Match Reports 11-12

Rocks First XV v Nelson: Saturday 14th April
Rocks Youth v Penarth Youth 

The Seniors have a good Win & The Youth Crowned league Champions.

Congratulations to the Youth who beat Penarth 30-21 in an entertaining game that secured them as league winners. This is a great achievement for the not only the Lads but for Don Gallagher who have been involved with the last year youth from a very young age through the minis and has seen them through to this great achievement. They were backed with the inclusion of Paul Rings first years youth boys who had a big influence in becoming champions and supported by youth chairman Vince Nolan & Medical Man Wazza well-done to all involved  players & coaches you have done the club pround and with a new batch of quality 16s coming up next season the future is looking bright and hopefully more silver wear coming our way.

I would like to say a big well-done & good luck to Joshua Dunleavy, Josh Burridge, Lewis Dawes, Tom O’Brien, Rob Ryan, Martyn Hill, Dan Gallagher, Mat O’Brien, Jack Cooke, Owain Meredith who join Ed Dobbs becoming senior rocks next season. It will not be such a big step up as most have been exposed to senior 1st team rugby during this season, I look forward to working with them next season.

Now on to the first team After two good back to back wins against Fairwater & Brecon it was a show down with Nelson that would either finish the season or keep the interest going right to the last game against Toneyrefail. I am glad to report the latter after a good hard fought win 15-11 against a very competitive team.  After the good result of late and with our promotional hopes still hanging on you would have thought selection would be straight forward NOT! The first blow was the loss of Tight Head Ed Dobbs due to being on holiday, then hooker Lee Imperatoe, & second row Chris Lewis and with the Youth playing such a big game it was not possible to take players. So to the rescue second team stalwarts JP Murphy & Paul O’Brien stepped up to the plate and as true clubmen didn’t let the side down. We were given a bonus with the return from Injury to Tight Head Andrew Omarlia.

So the starting team had a very different look to it with Nathan Whetton (Frosty) like a true clubman putting himself forward to start in the unfamiliar Tight Head position and Obie at Hooker joined with JP Murphy in the second row alongside Cousin & Captain Matthew Murphy (2 true Rocks through & through). It’s not often mentioned but if games can be won in the changing rooms I think this one was Mat Murphy Captain style for anyone who knows him is not ranting and raving frothing at the mouth he leaves this to others, so over to his vice-captain Sonny Driscoll. I have to say his motivational passionate speech was enough to get everyone up for the job in hand, it was like stepping back to the days of great St Peters Motivators gone by.

The game itself was always going to be a tight run affair so it was important to be patient and work hard in defense. Playing against the wind the back three of Ben Foley, Paul Davis & Mat Arnold had to be on their toes against a very good Nelson 10 who’s kicking game would keep us pinned back. The first score came for Nelson a penalty 3-0 after a couple of misses from Dia Mitchell, the Rocks hit back with good score after good ball retention and a nice off load from Rob O’Brien who feed Dia Mitchell to crash over conversion missed 5-3.

Nelson then stepped up the pressure and moved the ball wide, unfortunately a decision to blitz up left from our defender caught him in no-man’s land and gave Nelson Full Back a chip through and a foot race with covering flanker Lewis Dunleavy who despite his best efforts got foiled by the bounce of the ball to allow the Full back to gather and fall over to touch down 8-5. The game didn’t really offer much more but both sides had chances to put more points on the board but the wind was very much a factor in some un-characteristic misses from both sides so 8-5 at Half time.

With the wind with the Rocks the call was to use it wisely but don’t really on it, Nelson are a good running team and build phases through a well organised pack of forwards so the wind would be more favourable to the type of running game. As the first half the first score came from Nelson through a penalty 11-5. The rocks were then dealt a big blow with Centre Sonny Driscoll being yellow carded for a dangerous tackle. This gave the boys the incentive to step up the work rate and they did just that holding out the ten minutes without conceding in fact the Nelson flanker was given a yellow for an infringement at the ruck. This put the Rocks on the front foot creating a few chances to score it was only good solid defence and last ditched tackles that kept us out.

Enter the frame back from injury Dan French a player that’s missed out a few crucial games got his rewards for his patients with a try and his first touch of the ball after good work from forwards and backs 12-11 (you can imagine what he was like all night). With 15 minutes still to play the game was still in the balance but Nelson were then given another yellow leaving then down to 13 men for a few minutes. The ascendency was with the Rocks but to be fair to Nelson they worked hard in D to halt chances to score. The next score added would be a kick from Dia Mitchell to take the score to 15-11. The last 10 minutes was nail-biting both teams offering up chances in this arm wrestle of a game, then yet again the ref gave another yellow to the rocks with 8 minutes left for a questionable offence at the ruck. This gave Nelson a big boost and they through everything at us. With no time left we were awarded a lineout 10 metres out but we were forced to set up a ruck, step in Dan French to just kick the ball out what happened next he only knows! Somehow he managed to kick the ball into the face of a Nelson player forcing a turnover (yes honest), all of a sudden the Nelson team came back to life and the ball was moved to 10 who put in  a cross field kick towards there full back, lucky for us & Frenchy the ever reliable Paul Davis was on hand to field the kick and call the mark, ball into touch game over 4 valuable league points.

Everyone stood up today a great team performance especially from JP Murphy, Obie & Andrew Omarlia, we also welcomed back Jack Gibbo Smith from his long term injury. This result now puts us in a three horse race for second spot with Nelson & Rhiwbina  we have Tonyrefail left  to play date TBC. We are dependent on Fairwater & Dowlias pull off results against Nelson & Rhiwbina to set up a big weekend 5th of May were they both play each other. After today I think Nelson are well up for the challenge.

The plan will be to play a couple of club games until the end of April at the moment the final League game against Tonyrefail has been pencilled in for the 5th of May but we are trying to play it sooner.

Rocks Under 17s v Blackwood: Saturday 7th April

Report by Vince Nolan

Given the strength in depth coming through the Junior ranks and into the Youth set-up we have a number of Under 17’s games planned for the end of the season.  This started on Saturday with an invitation to go and play at Blackwood against their Under 17’s team.  Unfortunately a number of call-offs left the Blackwood team seriously depleted before kick-off and we took full advantage of this by running out winners 51-5.  Despite the score our hosts did not stop tackling and at no stage gave up.  Our grateful thanks to the Blackwood coaches for arranging the fixture at short notice which was played in an excellent spirit and well refereed.  Watch this space for further Under 17’s games.  One has been arranged at Rhiwbina for the 28th April.  Llandaff and Dinas Powis are also keen to arrange friendlies at this age group.

Rocks First XV v Fairwater: Saturday 31st March

Rocks First XV v Brecon: 

Report by John Dunleavy

Two Good wins back to back keeps the Interest & Hopes alive

The six nations over a great campaign I have to say winning another Grand Slam it was back to earth with a bang. After a bonus point Win against Gwenyffrydd gave us a slight glimmer of hope going to League leaders Llanishern, unfortunately we fell short but showed the sort of spirit that would keep the hopes alive.

Next up was Fairwater a fixture that earlier in the season did us no favours in our endeavour for progression into Div 2 loosing heavily. The balance of power had changed where as in years gone by Fairwarter would have used the underdog status as energy to beat us. Instead we had to raise our game to turn around the embarrassment of the previous encounter. The game was never going to be a spectacle for open running rugby more of a battle of wills. The game itself was marred by the sending off of one of Fairwaters  back row for allegedly stamping on the head of one of the St Peters players, this left Fairwater down to 14 men for a good hour of the game. The game was dominated by the boot of David Mitchell kicking 15 of the 25 points scored Mat Obrien & Paul Davis touching down for a try a piece. Fairwaters response was 2 tries of their own. The final score was 25-14 a good win against a very physical team. The stand out performers were Newly elected captain Mathew Murphy, Debutant Mat O’Brien and Man of the Match David Mitchell.

Last weekend we welcomed Brecon who have had a good run of form this season beating some inform teams home and away, after a big win last week over Nelson at Nelson this game was not going to be a push over. It’s quite widely known that sides like Brecon don’t really travel well but this does not seem to be the case with this team. We knew that a win today would put us back within a few points of Nelson who sit in second place and have to visit us the following week.

We started well but it was clear that Brecon had come out to spoil the party and not lie down, they are a very well organised defensive team who look for opportunities to counter attack from turnovers and loose kicking. We were aware of the threat but kept trying to play rugby in the wrong areas luckily for us we defended well enough not to be punished for the poor play. The tries came through O Lloyd, O Smith & Mat Murphy with Dan French kicking 9 points. Brecon got a couple of tries in reply & 8 points of the boot.

This was a step up from the last few encounters and Brecon have certainly improved as a team with their resilience in defence there was no rest bit, but one thing we have ourselves is resilience and a good team spirit not to give up. We were unfortunately down to 14 men with 10 minutes to go but would not give up the ghost we held on camped on the line for what seemed to be an eternity but would not let them through, a great match winning turnover from Youth loose Head Josh Burridge relieved the pressure that secured the 4 points. The whole team stood up today but lead again by Skipper Mathew Murphy from the front, other improved performances coming from Owen Smith, Sonny Driscoll & Dan French returning from injury.

This now puts us 2 points behind Nelson who we host on Saturday at the Harlequins 2.30 Kick off for our last home game of the season, this one don’t need to be built up we know what there about and we know what we have to do. They will be a tough challenge now they are looking over their shoulder at us, it will be a mouth-watering game so please make the effort to come along and support the Boys. The youth are also playing to win the league Saturday at home so good luck to them as well.

Rocks First XV v Gwernyfed First XV: Saturday 3rd March

Report as seen from the Gwernyfed point of view Well worth a read.

Rocks close the gap with a good win.

 After the disruption of Six Nations it was back to league action at home against Powys based Gwenyfrdd. The added spice was that Nelson 1st & Llanishern 2nd were playing each other which presented an opportunity to close the gap at the top with a good win.

 Playing against the wind forced the Rocks to keep possession and carry from deep by building phases, this was working nicely and did cause problems for Gwen’s defensive structure. The forwards working with the backs at the breakdown was working and given the rocks plenty of ball but as in previous game slight indiscipline proved the undoing of all the hard yards gained. The result of the indiscipline forced Gwen to kick the Rocks back deep into their 22, but the defence held out led by flanker Rhys Andrews who had an outstanding performance in the loose. The wind was a factor but the resilience in defence shown by the Rocks just knocked the Gwen attack back.

 The rocks on the up and confidence growing the first try was on the cards after a good build up and 8-9 phases it was 2nd row Matthew Murphy who pooped up to score under the posts 7-0. Again working against the wind taking the kick off deep the rocks rang the ball wide to wing Dan Evans who chipped the ball and forced a knock on which resulted in a Rocks Scrum. From the scrum the next score came after a set move linking Dan Evans to put fellow wing Ben Foley away to run 40 metres and beat the cover defence to score under the posts 14-0. The half closing Gwen again ended up on the Rocks line after conceding yet another penalty the result this time was a score from a good Gwen driving lineout a signature piece of the game 14-5 HT against the wind we would have taking 1 try conceded.

  The call for the 2nd half was to stay composed don’t play to much in our half use the wind and force Gwen back. From restart a good catch from Matthew Murphy set the Rocks up to ping the ball down the field, a good kick from outside half Gavin Cooper who put some height on the kick and let the elements do the rest forced the errors, this gave the rocks the opportunity to build there phases through backs and forwards. This created a try for 2nd row Matt Khan who ran 20 metres to score in the corner 19-5. The rocks then put added another 6 points to take them to 25 -5.

