Wales Deaf kicked off their new season with an encouraging victory by 13 – 10 against the Welsh Academicals at Taffs Well RFC.
Playing against a side full of promising young students, the game was played at a high intensity for the full 80 minutes with both sides reluctant to kick the ball, preferring to keep the ball in hand and unleash their pacey back-lines.
The ‘Accies’ were first on the scoreboard after 30 minutes following an interception within the Wales Deaf half which allowed Matthew Howells to crash over near the posts. The conversion was unsuccessful as the post kept the score to 0-5.
Eight minutes later, the ‘Accies’ stretched their lead as Owain Tudur glided through some generous defence to make it 0-10.
An infringement in a ruck offered Treorchy outside half Celyn Ashton the opportunity to reduce the deficit from 39m. The sweetly struck effort brought Wales within a converted try with half time approaching.
Then on the stroke of half time, Andrew Healy scored the second interception try of the evening as he strode over unopposed under the posts. The resulting conversion made it 10 –10 at the break.
Encouraged by their strong finish to the first half, Wales Deaf exerted early pressure in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Their reward was a 28m penalty by Celyn Ashton which put Wales Deaf ahead for the first time in the match by 13-10.
With 12 minutes left, referee Stuart Kibble yellow carded Wales Deaf’s Richard Jones for an infringement at a ruck as the ‘Accies’ pushed for the match winning score.
As the clock entered the red zone, it seemed inevitable that the visitors would clinch it at the death with huge pressure exerted on the hosts try line. Fortunately for Wales Deaf, a dropped pass with the try line looming saw Wales Deaf hold out for a deserved victory by 13 points to 10.
More images can be found at the Wales Deaf Rugby Facebook site