2007/2008 Principality Premiership
Maesteg 20 v 24 Cardiff
12 April 2008 - The Old Parish Ground, Maesteg

Match Report

Maesteg 20 Cardiff 24

Ryan Price made his one-hundredth appearance for the Blue & Blacks, Luke Ford made his debut, and Leigh Halfpenny passed 150 points for the season in only his 13th competitive game. Those are the headline stories from another hard-fought victory and a season's double over lowly Maesteg.

Scratch beneath the surface, though, and a much tighter match is revealed.

At various stages the Old Parish led 10-0 and 20-10 and, as the game entered the final ten minutes, they were still holding on to a three-point advantage. It was only then that Ryan Howells came off the blindside wing from a lineout to burst through the inside-centre channel and score under the posts.

It was his second try in six minutes and his sixth in the last four matches and seemed to settle the result. Even then, though, Maesteg, desperate for a win to enhance their chances of Premiership survival, refused to surrender. Replacement centre Jon Rimmer, once of Cardiff, made a midfield break but was overhauled inside the 22. Luke Richards, a points-machine at Cardiff's expense for many years, blocked a clearance kick only to see the ball spiral away from him. But then they lost their last two lineout throws – a fitting cameo to the contribution of the Down-Stamatakis expertise throughout the game – and the Blue & Blacks had won.

But it had been a struggle. Another one-time Blue & Black (almost literally), Grant Epton had scored Maesteg's first-half try and Richards, with a penalty goal already under his belt, converted magnificently from the touchline. Halfpenny then manufactured a brilliant converted try of his own from halfway, spotting a gap, chipping ahead and regathering and heading for the posts without a hand being laid on him. Shortly after half-time he added a penalty goal and at 10-all the Maesteg storm seemed to have passed.

Not a bit of it. Neil Dixon finished off a fine threequarter move , Richards again converted from wide out and added a penalty when Scott Roberts was sin-binned. So, 10-20 behind on the scoreboard, down to 14 men on the field, Maesteg sensing Blue & Black blood. Tricky.

Then the game turned again. Maesteg scrum-half Dai Pritchard followed Roberts to the bin and, in the 63rd and 69th minutes Howells served up his tries, both converted by Halfpenny, and all that was left was to hang on for the win – or look for the fourth try and bonus point.

Bizarrely, having apparently consulted the referee on the time left, Cardiff went for the corner flag with another penalty - and he immediately blew up.


Official : Tim Hayes (Wales)

Maesteg Cardiff