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Monday, October 09, 2023
Hodgkins Leads Wanders to Victory

On a cloudy but dry day at the 4G pitch in Penallta Jamin Hodgkins and his Wanderers teammates put themselves under pressure straight away conceding a penalty which allowed Penallta to get the scoreboards moving 3-0. The visitors responded. Gruff Tough and Huw Thomas came close to scoring after off the top lineout ball only to see an interception relieve the home side pressure. Back came the visitors and a Hodgkins kick was minored by the Pitmen giving the Wanderers another chance. This time they chose to keep the ball tight and after a series of drives Finn Davies crashed over to open the visitors scoring. Hodgkins added the extras 3-7. The game moved from end to end with both sides showing an intent to play it was Penallta who scored next. A kick over the top saw the bounce on the all-weather surface elude full back Harry Carson and the ball was gathered by the home side wing who raced away to score 8-7. Once again the Wanderers responded with Chadd Davies and centre Ryan Nunes prominent. A high tackle penalty (something which the referee managed well all day) gave the Wanderers field position and a wide move after a carry from Captain Josh Male saw Morgan Williams cross for the second try. Hodgkins converted again 8-14. The Pitmen charged back and they had a period of pressure. Their scrum got on top and a couple of penalties mounted the intensity. From a scrum under the posts they moved it wide and crossed easily for their second try 15-14. The half entered its final 10 minutes and the home side saw a couple of lineouts go astray relieving the pressure on the visitors. Using some deep kicks the game got camped in the home side half and when penalties were awarded the Wanderers were able to edge back in front with two Hodgkins penalties and take the sides into the break with a 15-20 lead.

The visitors were looking for a solid start to the half having got the lead but a missed tackle from the first play of the 40 saw them on the back foot again. The pressure was piled on but they responded with some good solid scrummaging and tackling and all the home side had for the pressure was a penalty 18-20. The Wanderers saw yellow with Tommy Walsh getting a 10 minute rest after the team conceded several penalties. The game continued to move end to end as both sides strived for a breakthrough and as the visitors managed their yellow card time Hodgkins landed a third penalty to extend the lead 18-23. As the game entered its final quarter the Pitmen once again mounted the pressure. A series of attacks and some good close quarter driving saw them level the game up as they scored their third try leaving the game in the balance at 23-23. The wind started to pick up across the field making kicking out of hand a little more difficult and it was from one difficult clearance that the decisive score came. The loose ball was gathered by Nunes who found himself in space. He raced clear and was able to avoid the defence to cross for the Wanderers third try 23-28. With just over 10 minutes to play the Pitmen were then chasing the game. The Wanderers were reduced to 14 again as Hodgkins saw yellow and both sides sent for fresh legs for the run in. Time was running out and the visitors gained a break with a penalty shot from halfway. Carsonís shot dropped short but as Penallta tried to run out a forward pass kept the pressure on. The Wanderers piled on the pressure trying to seal the win. Steff Davies went very close, being held up over the line but the final play allowed Carson to kick a penalty to make the final score 23-31.
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