his excellent performance last week against Rumney, scrum half Steffan Jones was again a handful keeping the opposition back row on guard, but he took a yellow card for the team as he tackled his opposition number short of the required ten metres following a quick tapped penalty with the defence in disarray.  However, Treorchy managed to ride out his loss as the first half ended with the home side leading 17-8.

Despite being down on the scoreboard at the break, with the luxury of the slope in the their favour in the second half all was far from lost for the visitors and it was Rhodri Jones again who reduced the arrears with his second try, beating the defensive line with a neat step after just five minutes of the second half.

Treorchy were again missing a number of key players and the reshuffled back division (which included no less than three scrum halves, two full backs, a single outside half and winger and no centres) struggled to cope defensively and the direct running of Kinches in particular and it was he who registered Beddau's third try as a back move saw him through a gap virtually untouched.

Treorchy again responded as stand in centre Gareth Fear made the best of some slow ball by superbly stepping through the home defensive line before he combined with wing Peter Hutchings who in turn put fellow stand in centre Andrew Mallin over.  With Lloyd adding his second conversion from three attempts, Treorchy were again back in the contest trailing 24-22.

A manic fifteen minute spell was completed as wing Coombes notched his second try as he took advantage of the Zebras porous defence to streak through a gap before sliding over in the corner, securing the home sides bonus point in the process.

Beddau threatened to kill the game off with a couple of spells of pressure in the Zebras' twenty-two, but faced with another committed display from the whole forward pack, this time led by the indefatigable Damon Filmer who secured two defensive penalties under the shadow of his own posts, were unable to breach the Treorchy line for a fifth time.

And with just five minutes of normal time remaining, Treorchy capitalised by adding a bonus point try of their own from wing Hutchings who was on hand to take the inside pass from Lloyd after he had yet again belied his slight frame to feint his way through a gap.

Lloyd added the extras to tie the game up and then with the game deep into injury time Lloyd had the opportunity to snatch the win, but his drop goal attempt was charged down and with the ball hacked forward back into Treorchy's territory it was aptly left to Filmer to win his third penalty and secure the draw and the three points.

Next week Treorchy will took to build on this unexpected but thoroughly deserved result as they play high flying Ebbw Vale at home.

Treorchy: 15 Lee Stone, 14 Daniel John, 13 Gareth Fear, 12 Andrew Mallin, 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Jordan Lloyd, 9 Steffan Jones; 1 Chris John (capt), 2 Shaun Green, 3 Rhys Gillard, 4 Calum Brennan, 5 Rhodri Jones, 6 Damon Filmer, 7 Wayne Davies, 8 Craig Everett.

Replacements used: Chris Harris, Robert Jones, Ben Hughes, Gareth Barker

Tries:                Rhodri Jones (2), Andrew Mallin, Peter Hutchings
Conversions:     Jordan Lloyd (3)
Penalty:             Jordan Lloyd

Treorchy 18 - 19 Rumney

The Oval, Treorchy, 16th October 2010 (report by Carl Spiller)

Treorchy suffered a heartbreaking one point defeat against fellow strugglers Rumney at the Oval last Saturday.

A very poor first 40 minutes of rugby was illuminated only by two penalty kicks apiece from the boots of respective outside halves Celyn Ashton and Danny Clark and a fine solo break out of defence from Zebra left wing Peter Hutchings who was unfortunately to put a foot in touch preventing what would have been a spectacular try.

At 6-6, the second half was well poised, but it was more of the same as both sides struggled to produce any quick ball of note which was made worse by the inconsistent off side line adopted by the referee which reduced the time and space available to the backs even more.  Given the attritional nature of the game, Treorchy tendency to give away needless penalties is proving increasingly costly and they again had to play a quarter of the game a man light for unnecessary infractions. 

In this context the visitors edged themselves into a 12-6 lead courtesy of two more penalties before the contest suddenly sprang into life.  A set back move from the home side saw wing Hutchings alone into acres of space.  He was tackled five metres short of the line, but fellow wing Andrew Mallin slipped a tackle to dive over under the posts for the try.  Ashton added the conversion, but the Zebras were unable to hold onto the advantage as with the clock ticking down the visitors managed to develop some rare quick ball of their own and with the Treorchy defence in disarray spotted a lack of numbers out wide allowing full back Joe Deacon in to score, crucially, beneath the posts after some neat hands.  The easy conversion was added to push Rumney back out into a six point lead.

