Report by Lauren Smith
Cardiff righted the wrongs from 1993 to beat local rivals St Peters 42 - 10 in a late night community friendly.
Cardiff RFC played host to St Peters in their fourth January community fixture. Currently two from three, the hosts were hitting their stride following a controlled 66 – 3 win over Glamorgan Wanderers last week and a 68 – 5 win against Cardiff Medics the week prior.
It is 21 years minus one day since Cardiff last met St Peters at the Arms Park. Causing one of the most unexpected results in Welsh Cup history, Cardiff found themselves on the wrong side on a 16-14 SWALEC Cup result. Eager for the result not to be replicated, Fowler’s men looked to prevent history from repeating itself once more.
Cardiff RFC delivered a storming performance in the first half with tries galore in five-minute intervals. The hosts seemed light years away from the two-point loss of 1993 and they certainly had no intention of letting it happen again. With the bonus point try scored by Mike Stephens in the twentieth minute, hope for St Peters was diminishing, whose fortieth minute consolation try did little to fix the points gorge between the two sides.
The restart saw St Peters rally, holding off the Blue and Black onslaught for the first twenty minutes despite some close calls from Ford and Uhi. The Roath based side were the first to score in a slightly slower start to the second forty, but with their effort left unconverted there was still a monster gap to fill. In what felt like a game of two halves, it was Sam Feehan who was the lone scorer for the Blue and Blacks. Maynard maintained this 100% kicking record to cementing himself as a first choice for the starting XV.
With Cardiff looking to upset the visitors from the whistle, they were met with a swathe of green as St Peters made their presence known. Taking advantage of a knock on from Aaron Fowler, St Peters fly half Ryan showed tactical footwork, maneuvering out of the forwards’ grasp and making yards before being caught the wrong side of a badly formed maul. The resulting scrum worked to the favour of the home side and within minutes it appeared as if Mike Stephens had done enough to put the first points on the board. Unfortunately for the centre, the scrum was recalled for infringement. It was Jack Maynard, minutes later, who finally got the team up and running, spotting the gap he tiptoed through the defense, maintaining his pace until he was safely under the posts. Converting his own try, Maynard pulled Cardiff into the lead.
Almost momentarily Cardiff found themselves back in the opposition’s twenty-two, when front rower Rhys James received a pass just short of goal. St peters rallied, holding off the Blue and Black onslaught with the ball rolling to touch dangerously close. Winning the resulting line out, St Peters cleared and with Cardiff RFC on the back foot they pushed up field.
It was new signing second row Craig Lodge, putting in a bulldozing tackle to upset St Peters 8 Elliot Reagen, who turned the ball over, changing the fortune of the home side. With game back in the hands of the Blue and Black fly half, Maynard exchanged with Powell before the wing ran to ground five meters off the far corner. With the ball recycled back to Maynard he executed a superbly timed cross-field kick, landing it in the hands of Shaun Powell who touched down. With a successful conversion, the young fly half was making a judicious case as a regular start for the Cardiff team.
A succession of quick fire tries saw Cardiff storm ahead lengthening the gap between the two sides. Captain Aaron Fowler made progression up towards the twenty-two, St Peters intercepted, and fumbled. Cardiff’s Nick White had quick hands, pinching the ball from the opposition and taking it across. Not to be undone, Mike Stephens soon added the try bonus point scoring his first of the evening. St Peters, unable to hold their defensive structure, just couldn’t seem to get a break. Within minutes Cardiff was out pacing them down the left side in the form of physical center Luke Ford, with options behind, he handed off to newcomer Lodge who fought through the wall of green to give Cardiff an uncatchable lead before the break. With Maynard accurate with his boot, all attempts were converted seeing him maintain a 100% record.
In the dying minutes of the first half St Peters desperately fought for their dignity as Cardiff RFC ran away with the score. They were rewarded for their efforts when winger Jack Huntly brought them into the game for the first time. The conversion was unsuccessful but the stage had been set for a second half comeback for underdogs St Peters.
Cardiff 35 St Peters 5
It was Luke Ford who looked to be the first scorer of the second half, the batter ram center, showing surprising pace for his size, flew down field towards the whitewash. Unfortunately for the 27 year old, he passed under pressure and St Peters intercepted.
With St Peters hanging on by a thread, Cardiff’s Paulo Uhi replicated Fords line, once again reaching the five meter. A last ditch attempt by St Peters’ center partnership tipped the ball out of the hands of the offensive attack, with some scrappy play ensuing, the visitors managed to clear.
It was St Peters who put the first points of the second half on the board. With the forwards putting in the graft with a pick and go up the left side, it was Winger Cobi Flowers who received the ball out of the ruck to touch down. Although unable to convert, Cardiff looked to be relaxing their relentless execution and St Peters were taking advantage.
Cardiff’s Feehan was the first to execute a killer blow to the returning St Peters side. A further five points was added to Cardiff’s growing total, cancelling out the efforts of St Peters try scorers. With the time closing in, Maynard’s boot brought the home side to 42-10 with ten minutes on the clock.
The away support, filling out Cardiff Arms Park, were getting rowdy and the Roath side picked up their pace. A game of aerial ping pong did little to enhance the visitors chances of success.
With the referee calling time, Cardiff had done enough to seal a 42 – 10 victory, eradicating the memory of the 1993 defeat that they have carried with them for over 21 years.