 Three tries in the bag and with 20 minutes to play what happen next on the man in the middle could explain first Lewis Dunleavy received a yellow card for a team offence, then a minute later Captain Tom Nolan & Flanker Rhys Andrews were both shown yellow cards for the same offence of off side, 2 players yellow carded for the same thing at the same breakdown??? Now down to 12 men the call was to make sure we didn’t over commit at the breakdowns and with Gwen deciding to go wide rather than tying us up in to rucks was a relief. The Rocks holding out turned ball over and broke off down the field unfortunately a bit of panic and a loose kick gave Gwen the opportunity to score 25-12.  After the good defensive work the Rocks were restored back to 15 with 8 or 9 minutes left the call was to turn up the heat and go for the 4th try, it was from a good steal from the Lineout from back row Lewis Dunleavy who ran 20 metres towards the line just to be halted but had the dependable Rhys Andrews on his shoulder who supported him and fed no8 Jack Smith to score 30-12 BP in the bag. The next game is against Llanishern away who beat league leaders Nelson away a result which has brought the top three closer and making the next game for us even more exciting.

 The youth were unlucky to go down to Pentyrch at home but with two homes games left in the league the hopes are still alive and the destiny of the league is still in their hands but cannot afford anymore slip ups. The 2nds had a good win against Cambrian Welfare 2nds who to their credit didn’t give up against a strong inform 2 gang.

 Next weekend is another international break but there is a Scottish touring team travelling to Cardiff to get their knees dirty against a whoever turns up team and enjoy the hospitality that Cardiff can offer. The club are also off on tour to Jersey this weekend will include also game on Saturday against Jersey and a 70s fancy dress in the evening, am sure resident photographer KOB will have plenty of snaps to put on to the club web site (edited of course) next week.  Good luck to the people of Jersey and the 28 travelling Rocks I sure the relationship between the UK and the Channel Islands will on be stronger after (let’s hope!).

 The game was important as far as the run in was concerned with some tough games coming up we needed this test to get us back into the swing of things. The Rocks showed great character today even with 3 men down everyone worked for tirelessly each other it was a good team performance that gave us the deserved victory over a difficult team. The stand out performances can from all the forwards but the stand out was Rhys Andrews who work around the break down was a major factor in today’s result, in the backs the hard running of Joe Davis created opportunities every time he had the ball, but again full back Mat Arnold stole the show with another solid display.

Pencoed Second XV v Rocks Second XV: Saturday 11th February

It's Jimmy the Drop!

Its Jimmy the Drop!

Drop Goal King Mullane,

The only game that went ahead for the Rocks Saturday was the 2nds away to Pencoed 2nds both teams had  an agreed sprinkling of 1st team players which made for a well-balanced game.

The positive start came from the Rocks trying to run everything when maybe a kick would have been a better option but it was a friendly so why not! To their peril 2 mistakes from playing an open game led to 2 tries being conceded in the first 20 minutes 12-0. The rocks finally got going with some good carries in the Mid field from Rhys Andrews who should have scored at least two tries but for his the ball being forced out of his hands in the contact. All the play was from the rocks and there reward came with a good break from Jack Smith who fed debutant Nick Saunders to score in the corner 12-5.

The momentum clearly with the Rocks and with the Pencoed mistakes creeping it was just a matter of time before the next try came, again after some good build up play Jack Smith came up with the ball to run in after fending off a number of would be tacklers 12-10.  The next try came from more good hard carries setting up Dan French to finish off 15-12. The second half would be a challenge with Pencoed bringing on the big guns to try and stop the Rocks momentum, this did cause a few worrying moments but all Pencoed could manage was 3 points 15-15 and the Rocks defence holding out. With 7 minutes or so to play a good build up that outside half put Jimmy Ray in a position to hit a sweet 25 yard drop goal which turned out to be the winning score 15-18 good win away.

There was nothing on the game apart from pride and that’s what the Rocks showed plenty of along with the determination to play for each other and come away with a good win.

Nelson v Rocks First XV: Saturday 28th January

Report by John Dunleavy

Great Start but missed tackles proved costly.

The First team made the second trip of the season away to Nelson in the Swalec Plate, the last encounter in the league produced a thrilling 21-21 draw. The Rocks without 5 key players for the trip & only 2 fit subs had to reshuffle things around last minute. The main changes were Dan Evans starting at 10 and Rob Lewis in for his 3rd first team start coming in to the 2nd Row & Big Ben Davies in the centre.

The call was to take the game to the opposition up front and play with good tempo, this was the case from the start with the forwards dominating at the set piece this gave us the front foot ball to play the corners. The Nelson game plan to their credit was to run everything back from deep through long stretching touchline passes a gamble that proved costly when the ball was dropped and turned over. This gave us the Rocks the ascendency to go on the attack and with the control of half backs Scott Obrien & Dan Evans they kept the defence honest and pinned back.

The first try came from a lineout 10 yards out the resulting catch & drive saw no8 Rob O’Brien over in the corner Evans converting 7-0. This is where you think Nelson will reform and come back  surprisingly no with all the play coming from the Rocks it was only minutes before the next try was scored from Scott Obrien playing 9 Evans again Converting 14-0. Nelson then put a bit of pressure on the rocks and were rewarded with 3 points. 

The Hard running from Big Ben in the centre was causing all sorts of problems it was hid run that set up Scott O’Brien up for his try, the Nelson enforcers realised this and tried to stop him after the ball on more than one occasion this didn’t work. The next run from Ben draw the would be tackles in and fed Rob O’Brien with an inside pass he rang on and fed Ben Foley on the wing who beat his man to touch down 19-3. The one turning point of the game was to come from the resulting kick off when Rob Lewis (self-employed plumber) was taken out on his blind side which resulted in a dislocated AC joint in the shoulder the punishment was a mere yellow card for the Nelson player for Rob an operation & 6-8 weeks off work. This forced an early change which saw Luke Dyer make his debut for the Rocks. The disruption worked in the favour of the home team as Nelson soon hit back with a try of their own late into the 2nd half created after really some poor uncharacteristic tackling from the rocks  19-10 half time.

The 2nd half saw Nelson make a couple of changes to try and save the game the introduction of outside half Dan Jones was the change to get them on the front foot. The Rocks were under pressure but still holding on at 19-16 with 20 minutes left but you felt it was only a matter of time before the home side would get there rewards. The game breaker came after a miss tackle from our overseas player which resulted in a scramble back by Centre Bryn Evans who halted the attack with a tackle that the referee felt was a little high the result a yellow card. Unfortunately this proved costly with the rocks conceding two converted tries 30-19 in the 10 minute period.  The Rocks with nothing to lose through everything at Nelson and the pressure was rewarded with a Penalty 30-22 with 13 minutes to play. The game still in the balance and Nelson tiring the confidence was restored and the fight back was on after a series of penalties and tap and goes led by Youth tight head Ed Dobbs you felt it was only a matter of time, but that was the thing time was running out. Now with 5 minutes left and all the pressure coming from the Rocks what we thought was a try scored in the corner but only to be turned down by the referee who said there was a slight obstruction when crossing the line a very harsh call, the resulting penalty was awarded  to Nelson with minutes left the chance had gone.

As a result of the penalty the lineout was driven some 15 metres deep into the Rocks half and somehow the Nelson forward appeared with the ball to run in 30 metres to touch down 35-22 a bit flattering in the end I am sure they would agree. The rocks boys have had a couple of tough weeks and Nelson is not the place to go for sympathy, there tactics make them a hard team to break down but the boys all fronted up and didn’t take a backward step even when they tried to intimidate, there were a few off the ball cheap shots going in which was missed by the official but they have been logged for what could be a massive league decider at home towards the end of the season.

The stand out performances were from Man of the Match Scott O’Brien closely followed by full back Matt Arnold & Big Ben Davies, up front Ed Dobbs at 18 was again outstanding along New signing Mike Catriss, Rob O’Brien had probably his best game so far he had everything thrown at him kicked, and just stood up and got on with it he is starting to find his fitness and form. Our best wishes go out to Rob Lewis for a speedy recovery and a return to action.

This game was lost today due to the 3 or 4 miss tackles in crucial areas, Nelson did take advantage of this but it could have been unjustly worsened if passes had stuck. The Rocks can take a bit of heart from the gutsy performance that will give us the confidence and belief to push on and  with a number of players to come back in its still all to play for in the league.

I would like to thank the Nelson Committee for the hospitality provided for our committee after the game it’s a pity none of them were there to enjoy it????   

Next weekend is a friendly against Pencoed 1sts at the Harlequins 2.30 kick off followed by RoXs factor a tour fund raiser for the Seniors & Youth starting at 6.30 please support the event.

Rocks First XV v Rhiwbina: Saturday 21st January

Report by John Dunleavy

Mistakes & Controversy proved costly but we didn’t give up.

The much eagerly awaited re-match with Rhiwbina was finally here, this time there was no talk of individual battles and all the focus was on a good team performance. The preparation was all spot on with newly appointed forwards coach  Tim O’Donnell making some improvements to some weakness up front at set piece and we also saw a welcomed return of 5 key players who were missing the week before. We were dealt a big blow before the game with Sonny Driscoll not showing up for reasons we still don’t know, so this forced a change in the Mid Field with the ever dependable Danny Evans stepping to the 12 slot.

Winning the toss we chose to go against the wind as it has paid dividends in past games but this time was to prove to be a crucial call. Rhiwbina kicked off and within a couple of minutes into the game showed their intentions by kicking deep behind the back three and forcing us to run back against the strong wind. This is where the first try came from after a desperate kick out of defence, the ball was forced back down into our 22 and after a good rolling maul the try was scored in the corner. The guys pulled themselves together and went back on the attack but only to be pinned back after some poor handling in contact and resulting turnovers. Again forced to run Dan French made a nice break through the middle of the park just as he was looking to off load he was stripped of the ball and unfortunately as a result of this the squirrels ran the ball back 50 metres through some poor tackles to score there second try 14-0. The next score came from another kicking mistake from the Rocks and some poor tackling gave an easy run in to the corner 19-0 and with two penalties conceded later 25-0.

The game now turned on its head we had no choice but to chase the game, finally waking up you could sense it was just a matter of time before we got on the score board. Now with the momentum with the Rocks and the constant infringements from Rhiwbina the pressure had to give, after 3 penalties being conceded from 5 yards out you would have thought a card was on its way NO not today! but with some good carries Tom Nolan who took great pleasure in Bumping off ex rock Danny Murphy to touch down under the posts so we thought, the ref in the wrong place and couldn’t be sure of the touch down so the try was ruled out! a real game turning decision, after all with half time approaching 25-10 would have given hope of a comeback with the strong wind at our backs unfortunately it was not to be 25-0 HT.

The second half was to be a game of defence and frustration, to be fair to the squirrels they defended every attack and with the help of the sixteenth man every attack would be halted either by him or them. There were two controversial decision’s in the half that you could say cost us try scoring opportunities from the man in the middle, so you could only feel it was not going to be our day. With 20 minutes to go the temperature was starting to rise due to the frustrations of the inconsistent decision’s it was only a matter of time before it kicked off, It started with a player from each side rolling round on the floor nothing to bad, then what can only be described as a cowardly punch from behind on one of the Rocks Forwards from the Rhiwbina second row resulted in a big brawl on the touchline which saw 2 reds for the rocks and 1 red for Rhiwbina shocking unjust decision which proved to be the game breaker.