Treorchy responded again and with the referee indicating last play threw themselves into a final attack which saw Hutchings again in space down the left wing before he was pole axed by an ugly high tackle from Rumney centre Joe Niblett.  Niblett was shown the yellow card and the penalty was tapped again and with the visitors defence finally creaking it was Treorchy centre Richie Lewis who scored the Zebra's second try after some excellent hands in the backs and some good recycling work in the forwards. 

However, the try was scored in the corner and replacement outside half Jordan Lloyd was unable to convert from the touchline as the whistle blew on a frantic finale, but an otherwise disappointing contest and result for Treorchy.

With confidence levels visibly low, it should be noted that the home team has only just narrowly failed to collect a win each in the past two home games and they will be looking to find the performance that will reinvigorate the team next week as they travel to Beddau in what will prove to be a difficult contest.

Treorchy: 15 Steve James, 14 Andrew Mallin, 13 Ryan Howells, 12 Richie Lewis, 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Celyn Ashton, 9 Steffan Jones; 1 Chris John (capt), 2 Shaun Green, 3 Gareth Jones, 4 Gareth Barker, 5 Calum Brennan, 6 Damon Filmer, 7 Rhodri Jones, 8 Craig Everett.

Replacements used: Daniel John, Rhys Gillard, Jordan Lloyd

Tries:              Andrew Mallin, Richie Lewis
Conversion:     Celyn Ashton
Penalties:        Celyn Ashton (2)

Newbridge 52 - 13 Treorchy

The Welfare Ground, Newbridge, 9th Octpber 2010 (report by Gary Spiller)

Treorchy slipped to a third consecutive defeat away to Newbridge on Saturday at the Welfare Ground.  After the narrow home defeat to Llanharan the previous Saturday there was anticipation of another close game, and the opening exchanges backed this up, but penetrating attacks from the Newbridge backs led to four first half tries to leave the Zebras trailing 32 – 6 at the interval.

Emotions must’ve been roused in the Treorchy dressing room during the break, as they ploughed into the home team from the restart and dominated possession and territory, culminating with centre Richie Lewis scoring in the corner, converted by Celyn Ashton.  Treorchy immediately returned to Newbridge’s 22 for more sustained pressure, but it was Newbridge’s impressive three quarters who again turned defence into attack from deep scoring three quick tries to take the game away from Treorchy and flatter the score line.

Treorchy face mid table Rumney at home on Saturday, determined to return to winning ways.

Treorchy: 15 Lee Stone, 14 Chris Harris, 13 Andrew Mallin, 12 Richie Lewis, 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Celyn Ashton, 9 Gareth Fear; 1 Chris John (capt), 2 Shaun Green, 3 Jamie Maggs, 4 Kyle Evans, 5 Calum Brennan, 6 Scott Meredith, 7 Damon Filmer, 8 Rhodri Jones.

Replacements used: Robert Jones, Rhys Gillard, Ben Hughes, Daniel John, Steve James

Try:                 Richie Lewis
Conversion:     Celyn Ashton
Penalties:        Celyn Ashton (2)

Treorchy 19 - 23 Llanharan

The Oval, Treorchy, 2nd October 2010 (report by Carl Spiller)

Treorchy suffered a second consecutive defeat, this time in disappointing fashion at home to Swalec Division One East strugglers Llanharan at the Oval.

In the opening exchanges Llanharan's physically imposing forwards chose to play a simple pick and drive game and were rewarded with some hard fought yards round the fringe and a couple of early penalty opportunities, one of which scrum half Chris Williams converted for a 3-0 lead.  Treorchy responded with a try from Peter Hutchings who galloped through a yawning gap in centre field from a set back move to score beneath the posts.  Outside half Celyn Ashton added the extras before a huge penalty shot from inside his own half stretched Treorchy out to a 10-3 lead.

Despite the size of the visitors pack, Treorchy defended stoutly around the fringes and had a noticeable nudge on at the scrums to compliment the accuracy of hooker Shaun Green and the work of back row forward Rhodri Jones who again disrupted the visitors' line out.  However, in Elliott Frewin, Llanharan had the outstanding back on either side and his broken field running allowed full back Geraint Walsh to dot down beneath the posts to level the scores up at 10 each following the conversion.

A running theme of Treorchy's season to date has been the lack of discipline at the break down.  Last week Gilfach gave a good demonstration of how to legally compete and disrupt (and also how to get away with the illegal aspects too), but Treorchy are failing to adapt their play to the referee and in the face of a fussy and sometimes inconsistent official were guilty of some blatant infringements and in the lead up to half time Llanharan benefited with two further penalties from the boot of Williams and were unfortunate not to take more as Treorchy withstood a late flurry of scrums on their own line.

