A STEP BACK IN TIME
Sporting Diary by “Cardinal.”
(By kind permission of the Carmarthen Journal)
“EXCITEMENT IN THE MUD”
“Quins let Cefneithin off the Hook.”
(By Paul Jones)
11th October 1963
Carmarthen 3pts: Cefneithin 3pts.
Torrents of rain made anything like open rugby hopeless – the slithering ball squirted about like an orange pip and the game developed into a great struggle between the packs. The excitement, therefore, did not come from thrilling back play or from the rugged forward clash, but from the “tense cup atmosphere” which gripped you right through the game. After this mud bath struggle, no doubt the 30 gallant players were glad to get under the showers. Early in the game, the pattern of play was obvious, with the packs sniffing and weighing each other up like two large dogs prior to a bout of real belligerence.
Both set of halves made bosom friends of the touch line and the ‘boot to touch’ was the main method of attack from both sides. Cefneithin’s pack cohesion balanced the greater power of Carmarthen but when the scales did tip it was more often in Carmarthen’s favour. Carmarthen had their chances, but they left Cefneithin off the hook. R=The pack surging forward, pushing the Cefneithin eight in front of them often came within feet of the Cefneithin line. But they were more often than not penalised for scrummage infringements and this relieved the pressure for Cefneithin and spoilt good forward play by Carmarthen.
The referee, I noticed seemed to ignore infringements which occurred in midfield but was very strict with the whistle inside the 25-yard line on both ends of the field. The weapon which seemed to be the most menacing for Cefneithin was the high diagonal kick – and not surprising as the ball was slippery and difficult to handle. Every time the Cefneithin defence had to deal with a high kick, they often fumbled, and the Carmarthen forwards were able to take advantage. It was a pity from Carmarthen’s point of view that they did not use the diagonal kick more often.
A good instance of this was towards the end of the game when Cefneithin’s full-back Lance Roderick fumbled with a high kick. Carmarthen’s winger Tudor Lewis pulled his man away from the ball, but Carmarthen failed to take the chance. Cefneithin always looked dangerous in their spells of supremacy and the game was wide open right up until the final whistle.
Having seen Cefneithin backs in action during the recent seven-a-side tournament at Pontyberem and knowing the capabilities of the Carmarthen threequarters, it was a great pity that the conditions did not invite open play which we might have seen as, opposed to churning up the mud. Carmarthen looked as if they were going to clinch the game in the first half, for they took an early lead through wing forward Delme Davies after a scrum five yards out. But no one was to know that if Windsor Marks had got the conversion, then all their worries would have been over. But Cefneithin drew level with a penalty by Clive Thomas.
Carmarthen’s full-back Royston Davies was the best of the Carmarthen side. He was equal to all calls made upon him and much sounder than his opposite number Roderick. Carmarthen’s halves, Keith Lewis and Windsor Marks showed one or two deft touches, especially Marks, who on one occasion brought the Carmarthen supporters to their feet and froze the Cefneithin followers when he broke through and beat three men before being brought down inside the 25. There was some vigorous play among the forwards, especially when spirits overflowed, and Carmarthen’s Barrie Jackson was responsible for putting a great deal more fire into the Cefneithin pack.
Never before can I remember criticising Tudor Lewis, but this time I must have a go at him for his below average performance. I am sure that with a little more determination he could have gathered one or two loose balls and with his speed would have had a good chance of going over in the corner. This time I will leave hooker Brian Davies off the hook. He gained a fair share of the ball although he often did it illegally. Of the Cefneithin side it would be unfair to single out any special player. The pack played well together although failing to take command of the duel up front. Colin Thomas was prominent and Eifion Morgan showed a good turn of speed.