The 13 men of St Peters didn’t give up and played right till the end but inconsistency and controversial decision’s along with the resilience of the Rhiwbina defence won the day 25-0. The stand out performers were Scott Obrien, Rob O’Brien, Lewis Dunleavy, Tom Nolan & Ed Dobbs in the backs Dan Evans, Mat Arnold & Sean Obrien all had solid games. I have to say that the absence of Sonny Driscoll maybe a big factor in the outcome of the game especially in the first half. If any one does find him please call St Peters he has been chipped so hopefully he will turn up please. The race maybe all but over to win the league but the eye is still on promotion with plenty of rugby to be played.

Read the Rhiwbina report Here.


The youth were unlucky at Dinas Powys losing narrowly, but as with the seniors decision’s proved costly with a number of tries being disallowed, Captain Joshua Dunleavy led by example by being awarded man of the Match, the youth are still looking good at the top of league with 3 games at home to play I am sure the will take this defeat as the boost to push on.  

The only side to carry the flag was Jimmy Mullane 2 Gang, with another good win on the road against the squirrels 2 gang, Flanker Rhys Andrews with another stand out performance, after beating the defending league champs Llanishen the week before and with 2 games left they have to be in with a good chance of taking the spoils at the end of the season and deservedly so.

Next Saturday the first team is away to Nelson in the Swalec Plate, the 2nds are at Home to Glamorgan Wanderers 2nds in the Mallet Cup & the Youth are away to Llanharran Youth in the cup. Good Luck to all 3 teams check the web site for kick off times as they change in the cup rounds due to the possibility of extra time.


Rocks First XV v Pentyrch: Saturday 14th January

Report by John Dunleavy

Pentyrch 15-St Peters 10, Cold on and off the field,

I can only say that complacency, backed with an inapt lack lustre performance was the down fall behind the result Saturday, no excuses we lost this game due to poor discipline and again aimless kicking. This performance was totally out of character of the performances in weeks gone by and no disrespect for Pentych but we beat much harder and more clinical teams in the 2 weeks after Christmas. The talk after was about the promotion chances lost, this is not the case its far from over with the top teams all having to play each other and travel to some nice places were results are difficult to come by. The bottom line is that we cannot afford to slip up anymore if we still want to progress.

The game Saturday started really well with Chris Lewis causing all sorts of problems with his hard running, this gave us a good platform to attack from unfortunately lack of composure and a good resilient defence stopped the 1st score from coming. With all the pressure coming from the Rocks it was a an interception by Tom Nolan that opened the scoring running in from 40 metres out, Gavin Cooper converting.  The next chance came after a penalty being awarded to the Rocks 22 metres out and easy 3 points on offer, a brave but controversial call from the Captain was to go down the line and use the heavy pack to shunt over for the try. Unfortunately the throw was missed and the pressure relieved in a resulting questionable penalty being awarded to Pentyrch.  

Then the moment the game changed after another hard run from Chris Lewis breaking the line eventually he was brought down with a good low tackle that caused him to twist his ankle and having to leave the field 15 minutes into the game This gave Pentyrch a much needed boost of confidence and the Rocks a bit of an early reshuffle with Rob Obrien entering the field. The loss of Chris Lewis seemed to set off a chain of penalties being conceded in key attacking positions. The penalties were not in kickable range but the left boot of the outside half was pain in its self we must have lost 40-50 yards every time we conceded.  Eventually the indiscipline would hurt us after a strange kick into the corner the and a resulting penalty for what we still don’t know lead to a scrum then ruck and a yellow card for Rob Obrien who was penalized for not rolling away despite being trapped under the tackled player. Pentrych’s reward was a try in the corner after a miss tackle for the full back 7-7, five minutes later pentrych kicked a penalty 10-7.

The game stayed this way 20 in to the second half both sides struggling to find a break through, the much more accurate kicking game of Pentych was there best form of attack and it was from this there next score came after a turnover the scrum half somehow got the 2 tackles to crash over from 10 yards out kick missed 15-7. Now behind by 2 scores this seemed to spark a bit of life into the rocks, the first chance came after a good break by centre Bryn Evans who fed the ball through the line only for the last pass to be dropped  into touch. The next chance came after a good build up from the forwards realised Dan French who feed the big Mike who charged into the 22 but to have the ball stripped off him. More chances came but poor execution and dropped ball just gave the ball back to Pentych to clear. Now momentum was with the us and with 15 minutes left I was confident that we would get our rewards.

The game was then quite rightly held up due to a bad injury to one of the Pentyrch lads who was eventually stretched off the pitch, this was the final nail for the Rocks as the 20 minute hold up was enough to slow everything down and take the momentum away, the only we could savage was 3 points from the bot of Dan French who had another solid game 15-10 game over a losing bonus point not really what we aimed for but it could be important in the run in. I would like to send best wishes to the lad who got injured  and hopefully a quick return.

Next Saturday we play Rhiwbina at the Harlequins, no need to build this one up after the 55-8 hammering earlier in the season if the boys can’t get up for this quite honestly they shouldn’t be playing for the club. This  game will be better fought than the last one, as  the focus will be on a team performance rather than individual battles this time. 

Penarth v Rocks First XV: Saturday 17th December

Report by John Dunleavy

Try feast puts the Rocks back on top. Table taken from

1 Up St. Peters RFC 13 8 2 3 346 296 50 48 35 8 0 44
2 Down Nelson RFC 12 8 2 2 355 238 117 44 26 6 0 42
3 Down Llanishen RFC 12 9 1 2 297 133 164 31 17 2 1 41
4 Up Rhiwbina RFC 12 7 1 4 298 221 77 36 23 4 1 35
5 No change Fairwater RFC 12 7 0 5 273 217 56 38 22 4 1 33
6 Down Tonyrefail RFC 12 7 0 5 237 217 20 27 23 2 3 33
7 No change Gwernyfed RFC 11 6 0 5 185 173 12 20 21 1 3 28
8 No change Brecon RFC 12 5 1 6 217 231 -14 25 28 2 3 27
9 No change Aberdare RFC 12 5 1 6 220 286 -66 23 35 1 1 24
10 No change Dowlais RFC 12 3 2 7 190 242 -52 26 31 2 2 20
11 No change Pentyrch RFC 11 1 2 8 133 218 -85 12 24 1 4 13
12 No change Penarth RFC 13 0 0 13 196 475 -279 22 67 1 3 4

After a good win over Division tow side Llantwit Fadre, the confidence was high going into the game against Penarth who had been on the end of a 70 pointer at home from Nelson. I have to say Wednesday I thought there was no chance of the game going ahead due to the weather conditions and given the way Penarth’s season has gone so far it would have been an easy decision to call the game off. I have to say Penarth have to be commended to go out and play the game, maybe the thought was the conditions would slow us down.

The preparation dealt us an early blow with scrum Half Owen Smiths ban coming though & stand in scrum half Dan French calling off with Flu gave us a problem at 9, then to add to the problem Captain Tom Nolan & Side Kick (your killing me Khany) were running late on return from London, then during the warm up Chris Lewis pulled up with a back problem which forced him to pull out. A reshuffle brought Scott Obrien back into the team after 2 years and another start for youth captain Joshua Dunleavy at 8, with another rising youth player Josh Burridge going on the bench. With all the changes and unsettlement what won the day as far as the team performance was concerned was the Captaincy being handed over to Sonny Driscoll who accepted the challenge with no question.

As previous game the call was to take the game to Penarth from the start and that they did within 5 minutes after 3-4 phases from the forwards set up Joshua Dunleavy to score a well taken 1st league try Cooper converted 7-0, it was not long before the next try came from again good work from the forwards and a nicely time pass from Cooper who put Captain Sonny Driscoll in under the posts 14-0. Then another try came from good interplay with forwards and backs which eventually put Ciaran Driscoll in for his 1st St Peters try 19-0 after 15 minutes. The game was only going one way with Penarth conceding penalty after penalty didn’t help their cause. Yet another opportunity was handed to Gavin Cooper to score his 1st try for the Rocks, 29-0 with a penalty added. The best try of the half went to Captain Driscoll after a weaving run, showing good pace finished off and score his 2nd try in the corner 34-0. With the game won the Rocks run ball from everywhere but for some white line fever and a little bit of tunnel vision would have scored more.

To be fair to Penarth they didn’t give up and after a series of penalties this put the pressure the Rocks on their line, the feeling was they had to score but the confidence and work ethic that has developed in the Rocks defence this was not going to happen. The tight forwards worked tirelessly this was backed up with the back row cutting off any threat from 10 out. Eventually after a good period of time on the attack Penarth ran out of patients and gave an interception to Gavin Cooper 10 yards from his own line, unfortunately someone must have tied his laces together but he did make it to the opposite ten yard line were the break broke down 34-0 half time.

The call at Half time was for more of the same from the restart the rocks were on the move eventually something had to give the result was a try for Mat Khan 39-0 after a timed pass from Josh Dunleavy. Scott Obrien ran himself into the ground and considering it was his first game for over a year he did a tremendous job. This gave utility back Dan Evans an opportunity to play at 9 the only position he had not played for the Rocks, for his trouble he collected a 2 tries, along with a try each for Mat Khan and Bryn Evans on his return who finished with a powerful run.

Penarth did get on the score sheet, the final score 59-5 if a few more passes had gone to hand it could have been more but credit to Penarth who are in a dark place they didn’t give up and I am sure they will be back. The stand out performances came from joint Man of the match Nick Kelly & Sonny Driscoll a captains performance, other strong performances came from Josh Burridge, Josh Dunleavy Mike Lattes, Lewis Dunleavy, Gavin Cooper & Scott O’Brien. The last two weeks have proven the strength in depth with the inclusion of youth players Josh Dunleavy, Lewis Dawes & Josh Burridge all joining the converted youth Tight head Ed Dobbs as 1st team players they bolstered the team’s strength, I would say we will be seeing more of them before the end of the season.

The target at the start of the day was to gain 5 points and that is what we got which puts us back on top. The next game is at home against Dowlias on the 7th of January who will be tough opposition. We will be training on the 29th of December at 6.00pm in the hall and then on the 3rd& 5th of January 2012 in prep for Dowlias. The day was capped after 2 gangs good win at Sully with 14 men 37-7 Ben Foley getting 3 tries.

Festivities at St Peters followed after led by the entertainer himself James Mullane who directed his band of choir boys in Christmas Carols who all sported Christmas Jumpers through to the late hours of 10.30pm well-done Jimmy, RoXs factor next watch this space for details.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a successful 2012 for the Rocks, please come out and support the boys only 9 league games left.  

Rocks First XV v Llantwit Fardre: Saturday 10th December.

Report by John Dunleavy

Good win in the Cup,

We welcomed Division 2 side Llantwit Fadre to the Harlequins, whose form in the league suggested it would be a good contest for the Rocks. The Years gone by the cup would have been as sort after as equally as a good run in the league, unfortunately teams these days look at the cup as an extra burden to the long season. Never the less the game had to be played and played with the same level of intensity as any other competitive game after all a good run could lead to show down at the Millennium stadium and an opportunity to play on the temporary Hallow turf, a once in a life time opportunity for some of the players.

