2004/2005 WRU National League
Llanharan 33 v 41 Cardiff
25 September 2004 - Dairy Field, Llanharan

Match Report

Llanharan 33 Cardiff 41

Chris Anderson kicked a penalty goal for Cardiff within 90 seconds of the start to establish a lead that the team never lost in a pulsating points-spree at the Dairyfield. But when the early 24-0 lead was reduced to 24-19 shortly  after half-time the Blue & Blacks were beginning to wonder whether the cows were about to come home.

Thankfully, Owen Ruttley's men knuckled down, tucked the ball up their jumpers in two morale-sapping 25-metre drives. and re-established control even after being reduced to 14 men for the final 10 minutes.It was an afternoon not without its share of unforced errors but rich in entertainment as two lively sides shared 10 tries, including a penalty try each. The bouffantly brilliant referee Nigel Owens, presumably straight from his most recent visit to the hairdressers in downtown Pontyberem, just about managed to keep out of the limelight long enough for the sides to play rugby to the best of their ability.

The Cardiff backs had a field day in the first half. Anderson's early penalty was followed by a fine 8-9-10 break off a midfield scrum only for James Malpas' final pass to Johnathan Edwards to be spilled on the Llanharan line. But Malpas and Edwards, together with the abrasive Dan McShane, formed an outstanding back row and with James Goode ruling the lineouts and Rhys Thomas playing outstandingly well further attacks soon followed.In the fifth minute it was top of the lineout ball that was spun wide for Matthew Nuthall to dummy and swerve for an impressive try.

Two others almost followed immediately as first Chris Czekaj ran a missed Llanharan penalty goal attempt straight back into the home side's half and then the sprightly Owen Ruttley shot away from a tap penalty and Malpas almost crossed.Eventually the second try came, after 17 minutes, when a decoy move to the right from a close-range scrum resulted in Edwards crossing on the blind-side left. Six minutes later a Shaun James grubber kick eluded the defence for Elgan Jones to pounce. Anderson converted all three to establish Cardiff's 24 points in as many minutes. Llanharan, however, were far from finished.

Before half-time live wire hooker Richard Emms burrowed over from the front of a lineout and then fellow front rower Gareth Edwards powered over for a captain's try after a patient build-up through several phases. Marc Davies' conversion left the interval score at 24-12 with Cardiff due to face a stiff second half breeze.

The prospect of being downwind to a pack of Dairymen for 40 minutes was a daunting one and there was further cause for the Blue & Blacks to catch their breath when an Alyn Lake try and another conversion by Davies reduced the points' differential to a mere five. At that point Cardiff changed tactics, driving a maul 30 metres to gain a penalty try converted by Anderson.

Three minutes later another clever grubber kick, this time by Elgan Jones, provided another converted try for Shaun James.Trailing 19-38 Llanharan came back again with a fine try by wing Richard Radford and, with Goode yellow-carded, a penalty try of their own, both converted.

 As the game entered injury time there was still the chance of a famous home comeback until Anderson fell back into the pocket and clinically dropped a goal from 35 metres to settle matters.

Official : Nigel Owens (Wales)

Llanharan Cardiff