2005/2006 Principality Premiership
Cardiff 25 v 34 Maesteg
10 December 2005 - Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff

Match Report

Cardiff 25 Maesteg 34

As concert-goers headed for several hours of entertainment at the neighbouring Millennium Stadium, it was Cardiff's players who were left to face the music at the Arms Park.

What they had served up for 80  minutes was not one of the great compositions. Trailing 3-15, 12-22 and 18-29 at various stages of another error-strewn game, their hapless performance reached its nadir deep in injury time.

Theoretically still in with a chance of winning the game at 25-29 they lost the final lineout - on their own throw-in - in  a manner that might understandably reduce grown men and women, or at least hardened supporters, to tears. Ian Boobyer, still roaming far and wide and killing ball mercilessly at rucks  as in days of old, had only just returned to the action after 10 minutes in the sin-bin deservedly and very belatedly awarded for another indiscretion. His remonstrations as he was temporarily despatched made familiar viewing for the Arms Park cognoscenti.

But the last laugh was very much Boobyer's. As the throw-in sailed over the last Blue & Black he gratefully accepted the free ball and galloped off in the direction of the distant try line. Long-suffering watchers were entitled to expect and see the 34-year-old stopped in his tracks before he got very far. Not a bit of it. He covered 40 metres, embarrassing two would-be tacklers en route for Maesteg's fifth try. Cardiff's ignominy was complete.

The result, Cardiff's fifth home defeat in seven matches, was an accident waiting to happen from very early on. Maesteg scrum-half Kevin Ellis, fleetingly a Blue & Black himself five years ago, and now enjoying a prolonged fortieth birthday party that started last May, rubbed salt into Cardiff's wounds in the 15th minute with a speculative box-kick over a scrum. No threat there, surely. Wing Grant Epton thought otherwise as he touched down in the corner under the nose of the doziest of defenders.

Ten minutes later Cardiff found another way of conceding a try. Centre Paul Morgan, a late replacement for Maesteg, was well hemmed in on the right touchline but another innocuous kick ahead was allowed to bounce and he gratefully accepted the early Yuletide gift for the first of his two tries.

Despite Chris Anderson kicking six penalty goals, Maesteg never lost the lead. It was hard luck on Cardiff mainstays like Darren Fenton, gallantly playing the first 40 minutes while still suffering from long-term shin problems and Leon Andrews, who survived an hour of action after passing a late fitness test on a dead leg. But their contribution and example was not enough. Overlaps were wasted, vision was completely lacking as the inevitable and all too familiar pattern of another losing game unfolded.

The Bedwas nightmare when Cardiff conceded two penalty tries  returned when a five-metre scrum went down and another one was chalked up against them. That took the score to 18-29 - James Dixon kicking a penalty goal and three conversions to go with the four tries.

Then Boobyer received his yellow card, James Goode charged over under the posts for a solitary try, Anderson's conversion meaning he had succeeded with his last 13 kicks at goal for the club, but the pantomime villain was waiting to strike.

Up popped Boobyer for the fifth and final Maesteg. Not for the first time visiting supporters made the most noise at a shell-shocked Arms Park. And yet again Cardiff could have few complaints about the result.