We were forced into a couple of changes with Youth Captain & No8 Joshua Dunleavy coming in for Chris Lewis another shuffle was his brother Lewis normally on the flank switching to the wing, other additions was the starting slot at 10 for Gavin Cooper and the Big youth 9 Lewis Dawes on the bench whose physical presence would be a good enough to keep even the biggest back rows busy.

The Rocks came out all guns blazing and took the game to the much bigger pack of forwards, Llantwit were looking to move the ball at every opportunity but the organised Defence stood solid which forced Llantwit to turnover possession by kicking, back three of Mat Arnold, Lewis Dunleavy & Sean O’Brien worked well together. The first try came from a good counter attack from Sean Obrien whose trade mark fearless desire for contact gave us a good platform to set up the forwards to build a few phases , Dan French playing 9 moved the ball to 10 Gavin Cooper whose vision and telepathic ability to chip the ball into the corner for Lifelong friend Lewis Dunleavy to win a 50-50 smash and grab and run in for the 1st try Cooper converted 7-0. The next try came from good work with the Midfield of -Driscoll & Driscoll given the forwards a good target to hit and with the organisation of French at 9 feeding the ball Lattes & Josh Dunleavy who both carried superbly all day created a well taken try for Captain Tom Nolan Copper converted 14-0.

This sparked Llantwit into life and a new softening up tactic resulting in a number of leading forearms and some calculated footwork (as seen on TV) this didn’t really affect the Rocks, after all the 3rd Division is a good breeding ground for hard rugby legally and illegally. What was noticeable was the lack of possession for long periods which eventually gave a Llantwit a penalty & there 1st try 14-8  HT.

The Rocks started the second half with the same intent as the first half this lead to a Penalty which Gavin Cooper slotted over 17-8. With the pitch and game deteriorating the aim for both sides was to try and keep the ball for longer periods.  The pressure was coming from Llantwit this was not helped by the build-up of penalties which eventually lead to Prop Neil Frost getting a yellow card.  Heroic defence kept them out , but again another moment of controversy saw another yellow card for a forward, now down to 6 up front you would have thought Llantwit would have to just be patient and go for the kill. No way ,the introduction of Tight Head Ed Dobbs and the move to loose head for Andrew Omarlia backed up by the hard working seconds rows Mat Khan & Mike Lattes gave Llantwit also sorts of problems at scrum time a front 5 demonstration of resilience, this gave the Rocks the confidence to keep going and keep defending.  We were rewarded eventually with a 2nd try for Lewis Dunleavy no playing back on the flank after some good work from Dan French & Sonny Driscoll who put him clear for a much welcomed bit of breathing space 22-8.

Llantwit didn’t give up and with 2 minutes left scored in the corner to make it 22-13 and with the conversation deep in the corner you would have been confidence the game was finished, but a well taking kick left the game on a knife edge at 22-15 with a minute and a bit left. The ball kicked deep to be fair Llantwit tried to move the ball from deep but it was too little to late game over 22-15. This was a great result for the team and a much needed boost in preparation for Penarth the following week.

The stand out performers were Man of the Match Lewis Dunleavy, debutants Mike Ouzel, Joshua Dunleavy, Gavin Cooper other good performances came from Dan French, Sonny Driscoll, Ciaran Driscoll & Mat Arnold & Mat Khan.

Next week we face a struggling Penarth in the League but I am sure they will get themselves up for the game at home in the  2.30 kick off. 

Rocks First XV v Aberdare: Saturday 26th November

Report by John Dunleavy

With confidence restored after a heroic team effort at Nelson, it was back home to face Aberdare who have recently hit a bit of bad form. Not reading too much into this the call was carry on from where we left off last week. The starting team had two changes with new signing Ciaran Driscoll coming in on the wing & Mat Murphy in for Mat Khan.

 Playing against a strong wind, mistakes and penalties had to be kept low. We had to state our intentions early  to take the game to Aberdare up front & create phases to give the backs some quality ball to run.  The first try came from good pod work through the forwards that eventually came out on the right hand side to Dan French whose cut out pass found big loose head Andrew Omarlia who ran 10 metres to score in the corner. 5-0 kick missed. Unfortunately from the resulting kick off we put ourselves under pressure by making wrong decisions against the wind this gave the ascendancy to Aberdare who pinned us down in the corner. Wave after wave of pick and drives and scrimmaging was a huge test of the resilience in defence which, I have to say they didn’t not breach a testament of the new found commitment of the team.

 The game moved back into the Aberdare half. After a penalty being awarded the option was to kick down the line. From the lineout then backs a try was scored from a well worked backs move which put lively winger Ciaran Driscoll into a 2 on 1 unselfishly he fed a nicely timed pass to Full Back Matt Arnold who ran in to touch down. Even the Aberdare supporters showed there appreciation by applauding a finely executed move. 10-0 kick missed.  The next score came from a good scrum which saw Chris Lewis pick up feed Owen Smith who put Ciaran Driscoll clear for a 50 metre run. Good cover defence just stopped him short but his quality to stay on his feet and his ability to off load put supporting open side Nicky Kelly in to score the third try. 15-0 kick missed  HT.

 Now with the wind behind you would be confident of getting the bonus point try early. To the credit of Aberdare they started the stronger and forced us back deep into our half we didn’t help matters with our indiscipline conceding penalty after penalty which eventually resulted in 2 yellow cards being shown 10 mins after each other. Eventually the pressure told as Aberdare got a try of their own deserved I have to say. 15-7. It’s a funny game. We scored 3 tries against the wind and worked hard off the ball yet within a space of 10-15 minutes a side that were on the brink of collapse were back in the race.

 This kicked the boys into action and up the tempo and urgency that had lacked in the 15 minutes or so after HT. The fight was up front a battle being won for a bit by the Aberdare 8 but the forwards regained a slight advantage to feed the backs some front foot ball. Dan French now controlling the game and with Mitch kicking for territory the pressure was building good hard running from Sonny Driscoll set up a try for No8 Chris Lewis, who had work to do to finish it under the posts, 22-7  and the bonus point try in the bag finally! The game more or less won the final bit of brilliance had to go t Man of the Match Ciaran Driscoll who picked up a loose kick deep in his half he seem to pause for a second to survey his options, decision made off he cantered though 4 or 5 defenders into open space through to the 22 as previously 1 man to beat a bit of foot work unselfishly fed Blindside flanker Rhys Meredith to score a try under the posts and round off a moment of individual brilliance from the 19 year old winger 29-7 game over a much needed 5 pointer.

 The man of the match clearly went to Ciaran Driscoll with an outstanding debut. Again everyone put their hands up on Saturday, but the other performances came from Ed Dbbs, Chris Lewis, Lewis Dunleavy, Nick Kelly, David Mitchell, Sonny Driscoll & Mat Arnold. I have to say the last few weeks have been tough mentally but the boys have learnt a lot about themselves as a team and the knock backs have made the mentally and physically better and have brought them closer as a team. I strongly believe the lessons learnt has given us the ability to kick on now and challenge the top runners with 10 games left. The next League game is Penarth Away in 3 weeks who are in a bit of a bad place at the moment, but they can not to be underestimated as they will raise their game for us so we have to for them.

 Well-done to the youth keeping up there current good form with a had fought win away to Barry in the cup 12-0 in not the best of conditions to play. Apparently Barry had a couple of guests from Glamorgan Wanders which made the contest a little more even.

 2 gang also romped home with a 68 pointer over the Cardiff Harlequins. A testament to the strength of the seniors this year Luke Reordon, Owen Evans, Tony Johnson, Rhys Andrews, Jack Smith, & Paul Davis all ex first team  players had good strong games. I would also like to welcome Mike a big Latvian forward who has recently moved to Cardiff and St Peters. A good signing fast strong runner I am sure we will make him very welcome.

 The next game at home is against Division 2 side Llantwit Fadre in the cup in 2 weeks please Note 2.00pm Kick off.

 Congratulations to Tony Johnson winning the Movember competition. Other finalists were second place Rhys Andrews, third place Mat Arnold and fourth place Gavin Cooper. Smugder was a late withdrawal due to not being there. Pictures should be on the web site soon.

 Nelson v Rocks First XV: Saturday 19th November

 Judgement Day at Nelson: Report by John Dunleavy

 After a shock home draw, a defeats to Fairwater & Bottom side Brecon both away this weekend would certainly be billed as judgment day for the individuals that have been underperforming.  As usual the build-up was marred with a few call offs late in the day causing a late reshuffle to the team. New inclusions were Adam Williams on permit from Div. 5 side Dinas Powys who had a good solid game & Luke Bartle in the 2nd Row who again had a good solid game and has put himself in a good position for the Game against Aberdare at home.

 The task ahead was clear any result would keep us in the race Win ,Draw or even an BP would have been gratefully received and defeat with nothing would most certainly put us in a weak position for the running to the 2nd half of the season. Nelsons record over the last few games was enough to realise they were in good form and had themselves a good strong all round team, we had to match them all over the field if we were going to get anything.

 The boys didn’t disappoint taking the game to Nelson from the 1st Whistle, this shocked the home side a bit as they are known for this type of start but not today the Rocks forwards were up for the battle. When Nelson had the ball there lively well organised backs looked Dangerous with the ball but our Defence was more than a match for the danger. It was clear it was going to be a game won by the side who gave away the least amount of penalties away a task in its self with the whistle blowing every time someone hit the deck. With 20minutes gone the score was 6-3 in favour of Nelson but we missed 2 kicks ourselves so the game was Finley balanced. The rocks were gaining confidence through some good carries from the forwards and hard running from Sonny Driscoll created an opportunity for captain Tom Nolan to go through 1 on 1, 10 yards out unselfishly he tried to pass the ball probably the right thing to do with a man free to run in under the posts but the pass was slightly behind the supporting runner and the chance went a begging, in the light of day Tom would have normally run through the last man to score himself, Half time 12-6 Nelson.

 The half time team talk was around keeping up the pressure and protection of the ball, famous last words from the kick off the receiving the ball a lapse in concentration led to the ball being knocked on, unfortunately a result led to the 1st score for Nelson after a big build-up of pressure. We seemed to go into our shells a bit something that had been the telling factor in recent results and before we knew it Nelson had scored another try just a few minutes later 21-6. After a big kick up the back side and a few home truths it was time for the lads to change the attitude and  play the in the same fashion and they not only started the game in but started the season. This was the ticket after prolonged pressure building up and good handling finally a break though Tom Nolan, Mat Khan linking well off hands on the short side put Mat Khan in for the opening try for the Rocks 21-11, another flurry off attacks set up by full back Mat Arnold who had a man of the match performance put us in a similar position this time No8 Chris Lewis broke through and out run the cover defence to score a try to bring the scores to 21-16 (8out of 10 for the drive).

 The game took a twist in our favour with the Nelson 12 receiving his 2nd yellow card which was an automatic red for a questionable challenge after the ball. The momentum now in our favour and 15 minutes left the pressure was now on Nelson to hold out for the result. the ball was played into the left hand corner were 2 tries had already been scored with good hands across the forwards and backs put Rhys Meredith into the corner for the equalising score 21-21 unfortunately the kick was missed. The game coming to a close we were awarded another opportunity to win the game with a penalty again this was missed 21-21 draw a good result considering the recent run of results I have to say it felt like a win.  

