Sunday, 10 April 2016

Cardiff RFC 16 v 42 Carmarthen Quins RFC

Saturday 9th April 2016
Welsh Premier Division (Rugby Union)
Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff
Admission: £12.00
Programme: £2.00
Attendance: 500 (estimate)
Match Rating: 3

As I set out this morning on another bargain £2 return coach trip to Cardiff with Megabus, I was looking forward to taking in a Welsh League football match at Dinas Powys or Cambrian & Clydach today. However two long traffic jams along the M4 en route meant that I arrived in Cardiff an hour and a half late, at 2.15, meant that I wouldn't arrive at Dinas Powys until well into the first half and so instead I decided to take in some rugby union at an iconic venue. The game had an added appeal for me with the visitors hailing from what was my home town a while back.

The Cardiff Arms Park is situated immediately adjacent to the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff city centre. Organisation was rather low key for today's fixture, with ticket windows and turnstiles not in operation, instead spectators simply handed over their admission fee at a programme stall in the corner of the ground where the clubhouse, club shop and burger van are located. Spectators today were primarily housed in a stand running along one length and which backs onto the Millennium Stadium, offering seating above terracing, and with hospitality boxes above the middle section of seating. A similar stand, but without any hospitality boxes, stretches along the opposite length, although this was out of bounds today. Behind one end there is quite an attractive brick building housing two rows of corporate boxes, whilst behind the other end is another, slightly smaller brick building with corporate boxes along the top and a few rows of seating along the bottom. It’s a neat, attractive and intimate ground which would presumably offer a really good atmosphere at a higher profile game, such as when the regional Cardiff Blues team are playing. The 24 page programme was very attractively and professionally produced, but was light on content.

This match would pitch together two teams struggling at the wrong end of the table. Cardiff came into this game in ninth place in the 12 team division, with seven wins and twelve defeats from their 19 League games, and have 37 points on the board. They had lost their three previous games. Carmarthen were second bottom, with five wins and 14 defeats  and 28 points in total. They surprisingly won at Newport in midweek following a couple of defeats. When the two teams met back in October, Cardiff won 30-22.

On a sunny but chilly afternoon, the match started rather low key, with the first score not arriving until the 21st minute, when Cardiff kicked a penalty for two points. The visitors hit back with two converted tries though, before Cardiff scored a converted try of their own, and so Carmarthen went into the half time break 10-16 ahead - tries being worth six points with conversions and penalties scoring two in a trial in this league this season.

Carmarthen seized the initiative in the second half and soon pulled away to build towards a comfortable win. They scored a converted try within two minutes of the restart, and converted their fourth try to claim a bonus point on 56 minutes. Cardiff gave themselves a faint hope of a comeback when they scored an unconverted try on 58 minutes following a great run from deep, but Carmarthen held firm and despite having a man shown a yellow card in the closing minutes, they were still able to score a fifth converted try.

So, a convincing win for Carmarthen after a dominant performance after a slow start, and rose one place in the table. Whilst it was disappointing to not take in a football game today, this was a case of 'better than nothing', and although the atmosphere was very low key at this match, it did make a nice change to watch some rugby in a decent stadium.


Cardiff - Try: Elis Wyn Benham, Morgan Sieniawski; Conversion: James Whittingham; Penalty: James Whittingham

Carmarthen Quins- Tries: Kieran Hardy, Gavin Thomas, Josh Helps, Iolo Wyn Evans, Ian Jones; Conversions: Steve Shingler (2), Callum Price (3).Penalty: Callum Price

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