125th Anniversary Game
LLANHARAN 0 BRIDGEND 45
Bridgend brought Llanharan’s 125th anniversary season to a close in unceremonious manner by inflicting a seven tries drubbing on their hosts.
If nothing else it served as a reminder to the Dairyfield faithful of what they must aspire to if they are to recapture those halcyon days back in 2004 when they too were a premiership club and actually beat their neighbours 24-23.
Now, of course, two divisions separate them and whilst the home side lacked nothing in effort and bravery, the difference in operational effectiveness was clear to see.
Even in the second quarter, when Llanharan had their best spell with Kieran Martin’s pack going well, they were being driven back in the tackle and saw their opponents snap up turnovers and utilise speed and skill to turn the tide.
The connection between the two clubs is a strong one, with the Brewery Field’s touchline team embracing former Dairymen in Ed Griffiths, Gareth Edwards and Grant Hall, the last two named actually playing for the Black and Blues in that far off victory.
On the field too the Bridgend squad was littered with those who have worn the Llanharan shirt, and it was one of them, scrum half Will Baird, who raced away for an early opener, soon followed by left wing speedster Dan Howells.
But as Llanharan settled down play moved very much to the other end.
A typical Chis Poole break just failed to link up, and Gethin Cashmore was then held up over the line after more quality Martin lineout ball.
A lightning break from Ross Pritchard backed up by Martin, followed by Morgan Williams’ finger time failure to take Scott Jones’s high kick to the corner flag made it very much game on.
However, Bridgend survived, with outside half David Lloyd shrugging off tackles to score and convert, only an excellent Jamie Williams tackle stopping Howells adding another.
At 17-0 adrift and up the slope Llanharan were clearly up against it after the turn around and, with a host of replacements understandably reflecting the occasion but also disrupting the team shape, the away team picked off four more tries at regular intervals though Owain Lloyd, Morgan Jones, Callum Powell and Mike Powell.
David Lloyd converted one and Ryan Evans, yet another old Dairyfield man, added three more, but Pritchard epitomised the Llanharan spirit as he brought down Jack Thompson with a great late tackle.to bring the curtain down on the season for Llanharan who must now wait anxiously as their One East Central competition plays itself out, relegation still an outside possibility.
All at the Dairyfield will be hoping the threat doesn’t materialise so that the promising signs in a campaign of essential rebuilding can be profitably developed.