 When we look back the game could have been won if one of the missed kicks went over unfortunately 18 points were missed off the boot no blame but that’s the fine line between winning and losing. Normally we have mentioned individual stand out performers but the whole squad stood up today and restored the belief in themselves to hopefully kick on to the challenges that lie ahead. We did pick a man of the match and that went to Mat Arnold at full back for his outstanding display in attack and defence.

 It was Judgement day at Nelson and they team stood up and proved themselves more than up to the task, next week we face Aberdare at home who’s recent form is nothing to read into it will be another big challenge to step up to.

Fairwater v Rocks First XV: Saturday 29th October

 Report by John Dunleavy

Wrong game in poor conditions proved costly.

The 1st team travelled to Fairwater who’s league position didn’t bare any relevance to the challenge ahead. We knew this could be potential banana skin.  Playing up the slope in the first half would mean carrying the ball would be key which would not usually be a problem today, but the challenge was getting hold of the ball. Minutes into the game the rain came heaven sent for the 10 man game plan of Fairwaters, I have to say the reports were right about their pack big and physical which would be the deciding factor in the conditions. Both sides were playing for territory through the kicking game and trying to force mistakes in the wet conditions unfortunately we made more of the errors which forced us back into the corner on a few Occasions.

Both sides exchanged penalties after more intervention from the man in the middle who influence on the game was becoming more frustrating for us. Fairwater attacked our line through simple 9 man rugby using their big forwards as battering rams to try and breach the hard working defensive line. After countless phases from 5-10 yards out the breakthrough came after the Fairwater Carrier cleverly used 2 of his own men as blockers to get over the line first try and unnoticed by the Man in the middle 10-3. Five minutes later, a controversial decision to yellow card second Row Matthew Khan led to a penalty being awarded to Fairwater this eventually led to a scrum 5 yards out, this was the first scrum in this area and with difficult conditions under foot against a big heavy pack would be a challenge to hold out let alone with 1 man down. The scrum set and we got a good shove on the scrum ended up 90 & collapsed so you would have thought turn over oh no! penalty try under the posts. 

Now chasing the game more haste set in and another decision against us led to another onslaught in the favourable corner with a man down in the scrum it was just a matter of time before the heroic defence was to break another score to the big men 24-3 HT a 14 point yellow card.

If we normally had a two try deficit starting the second half I would be confident of us pulling the game back but with conditions getting worse and some poor decisions  to run from deep this just played into the scrambling Fairwater defence. The mistakes we were making were just giving the opposition more confidence to smash us on the game line the mistakes were costly as fairwater scored 2 more tries off our attacking plays. We conceded more penalties which maybe guaranteed safe passage out of Fairwater the only consolation was a nicely taken try from Tight Head Ed Dobbs game over 45-8. There were some stand out performances from Man of the Match Lewis Dunleavy who didn’t stop tackling all day, Rob Obrien, Mat Murphy, Ed Dobbs, Neal Frost all worked hard up front all day Lee Imperato & Chris Lewis  imposed themselves when they entered the game. In the backs Dan Evans, David Mitchell were the stand out performers.

Take nothing away from Fairwater their game plan to play 10 man rugby in the conditions on the Narrow Pitch worked perfectly a lesson learned, be warned anyone travelling to Fairwater they have a pack to win games in the next few months especially when conditions get worse.

We will move on from this we know where is went wrong and the deciding factors behind the result, the next game is Away to Brecon in 2 weeks we must pull together again and get back to the job in hand. The only good thing to come out of the weekend was that we stayed on top of the League due to other sides around us loosing but Nelson are now the side in form who we play in 3 weeks’ time. Next weekend the 2nds play Rumney at home in the East District cup 2.30 kick off please come along and support the team.

Rocks Second XV v Rhiwbina IIs: Saturday 22nd October

Report by Paul OBrien

After last weeks defeat to Llanishen, James Mullane and his Two Gang Troops were eager to get back to winning ways against Rhwbina. The team were bolstered by the return of Lee Imperato and Luke Bartle in the pack and Joe Davies and Ben Foley in the backs.

Although a pleasant afternoon there was a keen wind which blew right down the pitch. The Rocks had the benefit of this wind and the slope during the first half and it was imperative that we made best use of these conditions. Two early penalties from James Mullane settled the nerves, and 20 minutes in James Mullane increased his personal tally when ghosting in under the post for the opening try. Converting his own try James then added a further penalty to send the Rocks 16-0 up. Although this looked a comfortable lead the team knew that the real battle was to take place during the second half. Rhwbina however weren’t going to leave it till the second half before contributing points and good work from their strong pack lead to a try on the brink of half time.

The second half was a real rear guard action from the team. Rhwibina scored a penalty early on taking the score to 16-8 before scoring a converted try making it 16-15 with 20 minutes to go. At this point Rhiwbina were clear favourites but the team managed to hold out for a much needed win.

This was a real team effort, but there were some stand out performances. JP Murphy and Bryon were outstanding in the pack, Foxy played a blinder at scrum half and a special mention to Scrimsy and his 1970s interpretation of the scrum and breakdown laws!! However as much as it pains me there was only one candidate for MOM. Apart from his 16 points Jimmy Ray actually made a tackle or two and had an excellent all round game. He also supplies the post match cans of Stella in the changing rooms.

Pentrych away next weekend, where hopefully we can make it two wins on the bounce.

Rocks First XV v Llanishen: Saturday 22nd October.

Report by John Dunleavy

Saturday we welcomed 2nd placed Llanishern to the Harlequins and as predicted the game was to pan out to become a close run thing.

Playing with the sun in our faces we found it hard trying to get hands on the ball in the opening 10 minutes it was Llanishern who had the ball for the majority of this period and they took advantage of some indiscipline and went 3-0 up, when we finally hard the ball  we looked threatening and with Nathan Wheaton carrying the hard yards almost unstoppable set up the 1st opportunity to open the score but was halted just short of the line. A defending scrum was awarded 5 yards out this gave us a good opportunity to have a go as scrums previous caused Llanishern big problems the pack worked hard at every scrum  and didn’t let up this led to a penalty. Tom Nolan realising the advantage opted to go for the scrum and from that scrum No8 Nathan Wheaton Crashed over for the opening score. Unfortunately Ryan Jones missed an easy conversion  5-3.

Now finally with more and more possession we went on the attack but only for Llanisherns resilience in defence just kept us out. It was still quite difficult to play against a low sun and swirling wind but the guys pushed on to try and break the defence down. Unfortunately things were becoming a bit of a frustration trying to gain field position a little too much inaccurate kicking just kept Llansihern in our half. The game plan was clear from Llanishern and it was to keep turning us and kick corners the back three of Sean O’Brien, Ryan Jones & Nathan Thompson read these kicks and counted with interest. With domination at scrum time and with the line out going well the feeling was it’s only a matter of time before the next score, but it was Llanshern who had chances to take the lead through penalties fortunately these opportunities were missed unbelievable 5-3 HT.

The 2nd half the boys upped the intensity and I have to say we were playing in the comfort zone juts waiting for the next score to come. With the world cup over and  the agony of missed kicks passed us it was time to get down to normal service back at grass roots so we thought, it looks like the epidemic of way would kicking has spread to grass roots. Ryan Jones missed 15 kickable points by his standards which kept Llanishern in the game. We did get a break through after a good move through the under par backs which put in Nathan Thompson for his 2nd try in 2 weeks 10-3.

What happened next only the man upstairs knows with a series of attacks and we should have scored 3 maybe 4 more tries. We talk about composure in the red zone but this didn’t seem to be the case it was more like rush, rush ,rush, basic errors like 4 on 2 overlaps being lost through long miss passes this seemed to have crept in as 2 other opportunities went begging through poor execution of a basic skill and with  knock ons with the line beckoning I started to think will we get anything out of the game, with all the domination coming from us and with the number of missed opportunities the score was still frustratingly 10-3 but to be fair to Llanishern our mistakes and missed opportunities gave the belief they needed to keep the pressure on.  Realising this the a penalty came our way quite close to the line so step up Dan French to sot over 13-3 a bit of breathing space. Anyone around rugby knows that the amount of opportunities squandered would come back to haunt us like I said Llanishern showed good resilience in defence and got their reward with a try against the run  of play to bring the scores to 13-10. With impact needed Sonny Driscoll was introduced with about 10 minutes left to go on and win the game but his eagerness to carry hard caught out his supporting players, after he carried for about 20metres he was caught holding on to the ball on the floor the resulting penalty was kicked 13-13. The momentum was with Llanishern  and unbelievably they had a chance to win the game with a minute left, a penalty shot was called but thankfully it was beyond the range. The call was to keep the ball in and go for the win Nathan Thompson caught behind his line and feed Sonny who rang 25 metres on the attack with a 2 on 1 created Sonny decided to pass to Sean O’Brien and give him the 60 metre run a good choice, but it was read by the defender who just stuck out a hand to knock the ball on a penalty you would have thought no knock on game over. After speaking to Sonny he felt a dummy would have been enough to give him an opportunity to run 60 metres to win the game, but then again Llansihern may have had a bit of cover who knows 13-13 points shared.

I have to say and with no disrespect to Llanishern we missed an opportunity to take 5 points out of the game that we dominated and played some good rugby for most of the time, but mistakes caused through lack of composure cost us, this is something we go on about all the time composure and patients. We played well but could not finish and that was simply down to decision making. Collectively as a team the performance was good we just couldn’t finish what we created this is not a big problem to put right. The standout performers were the forwards today lead by Nathan Wheaten and backed up by French, O’Brien & Thompson in the backs. The other positives David Mitchell coming on for Frosty had a very good game at his old position at eight the best I have seen him play for a while, and  with the return of Sonny Driscoll will give us a much needed Mid Field threat that’s been missing. On the injury front unfortunately Kris Barry our Cardiff dual registered player is out for the season after breaking his ankle against Aberavon last week, once he is on his feet he would like to help us out on the coaching side. Bryn Evans is about 2 weeks away and Papa Lemon should be available next week for a run with 2 Gang.

Congratulations to Mr & Mrs Rob O’Brien who gained a son on the weekend. 

Well-done to the Youth & 2 gang both beating the squirrels in their respective league games, 2 gang had captain James Mullane to thanks for all the points but apparently he was somehow also responsible for their points as well.

Next week is a tough away trip to Fairwater who league position don’t do them justice,  this game is not going to be a gimme by no stretch of the imagination they beat us at home last season so we will need to be at our best Saturday.

Gwernyfed v Rocks: Saturday 15th October

Report by John Dunleavy

With the season back on track after the hard fought result against Tonyrefail you would have thought the this would have been the ideal boost needed to push on at Gwernyfed  Unfortunately we had seven 1st choice players unavailable to us because of work and travel restrictions and with a number of players still injured  we had no choice but to take a number of 2nd team players to fill in the gaps and I have to say they stepped up to the challenge.

Word was that Gwernyfed were fielding their strongest side of the season so far. Noticeably there big pack looked like a challenge in its self  from the start.  It was clear from the start that the forwards were going to have to earn their Pasty & Mash with the Gwern pack taking it to the slightly smaller rocks forwards. The Back Row of Rhys Meredith, Lewis Dunleavy & No8 Owen Evans all did their bit to stop anything in the open and the big boys tried to slow the juggernaut pack down in the tight. The Gwern game plan was to hit up in pods. This did produce a number of penalties which were converted by the big kicking centre. We were certainly up against it but never lost concentration in defence. Our resilience paid off eventually after the ball got spilt just outside our 22, Nathan Thompson on the wing pounced and kicked through which produced a foot race between him and 3 of the Gwern players, Nathan showed great composure to pick the ball up on the bounce and run the in 30 metres to score our 1st try 9-5.

