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IRONMEN POWER THEIR WAY TO BONUS POINT WIN
MERTHYR 29 BRIDGEND RAVENS 12(Saturday 11th January 2020)
The ironmen continued their fine form with a fourth win in a row over fellow strugglers Bridgend ravens at a wet and windy wern. The win earned the ironmen a bonus point and they can thank the strength of the Merthyr pack that done all the damage. Constant early pressure from the Merthyr 8 pinned the Ravens deep inside their own 25 and after several pick and drives from number 8 Phil Rees and captain Craig Locke, Bridgend were reduced to 14 men when flanker Adam O’Driscoll was yellow carded for pulling a drive down. Merthyr kept the pressure on the Bridgend scrum and shoved them backwards at the set piece and following several drives Match Referee Aled Evans awarded a penalty try as the Bridgend pack collapsed the drive. There was no let up for the Bridgend side as the ironmen piled the pressure on and as soon as O’Driscoll returned Bridgend received a second yellow card when Loose head prop Rhodri Apsee collapsed a driving scrum. From the penalty Merthyr elected for the scrum and drove Bridgend over the line with number 8 Phil Rees touching down, back came Merthyr once again keeping the pressure on Bridgend and when a lineout near the Bridgend line was driven forward back row man Jake Thomas crashed over for Merthyr’s 3rd try, full back Matthew Jarvis converting to give Merthyr a 19-0 lead. Merthyr should have extended the lead further when centre Arron Pinches broke from mid-field, but his kick ahead went dead. Jarvis stretched the Merthyr lead early in the second with a well struck penalty from 30 meters. Credit to the Ravens they never gave up and tried to string several phases together and this was rewarded scrum half Chris Williams darted over near the Merthyr line, full back and ex-ironman Owen Howe converting to close the gap 22-7. Any thoughts of a fight back never materialized as the Merthyr pack kept the pressure on the visitors with driving scrums and lineouts, however the Ravens did manage a second try thanks to neat work from replacement scrum half Connor Tantum who reduced the score 22-12 with very little time remaining. However it was Merthyr that had the final say when they drove a lineout near the Ravens line and up popped replacement scrum Rhys Downs who weaved his way over for the ironmen’s 4th try, Jarvis converted and Merthyr had run out comfortable winners 29-12. It was the power of the Merthyr pack that won this game for the ironmen which was well led by captain Craig Locke and mention also to young hooker Ieuan Morris who had a fine game in the loose. Behind the scrum outside half Rhys Jones dictated play with his clever touch kicks and centre Arron Pinches looked very dangerous with ball in hand. The win moves the ironmen up into joint second place in the league table. Merthyr travel to the Talbot Athletic ground this weekend to face the “wizards” of Aberavon and hope to avenge an earlier defeat when they lost 22-29 at the wern.
Merthyr: 15 M Jarvis,14 S Jones,13 R Davies,12 A Pinches,11 L Lloyd,10 R Jones,9 A Hoskins,1 C Phillips,2 I Morris,3 J Gilding,4 B Murphy,5 C Locke©, 6 J Thomas,7 J Thomas,8 P Rees, 16 S Evans,17 R Thomas,18 R Lewis, 19 J Downs,20 T Daley, 21 B Sier,22 R Downs,23 H Thomson,
Scorers, Pen Try, P Rees 1t, J Thomas 1t, R Downs 1t, M Jarvis 2c, 1pen
Referee, Aled Evans(wru).