St Clears RFC vs Furnace United RFC
Saturday 27th August
Furnace were on the road once again for their second friendly of the 2016-17 season. This time, it was a little further afield with a trip down west to St Clears RFC. The fixture would also be the last pre-season game before the season gets underway the following week. Because of this and the fact that the cherries love a good social Harri Thomas was nominated as the party planner and organised a good trip home following the match.
The hosts who ply their trade in Division 3 West A have had a very successful preseason following a big recruitment drive. This was evident as the cherries arrived and witnessed around 25-30 players warming up before the game. Unlike last week, the weather conditions were perfect. The sun was out, the playing surface fantastic and the referee seemed keen to play a fast open game. Unfortunately, due to holidays and work commitments Furnace made the trip with around 10 players unavailable. It shows how far the club has come that not only were we able to fulfil the fixture but we also travelled with a full matchday squad and 5 front row forwards. Whilst not being ideal, it did give the coaches a chance to look at some new combinations and try people out in new positions. It was also a big day for a few players as they pulled on the Furnace jersey for the first time.
Furnace won the toss and opted to receive the ball from the kick off. The first 10 to 15 minutes saw both teams testing each other out. It was tit for tat with both teams playing some good rugby. The big positive from a Furnace point of view was the dominance in the set-piece. The line-outs, which new player coach Chris “Vinnie” Jones, had worked on in training were immaculate with the cherries seeing a lot of the ball. The scrum was also a big improvement on the week before with Furnace winning every scrum plus pinching a few against the head.
The first try came from some good interplay between the forwards and backs. A ruck was set up in St Clears’ half before the ball was spread wide. Dean Richards spotted the defence overchasing and threw an outrageous dummy. He offloaded and the ball went through the hands of Jamie Herbert and Rhys Phillips who was hauled down just short of the try-line. From here an unanticipated pick and go from wing Andrew Billington saw him wrestle his way over the whitewash for a try. The conversion was missed leaving the score 5-0 to the cherries. The rest of the first half saw St Clears building pressure and running in a couple of tries of their own. It was a disappointment to concede some tries through simple missed tackles and our own mistakes, which was a total opposite from last week. However credit must go our hosts who played with real width in their game and looked to attack at every opportunity. The half ended with St Clears leading 14-5.
Following the break and with tactics from the coaches fresh in the heads of the players, the second half got off to a positive start. A strong run from the back of the scrum from man of the match Gruff Thomas got the cherries on the front foot. The ball then went wide and was recycled efficiently. This attracted the defence and the space opened up on the far side. Jamie Herbert saw this and called for the ball which then was passed to Oli Lewis. Faced with a 3v2 opportunity he threw a perfectly weighted miss pass to man of the moment Andrew Billington who showed a clean pair of heels to finish well in the corner.
Unfortunately, that was it with regards to Furnace points in the game with the hosts running in some more well worked tries to make the final score 40-10. As was mentioned previously the set-piece was a big positive to take from the game as well as all the boys who made their debuts. We would like to thank St Clears for their hospitality and wish them well for their forthcoming league campaign. I’m sure they will be challenging at the top end if today’s performance is anything to go by.
It was also a historic day for the club as brothers Harri, Gruff and Lloyd Thomas all played together for the first time. We are still looking to see if this is a first for the club as no one can remember this being done before. With Berian Watkins recently signing a dual contact with Furnace and Llandovery he could look to equal the feat and take the field with his two brothers Dyfan and Rhydian sometime in the near future.
Even though the result didn’t go the cherries way, all the lads changed into their Olympic Theme fancy dress and enjoyed the rest of their night. The last blowout before the season starts in earnest next week.
Furnace RFC would also like to send our condolences to the family of Scarlets Under 16’s player William Thomas who tragically passed away last week. Having formed links as a club with Llanelli Mind last season we would encourage everybody out there, especially young men that #itsoktotalk.
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