This kick started a revival from Gwern and eventually they got a couple of scores of their own which put us on a the back foot and following a bit of a fracas we were staring at a 21-5 deficit at HT. The talk at half time was not about what to do to put things right but a bit of hair dryer treatment towards some of the players who were not playing to their potential. This got the boys going led by Man of the Match Dan French who was  playing with a renewed confidence and who was starting to take control keeping the guys on the front foot. The pressure was now on Gwern but for a couple of referees decisions frustratingly got them off the hook. Eventually the breakthrough came with a  finely taken try from Rhys Meredith 21-13.

The game turned when Dave Mitchell entered the field he took the pressure of the backs and forwards with his big carries and huge kicks. He was causing all sorts of problems every time he had the ball. He eventually popped a penalty over to bring the score line within 21-15 points.  All the rugby was now being played in the Gwen Half and I would always back us in the last 20mins to keep playing at a good tempo right till the end a testament to the fitness of the team.

The next try came from a set piece move which put full back Dan Evans in for a score 15 minutes from time. French Converted 23-24, with time running out we were awarded another long distant penalty Mitch stepped up and hit it just right of the posts. The game was slipping away slowly but with a scrum centre field just outside the Gwern 22, and with the backs looking dangerous every time they had the ball, the call  would have been to work it through the midfield. The forwards had other ideas Owen Evans picked up at 8 and slipped a well-timed pass to substitute flanker Jack Smith who ran in from 10 yards to score on the right hand side of  the posts 28-24 Dan French converted 30-24.

With five minutes left, and a bit of stupidity, Gwern were awarded a penalty on the half way line, they kicked down the touch line and had a lineout 15 yards out, the predicted onslaught came with the Gwern Pack rolling maul heading closer and closer to the line, but for the valiant defence kept them at bay, at one point they were less than a metre short. Last play a scrum was awarded to Gwen and if there was a time for the skipper to win the game that was it a good strike against the head to win the ball was worth as much as a try under the posts this finally saw us home 30-24 another bonus point win away. This one was the hardest but most deserved for all the efforts of the team right till the last whistle. Everyone stood out. It was a good honest, hardworking team effort to overcome the strong home team challenge but Dan French deservedly took the man of the match. Congratulations to Andrew Omarlia, Gavin Cooper, Rob Lewis all making 1st team debuts.

Next  weekend we are back at home to Llanishern who have had a good start to the season and always produce a close game home and away it will be another tough challenge to get up for. 

Rocks v Tonyrefail: Saturday 8th October

Report by John Dunleavy

The longest week of the season, Saturday couldn’t have come around quicker

After the nightmare at the hands of the loved by everyone squirrels last week the team had to look deep inside each other to recover ready for the challenge Tonyrefail at home. Tuesday saw more in the physio room than on the field just part of the fallout from Saturday. That aside it was not a time for finger pointing just a time for good honest hard work on the field. Thankfully Thursday brought a bit of relief with the majority of players all fit to train and up for selection.

The changes forced were a debut for ex youth player of the year Lewis Dunleavy at 7 in for in-form Nicky Kelly who had a hamstring strain, the other changes were with Neil Frost starting in the front row ahead of Simon Colley, Rob O’Brien starting at 8 for injured Frosty & Ben Foley in for injured Josh Kelly.

Ton arrived at the Rocks on the back of a good win at home to Nelson. We had  to respect the quality of the challenge ahead, playing against the wind the boys looked threatening with ball in hand but just couldn’t find the final pass that would deliver the breakthrough. It was Ton that found a hole and got through to open the scoring. After a series of penalties from Ryan Jones we hit back with a try of our own through Captain Tom Nolan. Jones kicked the conversion. The 2nd try came after a good pick up from the base of the scrum from Rob Obrien who ran towards the line and fed brother Sean to score in the corner HT 16-11.

With the wind behind us it was time to play a bit of territory and make Ton run back from Deep. The kick-chase was a massive improvement from last week shutting down any counter attack threats at source. Ton had a few dangerous runners in the backs who had to be stopped early. Ben Foley on the wing did just that chased everything and made the important 1st up tackle and with Sean O’Brien doing the same on the other wing cuts the options down. The tempo, handling and support play was good if it wasn’t for the well organised defence of Ton we would have probably got through a few more times. The back row earned at least 12 points in kicks through good turnovers from Man of the Match Dunleavy & Meredith who displayed his best disciplined performance of the season. The score was still too close for comfort but the priority was on winning the game nothing else. With a number all of changes made the inevitable happened Rhys Meredith had to come off with an injury we were now down to 14 men 10 to play, this seem to give the boys a bit of a kick start as they raised the tempo. A good flowing move put Sean Obrien in for his 2nd try and our 3rd putting the game more or less beyond the reach of Ton.  

The call was go for the BP but just as we said we lost another player 13 men 5 minutes left, no worries somehow the ball ended up back on our side after a turn over and with a couple passes ended up in Debutant Gavin Cooper’s hands who had the vision to put a chip through which bounced nicely into Sean O’Brien’s hands who ran in 22 metres to secure another bonus point win and get us back on track. The stand out players were MoM Lewis Dunleavy, Rhys Meredith, ED Dobbs, Neal Frost, Mat Murphy, Rob O’Brien, Sean O’Brien & Ryan Jones. It was a nervous performance which was expected but everyone dug deep and worked hard for this result, it puts last week game at the back of the mind not forgotten but not as painful.

Ton were a good tough side to play against after a dismal result the week before, but it was just the sort of game we needed, a good hard fought win that will help towards the team regaining the confidence in the their own ability, the Rhiwbina result certainly did us a favour and I think we will be better for it.

Next week we travel to Gwenyfrdd for another tough encounter on the road against a side who have had mixed results so far we will have to step up again from Saturday for the challenge. 

St. Josephs II v Rocks II: Saturday 8th October.

Report by Paul OBrien

After the last minute pull out of Heol de Cyw, Two Gang physio Rhodri Beynon managed to secure a last minute game against our old rivals St Josephs over Blackweir. Although technically an away fixture it afforded the chance to return to our ancestral home on a beautiful Autumn day.

From the onset it was clear that both sides were eager to play an open style of rugby. Although it may have lacked the technical quality of the mornings international, the breakdown was bitterly contested with turnover ball for both sides, with the veteran Paul McCarthy scavenging for the loose ball.

The deadlock was broken ten minutes before half time when Martin The Body Silva broke through the Joes defences. Jimmy Mullane added the extras, but that was to be his only successful kick of the day. Soon after Paul Aviett went over despite doing his best to run in to contact and get tackled.

Half time saw some changes to the team, which included the evergreen Dai Manley and Frankie Triple F Fideli. Frank sported a new scrum cap under the impression that it enabled him to run and enter tackles head first. It was commentated that he looked like a human cannonball!!

A third try this time scored by Andrew OMalia, only seemed to spurn the Joes on, and they quickly responded with two tries of their own, leaving the game very much in the balance. However with the final whistle approaching Two Gang wrapped up victory with a Tony Johnson try. Final score St Peters 22 St Josephs 12

Although it was far from our best performance of the season, there were a few stand out players. Martin Silva and Matthew OBrien were a constant threat in attack and Jack Cook was the stand out player in the pack.

I would like to thank both St Josephs for agreeing to play us at the last minute and also the referee who kindly agreed to travel from the Harlequins to Blackweir.

On a great day for Welsh rugby, rugby was once again the winner!!!

Rhiwbina v Rocks: Saturday 1st October

Report by John Dunleavy

On behalf of the coaches and 1st team players I would like to apologise to all the people who came along to support the boys for the poor display on Saturday against Rhiwbina, we will do everything we can to bounce back Saturday.

What can I say we were beaten by a better side on the day with no excuse, the score line did flatter Rhiwbina  bit, but take nothing away when you miss the amount of 1st up tackles that we did we deserve nothing more than we got. There is no need to dwell on the past just look at the future and the opportunity to right the wrongs from last Saturday. The guys all know they let themselves & everyone down Saturday and it is and will be for a long time a bitter pill to swallow.

We can look at Saturday second by second but the bottom line is that maybe complacency set in along with too much talk about league status instead of concentration & focus of the game in hand. This will not happen again.

No Excuses Rhiwbina played well and look a good side to compete at the top of the league this year we will be relishing the return fixture that’s certain. We did have a few positives with good performances from our Man of the Match Ed Dobbs followed closely by Ryan Jones & Mat Murphy who all worked hard right to the end the other players who didn’t give it up were Rob Obrien, Mat Khan, Mat Arnold & Owen Smith 50% of the team.

The 1st team have a tough game Saturday at home against Tonyrefail who had a good win against Nelson last weekend. This game test of the guys pride in themselves to put thing .

The 2nds went down to Kenfig Hill at the Harlequins 27-21, with a number of players unavailable and a FEW LET DOWNS captain James Mullane reshuffled the team who competed very well right to the end considering the number of players playing out of postilion. Good showing from Idris Evans playing out of position Lewis Dunleavy MoM, Mat Williams, it was good to see the return of 19 year old tight head Andrew Omarlia who managed to get a half under his long belt. There should be more players available next weekend returning from injury & holidays.

The Youth carried the flag Saturday with a good win against a Strong Dinas Powys team in the league 41-19 tries from Jack Huntley 2 Sam Burridge, Coby Flowers, Danny Wardle & Skipper Josh Dunleavy, Danny Wardle kicking 11 points. Man of the match went to the Mike Phillips look alike Lewis Dawes who’s physical presence caused all sorts of problems for the big Dinas Back row well-done Dawsie.

Extra bit supplied by Don Gallagher Played Dinas Powys at home in a league fixture.  A tight first half meant we went into the break 14 all with tries for Ryan Spriggs and Jack Huntley.  The first half saw us not playing our best expansive rugby but some good individual performances by Ryan Spriggs, Elliot Sebastian Regan, Danny Wardle and Jack Huntley kept us in the hunt.  Some personnel changes at half time saw us playing the type of rugby in the second that we are trying to achieve.  Tries form skipper Josh Dunleavy, Cobi Flowers, Danny Wardle and another for Jack Huntley sent us out victors by 43 -19 with Wardle addind 3 more conversions and a pen to amount to a personal tally of 18pts.  MOM scrum half Lewis Dawes was a thorn in Dinas’s side for the duration of the game.  Sat 8th see’s the youth begin its cup campaign at Barry.

Congratulations to Paul & Laura Davies (the Lemons) on the birth of their son Harry Rhys Davies last week, Harry weighed in at 8lbs 3 all are doing well and well-done both, I am sure Paul will let us know when he will be allowed back out to play & celebrate the birth of yet another new pebble. 

Rocks v Pentyrch: Saturday 24th September

Report by John Dunleavy

 It was another good day at the Harlequins, with another bonus point win against a spirited Pentyrch side. After three good wins two away from home the focus all week was not who we are playing the week after (Rhiwbina) but not to let complacency creep in to the team. We have played Pentyrch plenty of times to know that there game is based around opposition mistakes and turnovers which meant we had to be on our metal at the break down.