Within minutes of the restart Ashton reduced the arrears to just three points with his second penalty, but a second try for the visitors from close range, ably converted by Williams, increased their advantage to 23-13 with half an hour to play.

With Captain Jamie Summers having been replaced part way through the first half with an arm injury, young loose head prop Chris John filled the leadership void superbly, leading the pack by example as the home side dragged themselves back into the contest earning two penalties from the boot of Ashton as the game headed into the final quarter balanced on a knife edge.  It was the away side, however, who expertly saw out the remainder of the match, helped in no small part to the referee's indecisiveness at the scrum as he allowed Llanharan to collapse or fade on the hit as the clock ran down to secure their first win of the season, while Treorchy would have got little consolation with their losing bonus point which they very nearly threw away as their composure deserted them late on.

Treorchy: 15 Andrew Mallin, 14 Jordan Lloyd, 13 Ryan Howells, 12 Richie Lewis, 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Celyn Ashton, 9 Daniel John; 1 Chris John, 2 Shaun Green, 3 Jamie Maggs, 4 Gareth Barker, 5 Kyle Evans, 6 Damon Filmer, 7 Rhodri Jones, 8 Jamie Summers (capt)

Replacements used: Robert Jones, Rhys Gillard, Calum Brennan, Steffan Jones, Lee Stone

Try:                 Peter Hutchings
Conversion:     Celyn Ashton
Penalties:        Celyn Ashton (4)

Gilfach Goch 32 - 9 Treorchy

Gilfach Goch, 25th September 2010 (report by Carl Spiller)

After two consecutive wins in Swalec Division One East, Treorchy came crashing back to earth as they slipped to a comprehensive defeat away to Gilfach Goch.

Playing with both the wind and the not inconsiderable slope in the first half, Treorchy would have been looking to compile a substantial half time lead but it was the home side who struck first with a penalty from full back Ian Davies. Treorchy outside half Celyn Ashton responded with a penalty to level the scores as Treorchy began to make some headway attacking close to the ruck but found quick ball difficult to come by as Gilfach were particularly effective disrupting with some vigorous counter rucking.

And it was Gilfach who retook the lead after eighteen minutes as a penalty was awarded to the home side in centre field just outside the twenty two for some blatant hands in the ruck. With the referee seemingly reaching for the yellow card the Zebras were guilty of taking their eye off the ball quite literally as Gilfach scrum half Adam Fry took a quick tap to run in beneath the posts untouched. Davies added the extras to take the home side out into a 10-3 lead despite the wind and slope.

Treorchy fought back superbly, competing for every inch at the contact area and even rode out a ten minute spell down to 14 men following a yellow card for slowing Gilfach ruck ball down to register two penalties from the boot of Ashton as the half time whistle blew with the Zebras trailing 10-9.

Shorn of eight starters from last weeks comfortable victory over Ystrad for various reasons (which precipitated a composed debut from Jordan Lloyd filling in at full back) and with the elements now against them, Treorchy knew the second half was going to be difficult but within five minutes of the restart the game was over as a contest as Gilfach scored two quick tries.

The first try came as Treorchy, for the second time in the match, were guilty of switching off as they waited for the whistle following a blatant knock on from Gilfach in midfield as they spun the ball wide. Moments later the try was awarded in the corner to the surprise of many and three minutes later Gilfach were celebrating their third try of the match. Poor handling from the Gilfach back line was proving to be a recurrent theme of the match but a Treorchy back move from just inside the Gilfach half was intercepted by centre Shaun Roberts and it was Captain Gareth Walters who chalked up the five points as he was on hand to receive the scoring pass after Roberts drew the full back Lloyd. Davies added the extras and slotted a second penalty ten minutes later to stretch the home side out into a comfortable 25-9 lead.

Treorchy refused to concede defeat with Captain Jamie Summers leading by example with his work rate and commitment as the pack showed no signs of dimming, but with too many first up tackles missed it was Gilfach who completed the scoring with a fourth try.  With outside half Gareth Walters directing affairs and number eight Matthew Llewellyn outstanding in defence and in particular attack, a chip into the twenty two took a kind bounce allowing Gilfach to grab the try. Davies again added the extras to complete the scoring at 32-9.

Treorchy valiantly fought to the final whistle, spending the last five minutes camped in the Gilfach twenty two, but found no change from the well organised home defence. Next week the Zebras face Llanharan at the Oval looking to make a return to winning ways.

