18 May 2016 / Club News

Skewen v Ystrad Rhondda Quarter Final SWALEC Plate


On Saturday the 9th April Skewen welcomed Ystrad RhonddaRFC to Tennant Park for the quarter final of the WRU Plate. The last time the two teams met was in last year’s semi-final when Ystrad were the victors going on to win the plate at the Millennium Stadium. Needless to say for so many reasons this had the potential to be a monumental game for both sides.

Skewen opened the score with a well taken penalty by outside half Anthony Busselli after just 10 minutes into the game. 3-0

As the first half developed it was clear for all to see that both sides were evenly matched, every ruck maul and tackle being fiercely contested with no quarter asked or given.

It was not until the 23rd minute that the scoreboard moved. A period of good Skewen pressure led to a series of scrums in the Ystrad half. The pressure led to a penalty being conceded at an attacking scrum which was well converted by Anthony Busselli. 6-0

As the half closed it was Ystrad who began piling on the pressure but excellent Skewen defence kept them out. A penalty in the Skewen 22 allowed Anthony Busselli to clear the pressure. The subsequent half way lineout was well gathered and the drive by the forwards took the play into the Ystrad half. Quick release enabled scrum half James Ball to break past the defensive line and his kick ahead was well followed up by winger Matthew Billet who won the race for the touchdown to score. 11-0

On the stroke of half time Ystrad were again piling on the pressure but excellent Skewen defence limited their scoring opportunity to one successful penalty. 11-3

Half time score 11-0

Ystrad came out in the second half with all guns blazing. Pressure led to an early penalty for Ystrad which was well converted 11-6

Ystrad continued to put Skewen under pressure.  Skewen attempted to relieve the pressure by running quick ball out of their 22 but poor handling led to turnover ball. Phase after phase of attacking Ystrad play was met by strong Skewen defence but eventually gaps were bound to appear good re cycling by the Ystrad forwards led to an overlap and a try near the corner.11-11

The pressure was soon lifted when, following a penalty for a high tackle, Anthony Busselli was able to convert the kick to give Skewen the lead 14-11.

As the half progressed Skewen began to monopolise both territory and possession. The Skewen scrum was revitalised with the introduction of props Mark Jones and Liam Grice. It was from good scrum pressure that Skewen were able to launch their attack. A high tackle led to another successful penalty by outside half Anthony Busselli 17-11.





The game was still finely balanced and it took another piece of Mark Harvey magic to break the stalemate. Quick recycled ball well inside the Skewen half was moved to the winger who raced 40 yards into the Ystrad half and was able to beat the cover defence with a well-placed kick ahead winning the race for the touchdown 22-11.

The Skewen scrum was now beginning to dominate and Ystrad were pinned into the 22 for long periods but such was the quality of their defence it meant that despite good ball retention and phase play Skewen were unable to increase their lead.

A good side never gives up and Ystrad showed how good a side they are by fighting to the end. Good passing and interplay between backs and forwards took Ystrad well into the Skewen Half. Each attacking phase was met by strong scramble defence by every Skewen player. However such was the quality of phase play and ball retention by the Ystrad forwards it was inevitable that gaps would appear and the eventual overlap led to an Ystrad try in the corner 22-16.

The score going into the final minutes was a clear indication of how close both teams were in both quality and commitment. With increasing scrum domination and excellent tactical kicking by outside half Anthony Busselli Skewen were able to close down the game and pin Ystrad into their 22 until the final whistle was blown.

Final Score:  Skewen 22 Ystrad Rhondda 16

What a game! Cup games can be dour events with a win at all costs mentality. This was far from it with two evenly matched sides playing quality football. The quality of the attack was excellent the quality of the defence was phenomenal. To a man on both sides nothing was left on the field each gave their all. The number of try saving tackles on both sides even at the end was a testament to the fitness and commitment of everyone who took the field. 

Even the season ticket holders who had to pay to get in could not complain about the value for money. This would have been a game worthy of the final.

It took 31 men at any time on the field to make this game the spectacle it was. Praise has to be given to referee Kevin Smart not only for his control but also his feeling for the game which allowed both teams to play physical quality football.

A tough time ahead, 4 games in 10 days. Next week semi-finals against Porth on Weds and Penallta on Saturday and a league game at Kenfig Hill the following weds.

Played 24 won 23.Points for 901 Points against185. Tries for 120 Tries against 20






Skewen Team V Ystrad Rhondda

15 Gareth Morris

14 Mark Harvey (replaced by Dagless)

13 Andrew Collins

12 Kevin James (replaced by Tom Kingdom)

11Mathew Billet

10 Anthony Busselli  

9 James Ball

8 Ed Price Capt.

7 Richard Davies (replaced by Dai Morgan)

6 Jo Lewis (replaced by Aled Mogford)

5 Aled Mogford (replaced by Ollie Thompson)

4 Reece Jenkins  

3 Jonny (replaced by Mark Jones)

2 Rhodri Hughes (replaced by Steffan Bond)

1 James Reeves (replaced by Liam Grice)



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