 The intention was outlined from the start the Rocks running 1st phase ball wide at every opportunity, the 1st chance came when the ball was moved across the line to full back Ryan Jones who fed centre Mat Arnold on a loop around, this created a 2 on 1 and what seemed an easy run in for wing Sean Obrien, unfortunately the wrong decision led to the ball going into touch. With a few penalties being taken by Dan French putting us 6-0 the best move of the half from a good lineout put Ryan Jones in space he fed Sean Obrien who ran 30 yards towards the try line unselfishly he fed a well-timed inside pass to fellow wing Josh Kelly to touch down, this decision from Sean stunned the crowd as they could not believe he passed to some he was not related to, to score good decision Sean 11-3.

 The rocks were looking strong in the set piece every defending scrum was causing problems for front foot ball, this gave our defensive line time to come up. Unfortunately stupidity around the break down cost us 6 points, this I an area we have to concentrate on being more patient and disciplined as its keeping sides in the game.  The restart created more opportunity’s and with some good hard running put us in the oppositions 22, the frustration was clear after the hard work was done all we needed to do was go wide after the 3rd or 4th phase as the overlap was created, again misjudged decisions resulted in us squandering scoring chances. Unfortunately what led to the Pentrych try was poor support play 10 yards out from the Pentrych line a series of penalties saw us back down in our 22 defending the line, but after 7-8 phases and good patients from Pentyrch they crossed for a converted try 13-11 if we had not switched off maybe the 7 points would have been ours.  

 The HT talk was a bit of hair dryer treatment, the chances in this league to score points are hard to create and when they come up they have to be taken the bottom line was that we threw away at least 2-3 try scoring opportunities. Now with the score board to chase we had to up the tempo and take every opportunity that came our way, hard running from Chris Lewis & Nathan Whetton gave us good platform ball to work off, this caused Pentyrch to concede penalties which Dan French converted 14 -13. Who says you cannot score of 1st phase, a great take off the kick off from Mathew Murphy who moved the ball straight away and with good link play with backs and forwards the ball somehow ended up in Nick Kellies hand to run in to score from 25 yards out, Dan French Converted 21-13. The game was starting to open up and within 5 minutes the we scored a 3rd try through Owen Smith 26-13. Now the focus was to go for the bonus point try but it’s easier said than done. We conceded a sucker punch try after a good chip behind sleeping winger Kelly to make the score 31- 15. The clock was against us but the boys did not panic, the moment of the game came from a great 30 yard weaving run from Dan French who put Josh Kelly in for his 2nd try and more importantly a Bonus point 30-15.

 Pentyrch no looking to get at least a losing BP threw everything at us but the defence stood strong, unfortunately we did concede another 3 points to close the gap to 31-18 but the margin was reclaimed after a French Penalty 34-18. The Turks did have the last word after a good turnover deep in there half and some good support play scored a nice try in the corner, that was the final play 34-23. The lads were gutted after conceding the try so late in the game a good sign of the high expectations no to concede.

 Apart from Pentyrch’s scrum the game was a good contest, they will be a team who will cause quite a few problems this year, very lively and organised in open play, this was a good result against a dangerous team. Stand out performers were Again Nicky Kelly, Owen Smith, Dan French, Nathan Whetton Ed Dobbs & Ryan Jones. 

 Saturday is another tough away game against Newly prompted Rhiwbina at Cia- Delyn Park 2.30 KO, they are a side that our Development team met In the cup final last year and narrowly lost by a point after 13 minutes of overtime (great kick to win the game I have to say). They have had a bit of mixed start to their season but I am sure will be up for this one.

 The game should have a good edge to it with EX-Rock Danny Murphy adding to the spice, the boys are relishing the encounter and with no micro-phoned linesman or a man in the middle who thought the occasion was for him should allow both sides to play some good rugby. 

Dowlais v Rocks: Saturday 17th September.

Report by John Dunleavy

The 1st travelled to Dowlias Saturday, a game which would be a good test of the strength of the team and give a good indication of how they have progressed. The Rocks were dealt an early blow with the withdrawal of hard running centre Bryn Evans with a groin injury, so a little re-shuffle saw the introduction of Paul Davis into the back line an hour before kick-off. 

The focus was to work hard against a strong Dowlias pack and stop any of their platform ball, the first scrum was where we had to make a statement, with Good work from front five Simon Colley, Tom Nolan, Ed Dodd’s, Mat Khan & Kris Barry certainly made a statement early doors. The set piece would be the area that would give us front foot ball and the forwards delivered unfortunately a lack of concentration resulted in a kick being charged down and gathered by the Dowlias 12 to run in under the posts 7-0. This was the wakeup call that was required to get the bus trip out of the minds and body. Finally the boys were getting into their game set piece ball was good Frosty making good head way from a solid scrum and Bagsy & Khany winning clean lineout ball gave the backs good ball to run. The handling behind was the best I have seen for a while the backs were looking Dangerous in every attack but for good solid defence Dowlias would have seen us break through sooner rather than later.

The breakthrough came after a series of penalties, and after another sweeping move saw Owen Smith over for a nicely taken try 5-7. This confidence was starting to flow and with the advantaged in the set piece the boys were moving the ball at every opportunity, this led to a try from 40 yards out (10 really) for 18 year old tight head Ed Dobbs who dived over untouched in the corner. He was asked to replace his divot but there was not a JCB available the ground certainly shook 10-7! The game was heading to Half time and it was job well done playing against the wind going in at Half time would be an added bonus. But that was not enough from the kick off the guys rang from deep Josh Kelly, Paul Davis & Sean Obrien opened up the defence and got in behind the Dowlias defence Davis just brought down short but managed to off load to supporting runner Nick Kelly to crash over but was pulled back for a forward pass 13-7 half time.

The call was to keep playing the same way, Dowlias are a quality side that work hard as a team and would not just lay down and roll over. The Leadership of Tom Nolan and the control from Dan French were driving the team forward at every opportunity. The feeling was that the hard working opposition were starting to tire and so the boys moved the ball around when every the chance came there way, and with a good kicking Game from Frenchie forced the opposition back and to run deep from their own half.

The introduction of Chris Lewis & Frosty were a big boost their physical presence produced good impact off the bench there strong carries resulted in another try through Nick Kelly 20-7, so with 3 tries in the bag the call was to chase the 4th bonus point try. However we were given an opportunity to push down the line after a penalty was conceded, Tom decided to go for the posts the right call win the game first and then the rest will come unfortunately the wind did its bit and pushed it right of the up right. Eventually the illusive fourth try came from inform wing Josh Kelly after a good deep run from backs Evans, Arnold and a powerful run from full back Paul Davis 27-12. Another good solid performance 5 points away from home.

Stand out performers were from man of the Match Owen Smith followed closely by Frosty, Nick Kelly & Kris Barry. Next Saturday is another tough game at Home against Pentyrch who over the years have been part of some entertaining games. The good wins so far have put us on the front foot but we must get back down to hard work on Tuesday in preparation for Saturday. The reality is that every game gets harder so the focus must be 100% for each match.

Another good win in the league for 2 Gang beating a strong Cardiff High School Old boys away. The Youth also opened their league campaign with a good away win against Llanishern. The buzz in the club after was nothing like I have experienced for a good few years there is a feel good factor throughout the club it’s a pity it has to finish at 8.30pm, thanks to all the new boys who wore their fancy dress especially the ones at Dowlias the competition was won by Frosty. Bagsy was included in the completion so he declared his costume as a Cardiff rugby player, the costume was ok but the rest is noted for Kangaroo Court. I believe Dave Meredith will be emailing the pictures to the web site.

Rocks v Penarth: Saturday 10th September.

Report by John Dunleavy

After a very good bonus point away win to Aberdare, the Rocks were home for their first league game of the season against local rivals Penarth who were travelling seeking revenge for the defeat the week before to Nelson. This game was always going to be a bit spicy with some ex rocks starting for Penarth added to the mix for extra flavour. From the start we looked hungry up front and Sharpe behind and only some good solid  defence from Penarth stopped the first score coming early.

The game took at least twenty minutes before the first score, this went to inform Wing Josh Kelly after some good hands with backs and forwards 5-0. Unfortunately indiscipline  started to creep in to the Rocks game not for anything serious but for stupidity which after 3 kicks from the solid James Docherty saw the lead slip to 9-5, with half time approaching, Tom Nolan gathered the troops and with some stern words from the touchline, kick started the boys back to the job in hand. The backs were looking good countering in against a strong wind and gaining good territory, Ryan jones at full back was orchestrating things with some accurate kicking and strong running pushed the seasiders back deep into their half. The player of the day out of the backs went to centre Bryn Evans his hard running and determination was a causing Penarth all sorts of problems and coupled with the hard work from Mat Khan & Rhys Meredith produced good ball for Tom Obrien to feed the supporting runners. With some excellent carries from the ever improving Nathan Davies (frosty) and young tight head Ed Dobbs along with the outstanding link play of Kriss Barry & Nicky Kelly resulted in another finely worked try for Josh Kelly 12-9 HT.

With a good wind behind our backs and the introduction of Mat Murphy & new signing Chris Lewis the call was for the boys to force Penarth to play from deep. The game was there to be taking providing the boys didn’t panic, frustratingly there was an over use of the wind aimless kicks which kept the seasiders on the attack. Unfortunately these kicks eventually cost us three points through a penalty 10 yards out from our twenty two an area we highlighted as a no go for penalties 12-12.  To be fair to Penarth they didn’t give up but you could sense they were starting to tire. Dan French kicked two penalties to restore the lead. The fitness of the team was starting to show and with some sapping carries from Chris Lewis gave the backs the platform ball they needed to attack. With the game broken up Tom Obrien broke and headed toward the opposition 22 he then kicked ball forward to the frustration of his coach and somehow re gathered to score a typical opportunist try the he could only create To the relief of his coach, Dan French converted 25-12.

With ten minutes left to play the call was to go for the bonus point try, it’s a funny game if we didn’t need the fourth try I think we would have scored sooner rather than later. Anyway after a good 30 yard weaving run from Dan French saw supporting goal hanger Mat Khan over in the corner for a much deserved bonus point try. Final score 28-12 another solid performance. There is confidence and an excellent spirit flowing the team this is mainly down to the good leadership of Tom Nolan and the good positive attitude that the new guys have brought in . The standout performers were Tom Obrien Man of the Match, followed closely by Kris Barry, Bryn Evans, Dan French & Nathan Davies (frosty).

The planned day out for one new squirrel was a good drink and to watch a good defeat for the Rocks, unfortunately someone’s Saturday didn’t quite go according to plan but I hope he enjoyed his drink!!

Well-done to James Mullanes & his reformed non shambolic 2nd team who had a good win against Llandaff in the league. The added bonus is that nearly all the 2nds are now training Tuesday & Thursday this is creating good competition & headaches for selection. The youth unfortunately went down to New Panteg by One point not bad considering they had a bare fifteen and the played on a postage stamp of a pitch, maybe a rematch at home on a big boys pitch later on in the season?

Next Saturday is tough trip away to Dowlias for the 1st team, a side promoted last year and we managed to beat last season at their place they are a good physical side so we will need to step up for the challenge. Please come out and support the boys.

Aberdare v Rocks: Saturday 3rd September.

Report by John Dunleavy

The 1st league game of the season was a tough trip away to Aberdare a team that has had the upper hand over the last few years when we have played them this early into the season.  The league was what we have been building for over the last 8 weeks so it was nice to get things going. The preparation before the game was spot on, newly elected captain Tom Nolan took over from the start putting his mark on things before the kick-off.

