We were treated to TWO Scimitar derbies this weekend, with Llandovery and Pontypridd going toe to toe in the Indigo Premiership, whilst Hereford made the short trip to struggling Worcester in the Regional 2 Midlands West league.
Spoiler alert; they were both BRILLIANT games!
Starting with the first derby, Church Bank Playing Fields hosted the Indigo Welsh Premiership tie between two in-form teams; Llandovery and Pontypridd. There wasn’t much time on the clock before the first action of the half; the Drovers kicked off the scoring after just 3 minutes thanks to Jamie Hughes.
Pontypridd, eager not to roll over to the Premiership’s defending champions, were awarded a penalty in the 13th minute. Josh Phillips successfully kicking to get the visitors first points of the game.
Minutes later, Ponty surprised the hosts and went ahead thanks to Liam Lloyd. It was then Pontypridd’s half to lose as they remained in control for the remainder of the first half. Despite Ponty scoring the first points of the second half, the Drovers were soon in front as Llandovery’s Taylor Davies took it over the line with Maynard converting to take the lead.
With the potential of a late comeback, Pontypridd yet again threatened the reigning champions. As the clock ticked down, it just wasn’t enough as Llandovery won the game by the smallest of margins; 12-11.
Looking ahead to the weekend, Ponty host Neath at Sardis Road whilst the league leaders won’t return to play in the Welsh Premiership until the 20th of January. Oh, but it’s a good one. They welcome Ebbw Vale to Church Fields in a top-of-the-table Scimitar derby!
Talking of the Steelers’, Ebbw Vale remain in second place in the Indigo Welsh Premiership despite starting 2024 with a defeat against Cardiff. As the game kicked off at the Ciner Glass Community Stadium, it was evident that Cardiff meant business. With the Steelmen struggling for points in the first half, Cardiff took advantage with a dominant second period to win the game 9-23.
Although Ebbw Vale will kick themselves for dropping points at home, they remain 2nd in the table ahead of a trip to RGC this weekend.
Back across the border into England, we head north-east to the National League 2 North as Rotherham Titans welcomed local rivals Sheffield Tigers. Rotherham showcased their togetherness and ability this season, overcoming a strong Tigers side 35-17.
Rotherham were well-aware of the importance of the bonus point in this game, as they continue to chase down unbeaten league leaders Leeds Tykes. With tries from Charlie Capps, Luke Cole, John Okafor, Harry Dunne and Lloyd Hayes, the bonus point was achieved to keep the Titans in contention for the title.
Next up, Rotherham will face mid-table Lymm RFC as they look for another bonus point win to force more pressure on Leeds Tykes.
Over in the Regional 2 Midlands West now and the second Scimitar derby of the weekend. Hereford made the journey to face local (and county name) rivals Worcester RFC at home. With both teams coming off the back of the defeats in December, it was a must must-win game.
Both teams hit the 20-point mark, but Hereford scored late to edge the fixture 26-20. The win leaves Hereford in 5th place on a respectable 40 points. Worcester, on the other hand, continue to struggle for points this campaign and remain second from bottom with just 11 points and one win so far.
This performance, however, will do wonders for the Worcester players’ confidence as they make the trip to face Silhillians away from home. Hereford will welcome Cheltenham.
Talking of Worcester, Worcester Women are back in action on Sunday as they are set to face Kenilworth Women away from home.
Barkers Butts started the new year similarly to how they ended 2023; with another successive league win! Butts travelled to face Walsall II but went on to dominantly win the game 10-33 to make it 9 league wins in a row with the addition of an AWO. The team is now three points clear at the top of the table with an impressive tally of 60 points.
They will look to extend their record to 10 successive wins this week as they prepare to play Claverdon at home and continue the push for promotion.
Elsewhere in the league, Woodrush were in action against a strong Coventry Welsh side. It wasn’t the start to the year Rush were hoping for as they were comprehensively beaten 48-15.
Woodrush are currently sitting in 10th place with 16 points, and will be looking for points this weekend as they prepare to face Coalville on Saturday.
Over in Counties 2 Surrey, Chipstead were in action against 10th-place Old Amplefordians. One thing that Chipstead has proven so far this season is that they can score tries; they continued this trend easily, beating Old Amplefordians 7-45 resulting in their sixth bonus point being awarded.
With the top of the table in their sights, Chipstead will look to gain another bonus point victory this weekend as they face Purley John Fisher.
Finally, we would like to wish Swansea University Rugby good luck as they will be back in action for round 12 of the BUCS Super Rugby league on the 24th of January.
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