12 November 2023 / Club News

Admiral National League Division 1 East Central Mountain Ash 46 Barry 14

Report by Ken Watkins

This was a gutsy and determined performance from Barry, forced to play from the start with just 14 men. For the best part of an hour they had unbeaten Mountain Ash worried before, almost inevitably, the extra man paid off for the home side.
With only two front row specialists available to the Bombers because of injury and work commitments, the match was played with uncontested scrums. But for almost an hour Barry matched The Old Firm, and midway through the second half were just three points adrift at 17-14.
With Dan Davies on police duty in London, and Barry’s attempts on Friday to get a permit prop unsuccessful, head coach Mike Morgan had no option but to change the original game plan at virtually the last minute. Essentially it was “no rugby in our half. For 60 minutes we kicked, kicked and kicked. Good teams don’t like playing from the back.”
Playing at Mountain Ash is hard enough with a full side. “With 14 men it’s a really difficult task,” said Morgan. “The task we set the players today was massive. To stay in and be within a whisker of potentially sneaking it is a massive positive. It could have gone either way.”
He praised the heart, commitment and dedication of the players, and for largely sticking to the game plan. “But at 17-14 we started playing in our own half, moved away from the game plan and allowed a very good team to capitalise. We need to know how to finish a game.”
Barry trailed 17-3 at the interval, Einan Scott lading a penalty in the ninth minute, and made a positive start to the second half. Alyn Evans touched down following a lineout catch and drive, a long drive from just inside the 22, in the 42nd minute, and Scott added further penalties in the 47th and 52nd minutes to put the Bombers within three points of their hosts. 
Mountain Ash: tries – Steffan Calderbank (4 minutes), Jordan Burke (20), Jarrad Parfitt (56), Steven Coomber (66), Morgan James (70), Iestyn Roberts (73); conv – Jayden Pugh (4, 20, 56, 66, 70); pen – Pugh (33, 63).
*Barry are in process of rebuilding, and Morgan is enthusiastic about the pathway to progress for the 12 to 18 age groups, and the quality of players coming through from all of them. Significantly, ten of the players in Saturday’s squad at Parc Dyffryn Pennar were under 20.
*There are two matches at the Reservoir Field on Saturday. Barry host St Joseph’s in the league (2.30pm), the visitors winning three and losing three of their fixtures so far. Barrians, the club’s Second team, are home to Old Penarthians in a friendly.

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