The game started quite openly Aberdare stating their intentions early with their big ball carrying forwards, but this is what we had prepared for so defensively the guys were more than up for the challenge. Playing against the wind 1st half forced us to run from a bit deeper than we normally be happy to do but with the illusive Owen Smith at nine & the  magician Dan French at 10 anything could happen.  The 1st try went to Aberdare as a result of a mistake in attack from the rocks who would have scored themselves if the pass had gone to hand 7-0 , from the kick off the ball was regathered and carried forward and after a penalty was awarded to the rocks scrum half Owen Smith quickly went and gained 20-30 meters he then feed a nice inside pass to put Dan French under the posts 7-7.

To be fair to both teams they kept there discipline for most of the game and just got on with it, unfortunately the unseen errors proved costly as Aberdare crossed for another score, both side traded penalties 17-10.  The game started to open up in the 2nd half with backs and forwards working well together in open play this resulted in Dan French going over for his 2nd try after some nice link play 17-17.

Then what can only be described of a moment of surrealism saw Aberdare winger score try in the corner after our linesman was overruled. Clearly the wingers foot was well in touch but the referee saw differently 22-17 after everyone in the ground having a bit of a chuckle the game finally restarted . This error sparked the boys in to life and with some good hands and excellent support play took us back down the field to put the pressure back on our hosts. A series of penalties forced the man in the middle to take action and he finally got the card out and sent the Aberdare 2nd row to the bin. This gave us the upper hand and after some good forward play saw Dan French in for his 3rd under the posts 24-22, He then kicked another penalty 27-22, the game was slipping away from Aberdare and the belief from the rocks was that they could get the bonus point try with 8 minutes left to play.

The momentum was now with the Rocks and the indiscipline and frustrations with the ref from our hosts was clearly hurting them. This resulted in David Mitchell scoring a try at the death of the game Frenchy kicking the conversion to take his haul to 29 points for the day and the result to 34-22. It was hard not to give Frenchy man of the match not only for his haul but his game management in the 2nd half won us the game, but it was his crap box kick that got charged down cost him, but the stand out performance went to Nick Kelly it was the best performance I have seen from him an outstanding game on the open side.

The team is getting better every game fitness levels are good and the strength in depth is impacting the bench. The form book goes out of the window next week as it’s a local derby.

Next Saturday sees recently demoted Penarth visit the Harlequins who are coming off the back of a defeat against promoted Nelson. Over the years the game has produced some good hard encounters this one will be no exception with some added incentives (journey men) it’s going to be a good one.

Well-done to the youth for a good win against Fairwater Away in the Cu. There is an air of expectation this season for some success I am sure under the guidance of Don Gallagher & Ringo they will deliver. I would like to apologise to James Mullane and his team for the lack of organisation with the 2nds it will be sorted by next week. They unfortunately went down to Old Illtydians 1ST team. The 2nds start there league season Saturday against Llandaff 2nds we will put things right for that one.

For an alternative view, read the Aberdare Report

Merthyr v Rocks: Friday 26th August 7.15pm

Report by John Dunleavy

A step up required at Merthyr.

Our third warm up game was against a mixed Merthyr team of first XV team and fringe players yet still a good, strong test.

Selection was an initial problem with our front row unavailable due to holiday and  call offs with Merthyrituss!! This forced us to have to play Simon Colley, Tom Nolan & Paul OBrien for the whole game. I have to say they did a great job especially Obie on the tight head who is the only player I know who turns up early with his kit and don’t want to play, his rugby ambition is to retire as quickly as possible enough said.

The game was a well-balanced hard contest up front I have to say we had the upper hand in the set piece Kris Barry dominating the line out and the front 5 winning the arm wrestle at scrum time. The outstanding performer of the 1st half was Nathan Whetton (Frosty) player his 1st game for the rocks, he put some massive hits in stopping Merthyr’s short carries at source and  along  with his carries he was proving to be nuisance value all the time he was on the field. The back row of Owen Evans and New boy Jack K another big presence were all working well,  Unfortunately we lost Owen Evans and then Frosty had to leave the field after 30 minutes this gave a bit of an advantage to the Merthyr Carriers. The physical momentum turned in the favour of the Merthyr forwards giving them a bit of platform ball which saw them cross for a nicely worked try. The game was heading towards half time and despite our boys valiantly defending Merthyr crossed again in the corner, we did have the final say as we finally took the break off and started playing with the confidence and skill that was missing for 35 minutes and went close to scoring just before the break 12-0 half time.

The 2nd half called for the boys to keep playing with the same intensity and structure they finished with and the chances will come. The forwards were still going well at set piece and the backs started to link up with some good runs from Centre Matt Arnold and full back Danny Evans. It was a difficult night for handling but the backs and forwards linked well to create opportunities unfortunately the last pass did not quite go to hand. Mid-way through the 1st half we lost Obie & Matt Williams through a bad clash of heads both players had cuts Mat Requiring 12 stitches at A&E and Obie requiring 10 Fags on the touch line and a bit of vas. This forced us to go passive as we lost Owen Evans & Matt Williams who were our front row cover. At least it gave both sides an opportunity to work some set piece plays which did swing an advantage back our way.

We made a few changes in the backs introducing Sean James, Martin Silver & Martyn Hill a big 18 year old winger who looks a good find for the future. The game was 10 minutes from time and you could sense Merthyr were starting to tier loose kicking from them brought a good counter from Martyn Hill who linked up well with his forwards, the ball swept left and then back right which resulted in Martyn Hill finishing off a nicely worked try kick missed.

With 5 to go we threatened again by stretching Merthyr out wide again with good link play and slick hands saw big Martin Silver over in the corner kick missed 12-10. The positive thing was that we finished stronger a good testament to the fitness of the team. The outstanding performances were from Frosty, Paul Obrien, Tom Obrien, Kris Barry, Jack K, Danny Evans. This game was a step up from Pill and with 7 players unavailable the team certainly stepped up and competed well. If we learnt one thing from last night it was we have to speed things up and not slow things down especially at penalty time, the amount of yards & momentum gained from the Merthyr 9 was a good lesson in how to get good front foot ball.

With the preseason over we can now look forward to competitive league action starting with a hard 1st game against Aberdare away next week. The last 3 weeks games have definitely been a success with 9 new players signed, competition for places is clear for all to see a nice headache for selection. I would like to thank all the players for the commitment they have shown over the last 6 weeks we need more of the same over the next 8 months. With the new signings and the foundation that was laid by the team last year I am confident we will compete at the top end of the table and hopefully go step further.

Good luck and success to the whole club for the season.

Here is the match report as seen by Merthyr <<Read>>

He we go again ready for another season with the Rocks.

Llandaff Preseason Friendly

August 2011 Photos

Preseason has gone well and so far we have only lost 2 players this year which is a not bad compared to the 13 we lost last year. On the positive side we have gained 9 new players with another 2 on the brink of joining. The focus was to go hard for 4 weeks concentrating on fitness and conditioning and then bring in more contact and game related sessions.

On the coaching side Tony Johnson has semi-retired and has committed to coaching the forwards with the inclusion of Cardiff’s  Nathan Trevett who has recently signed on with the Cardiff Blues main squad. Tony did  however say he will be looking for a run out against Rhiwbina. I don’t know why????

With the world cup warm up games clashing with the normal Preseason friendly’s, fixtures were hard to try and fit in manly due to the time restraints. We were fortunate in getting games against Llandaff & Pill Harries.

The Llandaff game was played on the first Saturday in August. Llandaff had brought a good squad of 30+ players. We also had 30 players on the day to choose from which gave us a good opportunity to try different combinations. Both sides looked a bit rusty,  but that was to be expected given the time of year. The intention from both sides was to move the ball at every opportunity which made for a good game.

The first try came from Simon Colley after some good ball handling from new centre Matt Arnold & Ryan Jones. A further try came after some good all round hands from the backs put in Josh Kelly in the corner. It was clear that our new 10, Dan French,  was starting to run the show and release the hard running backs whenever  possible. To Llandaffs credit they kept the pressure on and forced a penalty close to our line from which they scored a good opportunist try.

The game was opening up and again with some good handling resulted another debut try for Ryan Jones who had to work hard to finish off. The game was going from end to end but we were controller things a little better than our opposition. The final try was scored by Ben Foley another debutant on the wing who again finished off a good move behind off a set piece.

Overall a good performance with plenty still to do before the Pill game. The stand out performances were from Dan French, Ryan Jones, Simon Colley, Lewis Dunleavy, Josh Burrige, Dan Vella, Matt Arnold & Ben Foley.

Pill Harriers Preseason Friendly

August 2011

After an average performance against Llandaff, the call was for the players to up the level against a very big & physical Pill Harries  side. This game would be a more realistic test of what to expect in the league this year.

We were missing Tom Nolan at Hooker due to a holiday, so youth forward Josh Burrige steeped up to hooker and again had a very solid game against one of the biggest front row combination at our level. He was joined by new tight head Andrew Omarlia and the experienced Simon Colley on the loose head. This game was going to be a test for the forwards as they were missing a couple of players due to holiday commitments. The scrum went well, the line out was ok but I was more pleased with the way we defended the rolling mauls in our 22. This was obviously something Pill had worked on as game breaker. We also welcomed Bryn Evans, Gavin Cooper & Mat Williams for their first competitive game for the club.

It was a pretty even affair but we looked dangerous in the backs when we had a bit of go-forward ball. Good links between backs and forwards resulted in the first try to Rhys Meredith. New centre Bryn Evans showed that we have another game breaker in the 13 shirt his hard direct running caused problems every time he had the ball very exciting player to watch. The game was  becoming a defence battle between both sides not given anything. It was like a league game, which was not a bad thing as the previous game was more of an open loose running game. David Mitchell had a good solid game in defence and offered himself as a main ball carrier in attack. His work rate is getting better due to the hard work he has put in over the last 4 -5 weeks.

Pill eventually got a try of their own after some good work from the forwards but the last word wen to Ben Foley finishing off after a good set piece line out and scoring in the corner. The game finished slightly early due to an injury to stand in captain Mathew Khan. We are delighted that the injury was not as bad as first thought and he is fine.

The result was 2 tries to 1 to us but that didn’t matter too much. It was about fronting up and coming through a big test against a monster pack. We did OK at scrum time but we still need more work in training to tweak a few things in the scrum and line-out.

Stand out performances were from Andrew Omarlia, Josh Burrige, Simon Colley, Mat Williams, new Centre Bryn Evans, Matt Arnold, David Mitchell & Jack Cook. We also had a welcome return of Hooker Luke Gibson who mad an immediate impact by hitting his man first line out in 10 months which resulted in a try for Ben Foley. His realigned ankle has obviously improved his throwing in?

Overall a good stand out performances from individuals making selection a bit of a headache. There were also good team performances at times but we still have plenty to do Tuesday & Thursday. We would have taken 2 out of 2 at the start of the month. We are trying to get another game in before the first league game against Aberdare. The one thing that is clear is that the New Players joining will definitely give us more strength in Depth.


Players Out


Danny Murphy  – Rhwbina

Gareth Norman TBC


Players In

Ben Foley

Matt Arnold

Dan French

Ryan Jones

Nathan F

Gavin Cooper Andrew Omarlia

Mat Williams

Bryn Evans TBC

Dan Vella TBC

Maybe 1 other ?????????