Treorchy: 15 Jordan Lloyd, 14 Chris Harris, 13 Ryan Howells, 12 Jay Power, 11 Daniel John, 10 Celyn Ashton, 9 Steffan Jones; 1 Chris John, 2 Robert Jones, 3 Rhys Gillard, 4 Jamie Summers (capt), 5 Calum Brennan, 6 Damon Filmer, 7 Wayne Davies, 8 Rhodri Jones.

Replacements used: Tom Rees, Scott Meredith, Gareth Barker, Alex Gill

Penalties:        Celyn Ashton (3)

Treorchy 36 - 24 Ystrad Rhondda

The Oval, Treorchy, 18th September 2010 (report by Carl Spiller)

Treorchy registered their second win of the season in a competitive local derby against near neighbours Ystrad Rhondda at the Oval last Saturday in Swalec Division One East.
 
Ystrad opened the scoring with centre Dylan Jones slotting an early penalty opportunity before the home side took a firm grip of the match with a try and penalty from outside half Celyn Ashton. The try coming from an attacking scrum on the Ystrad try line after a planned back move appeared to have been read by the defence forced Ashton to put his head down and power over for the try.  He converted his own try and was adding a penalty a quarter of an hour later as Treorchy dictated field position despite facing the wind in the first half.

The Ystrad line out struggled all afternoon, with Zebra number eight Rhodri Jones impressive in picking off a number, so Treorchy perhaps missed an opportunity to press home their advantage by keeping the ball infield when making clearance kicks and this was compounded by a horror fifteen minute spell when the home side's discipline fell away allowing Jones to clock up three more penalties.  And with half time approaching things got worse as the first flare up of the match saw a defensive penalty for Treorchy overturned and Captain Jamie Summers sent to the sin bin. The subsequent attacking lineout was originally repelled but a few phases later Ystrad prop Neil Jones, loitering on the left wing, benefited with the try. Dylan Jones superbly converted from the touchline to push Ystrad out to an unexpected 19-10 lead.

Despite being down to fourteen men, Treorchy tellingly responded well and after full back Steve James had missed with a huge penalty effort, a closer shot was converted from Ashton began the fightback for the Zebras as the half time whistle blew with Ystrad leading 13-19.

With Summers back on from the restart Treorchy re-stamped their authority with two further penalties from Ashton equalising the score before hooker Shaun Green chalked up his first try of the season in his return from injury as a result of Treorchy's dominant rolling maul. Ashton added the extras and was adding a third conversion ten minutes later as wing Peter Hutchings
charged down a clearance kick from the increasingly ponderous visitors back division,  prompting perhaps the first ever streaker at the Oval from amongst the sizeable crowd in attendance.

At 33-19 the only question appeared to be whether Treorchy would register the bonus point but it was Ystrad who had the final say with their second try following Celyn Ashton's fifth  penalty and a red card for Matthew Hutchings. The outside half was fortunate not to get his marching orders for punching Treorchy centre Andrew Mallin from behind, but the referee had no option but to upgrade his yellow card to a red as he was involved in a second punch up when leaving the field.

This late red card and what looked a painful leg injury to Ystrad Captain Chris Hanly soured the match but one in which Treorchy will take tremendous confidence from given their dominance for large periods.  Next week their confidence will be tested to the full as they travel to fellow promoted side Gilfach Goch in what promises to be another uncompromising fixture.

Treorchy: 15 Steve James, 14 Chris Harris (rep: Daniel John), 13 Andrew Mallin, 12 Richie Lewis, 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Celyn Ashton, 9 Gareth Fear; 1 Chris John, 2 Shaun Green, 3 Gareth Jones (rep: Jamie Maggs), 4 Jamie Summers (capt), 5 Calum Brennan (rep: Wayne Davies), 6 Damon Filmer, 7 Daniel Thorne, 8 Rhodri Jones (rep: Robert Jones).

Tries:              Celyn Ashton, Shaun Green, Peter Hutchings
Conversions:   Celyn Ashton (3)
Penalties:        Celyn Ashton (5)

Bedlinog 9 - 32 Treorchy

Bedlinog, 11th September 2010

Treorchy: 15 Steve James, 14 Craig Payne (Rep: Chris Harris), 13 Andrew Mallin, 12 Richie Lewis, 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Celyn Ashton, 9 Gareth Fear (rep: Steffan Jones); 1 Chris John, 2 Robert Jones, 3 Gareth Jones (rep: Simon Collins), 4 Jamie Summers (capt), 5 Calum Brennan (rep Gareth Barker), 6 Damon Filmer, 7 Daniel Thorne, 8 Rhodri Jones.

