It rained. Then it hailed, then it thundered, then it rained some more. The referee arrived and the game went ahead. Given the conditions it was never going to be a feast of flowing rugby, so it was left to the forwards to provide the entertainment.
It was the ‘Old Parish’ that struck the first blow, scoring a try against the run of play. Cardiff lost the ball at a lineout and quick hands saw it transferred to Lenny Woodard; he drew the last man and sent Nathan Trowbridge in at the corner. This set-back fired Cardiff. The pack began to take control, driving forward and rucks and mauls they were soon awarded a penalty which Leigh Halfpenny converted.
More good work from the pack and an increasing number of infringements from the away side sent Cardiff up field. There then followed tow odd decisions from the Touch Judge. First he awarded Cardiff a lineout when it seemed to be a Maesteg ball, then he would not allow a blood replacement to take to the field for the restart. The home pack took full advantage, with a rolling maul which saw Rhys Gill crash over.
The PA played ‘what’s that coming over the hill is it a monster’, it was a monster that was to return to frighten the Maesteg pack twice later in the game.
As the sky got blacker so the dark arts of the forwards began to take control. A period where mistakes meant no flow to the game followed. The away side where now infringing more regularly, eventually the referee had seen enough and he sent Paul Clapham out for a rest from the hailstones. From the penalty Craig Evans pushed Cardiff into the corner where from another driving maul Rhys Gill was pushed over for his second try of the afternoon, leaving the half time score 13-5 to the home side.
The second half started much where the first had finished with forwards running the show, but mistakes meaning regular stoppages. Then the moment when the backs got involved arrived. A loose ball was picked up by Craig Evans, he spotted Ryan Howells wide out a kicked for the winger to chase. The Maesteg full back made a hash of the wet ball and Howells dribbled the ball into the in- goal area and controlled the touchdown superbly to score in the corner. Master’s penalty count was rising rapidly and there was no surprise when another yellow card was produced. Leigh Halfpenny added the three points from the penalty.
The home pack was now in complete control but the wet ball meant the mistakes continued. Maesteg still committed penalties. Another yellow was shown this time to Steffan Jones. This time Cardiff went to the corner, with the diving maul being so effective it was the obvious weapon of choice. It was no surprise when it bashed its way over the line for the bonus point try. The surprise came when the scorer was identified, Rhys Gill had scored his third try of the day. Leigh Halfpenny converted.
With the game won the Blue and Blacks made several replacements with Gill getting a rapturous reception when he came off. At the final whistle the home side had a bonus point and a 28 – 5 win. The Cardiff crowd left happy and wondering when was the last time a prop had scored a hat-trick?