Cardiff eventually overcame Tata Steel to reach the second round of the National Cup.
But ‘Steel’ who are coached by former Blue & Black Matthew Llewellyn gave the home side lots to think about in the first twenty minutes. They were first on the scoreboard when outside half Jack O’Riley landed a 40 metre penalty after an off side by Cardiff. The Blue & Blacks hit back shortly afterward. Gareth Thompson was pulling the strings and putting runners in space and when the home side got close to the line he was able to find Ben Leung, the prop, who was winning his club cap, added to his celebrations by scoring a try that will be “from the half way line” later tonight. Thompson added the extras and was next on the scoresheet himself. This time he spotted forwards in front of him and ghosted though to score a try he converted.
But the visitors were in no mood to be pushed aside. They grabbed the next two tries. The first was from a Cardiff attack that was too slow in using a two to one overlap. Wing Steff Stone picked off the pass in his own twenty-two and raced to the other end to touch down. ‘Steel’ followed that by extending their lead. Straight from the kick off the clearance kick was charged down and a lineout near the Cardiff try line was forced. From the catch and drive prop Dylan Crisp was shunted over. O’Riley converted both and Tata were ahead.
Cardiff were soon back in front though and again Thompson was the creator. His vision spotted the overlap on the outside and when his pass was delivered Lloyd Chalke was the beneficiary beating the fullback to cross. The later stages of the first half then turned into the Gareth Thompson show as the outside half completed his hat-trick. His second try of the game was a result of the pressure he put on the clearance kick from the Tata backs. When the ball went to the floor he was able to hack it on and over the line and be first to the touchdown. His third try was a result of great team play. Ceri Young and James Whittingham had combined down the right wing to set Young free. As he drew the full back Joe Page was in support to continue the move, finally handing the ball to Thompson to score. He was on target with both conversions to give Cardiff a 28 -17 advantage at the break.
The second half saw the Blue & Blacks power on. The next try came from great hand between forwards and backs as a sweeping move went most of the way down the pitch. Luke Ford – making his first start since October- giving Young the final pass. The wing needed no second invitation to continue his great scoring form. Ford himself was next on the scoresheet. Lloyd Chalke – who was later to be named man of the match – was having a greater influence of the game and his break was backed up by Ford. The Cardiff Club captain flying over the line.
The forwards were setting up some great positions for the backs to exploit so it was fitting that the next two tries came from them. Jordan Viggers, who had made some great yards during the early part of the second half, crossing from short range after the ball had been through several pairs of hands. A Joe Page rampaged over from ten metres out with Tata defenders still clinging to him. Thompson converted two before being replaced.
By now the replacements were coming on thick and fast and one of them – Tom Slater – crossed for the Blue & Blacks seventh. The try of the match came virtually straight after, Ford made a thrust up the middle before handing off to Chalke. His interplay with Whittingham and Young sent defenders scattering and when the ball went back to Chalke he scuttled over. Tata though hadn’t given up, despite being well out of the game and their pack gave them a consolation try when Brett Thomas was credited with a catch and drive try. The Cardiff pack though wasn’t to let the visitors or the Blue & Blacks backs have all the glory. The final try came on the final whistle as another team move was finished off by Jack Davies, the big second row powering over to give Cardiff safe passage through to next week’s second round draw.