Tries:              Peter Hutchings, Jamie Summers
Conversions:   Celyn Ashton (2)
Penalties:        Celyn Ashton (6)

Treorchy 18 - 29 Blackwood

The Oval, Treorchy, 4th September 2010 (report by Carl Spiller)

After six years away, Treorchy made their return to Division One rugby with tough opening fixture against last year's third place finishers Blackwood at the Oval last Saturday in what turned out to be a hard fought but entertaining encounter.

A bright opening from the home side was rewarded with the first points as full back Steve James unexpectedly slotted a drop goal from near the halfway line after outside half had narrowly failed with a penalty attempt from his own half.  In addition to their attacking intent, Treorchy's scrum was dominant in the opening quarter but were unable to truly make the advantage count courtesy of Blackwood number eight David Brake who was able to stay on his feet long enough under pressure to enable his side to reclaim the ball.

The first try looked to have been scored by centre Richie Lewis as he picked up a loose pass from a back move just inside their own half, only for the try to be denied by an excellent last ditch tackle that dislodged the ball as Lewis looked to dive over for the score.  However, a score was not long in coming but it came courtesy of the visitors who showed some excellent hands to exploit some defensive disorganisation after taking a quick tap penalty just outside their own twenty two allowing left wing Anthony John to gallop round under the posts.  Blackwood outside half Danny Ellis struck the extras as Teorchy fell 3-7 behind.

Treorchy responded with a well worked try of their own as some slick handling saw left wing Peter Hutchings into space and he was strong enough to break some tackles to score beneath the posts.  Ashton added the extras and could have been adding a second conversion had the Zebras completed another slick handling move in the dying minutes of the half only for the pass to be behind full back James with the line at his mercy.

As if to rub salt in the wound, Blackwood leveled the scores on the stroke of half time with a penalty from the boot of Ellis.

Half-time score: Treorchy 10 - 10 Blackwood

After the interval, Blackwood took a firm grip og the game courtesy of two tries in the opening ten minutes with visitors' inside centre Gareth Price the catalyst.  Just prior to half time Treorchy full bacl James had left the field for a blood injury and although he returned after the break, he appeared to be still suffering the ill effects as two minutes into the half he misjudged a neat chip ahead allowing Blackwood wing Kristan Perry to display his footballing skills to dribble the ball over the try line. And ten minutes later they increased their advantage as Price spotted the space on the blind side of a ruck and some neat passing allowed Blackwood left wing John in to get his second try of the match.  This time Ellis converted to push Blackwood out into what would be a match winning 10-22 lead.

Treorchy responded superbly, even riding the loss of number eight Rhodri Jones for ten minutes for what the referee indicated was an illegal tackle, and were rewarded with a penalty from the boot of Ashton after a spell of pressure in the Blackwood twenty two.  But Blackwood effectively killed off the game as a contest with their bonus point try again courtesy of centre price who superbly managed to offload just yards from the line following an attack scrum deep in the Zebras' twenty two.  Ellis again added the extras to take the visitors out into a 13-29 lead.

After consecutive promotions the tight knit Zebra unit have been used to winning but they again showed their fighting qualities by registering thier second try of the gsme from wing Andrew Mallin as the game headed towards injury time.  Some more intense pressure on the Blackwood line was rewarded with an attacking scrum and with the excellent scrum half Gareth Fear deputising in the centre, he was able to create enough space for the outside backs to dive over in the corner.  Ashton missed with the conversion from the touchline and this proved crucial as in the pursuit of a deserved losing bonus point Treorchy were forced to go for the try in the dying seconds from a penalty rather than take a penalty shot and as if to emphasis the point, Blackwood stole the resulting lineout to highlight the one facet of the game where Blackwood held the advantage all afternoon to end the contest 18-29 to the visitors.

Final score: Treorchy 18 - 29 Blackwood

A disappointing start to the campaign with a clinicalness in attack and accuracy in the set piece the only difference between the two sides and next week the Zebras make the difficult journey to Bedlinog looking to open their account for the season. 

Treorchy: 15 Steve James (rep: Jay Power), 14 Andrew Mallin, 13 Richie Lewis (rep: Steffan Jones), 12 Liam Phillips, 11 Peter Hutchings, 10 Celyn Ashton, 9 Gareth Fear; 1 Chris John (rep: Simon Collins), 2 Robert Jones, 3 Gareth Jones, 4 Jamie Summers (capt), 5 Calum Brennan (rep Gareth Barker), 6 Damon Filmer, 7 Daniel Thorne (rep: Ben Hughes), 8 Rhodri Jones.

Tries:            Peter Hutchings, Andrew Mallin
Conversion:   Celyn Ashton
Penalty:         Celyn Ashton
Drop Goal:    Steve James

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