Llanharan 17 Bargoed 13
1:10pm Monday 11th March 2013 in Sport
BARGOED’S Championship title hopes received a significant setback as they crashed to only their second defeat of the season in a gritty but scrappy Friday night fixture away at Llanharan.
The Blues opened the scoring with a well struck Josh Prosser penalty after just three minutes before Llanharan hit back with a Rhys Walker try, the winger finishing off a set piece move as the backs gave the ball width from a scrum on the 22 metre line. Harley Thomson’s conversion drifted wide.
Bargoed had two chances to regain the lead with kickable penalties but chose not to take the points in the knowledge that tries were needed to close the gap on Ebbw Vale at the top of the league.
However, they struggled to retain decent possession and it wasn’t until the end of the half that their best period of sustained pressure resulted in a try for lock Darren Lynch, who found himself unmarked on the wing to cross at the flag from ten metres. Prosser’s conversion went wide to leave the score at 5-8 as the half time whistle went.
Llanharan returned to the field for the second half with only fourteen men - scrum half Tom Marley having been shown a yellow card by the referee Julian Smith.
Bargoed had much the better of the third quarter as they picked up the pace. The pack gave a decent platform for the Blues’ hard runners Gareth Dare and Lewis Protheroe to punch holes through the centre.
Dogged defence from the Dairymen, however, kept them out.
Llanharan, against the run of play, took the lead after a hack on in their own twenty-two resulted in Bargoed scrambling the ball into touch fifteen metres from their own line. A long throw to the back and a peel allowed prop James Greenfield to surge over the line with Thomson adding the extras.
Again Bargoed piled on the pressure and it paid off fifteen minutes from time as Lewis Protheroe put in a flat pass to fellow centre Darren Humphries who drew the defence and sublimely switched the focus with an inside ball to fullback Andrew MacLaughlan cutting a fine angle to wrong foot the defenders and cross for a well-worked but unconverted try.
Almost immediately Llanharan’s luck continued with another hack on just inside the Bargoed half rebounding off a Bargoed defender and Harry Davies reacted quickest and the second hack on sat up nicely for the winger to cross for the home side’s third try.
The Dairymen were reduced to fourteen for the second time in the game as desperate defending saw flanker Lewis Young, watched by father and Wasps coach Dai, kill the ball on the line and get a yellow card from referee Smith.
Bargoed called a scrum but couldn’t make the superiority count and Llanharan cleared their lines to the obvious delight of the home crowd. The Blues’ ran everything but the clock was against them and they had to settle for a losing bonus point as the home side ran out 17-13 winners.