Dowlais paid the price for a slow a start as league leaders Llanishen run out 20-7 winners in an entertaining game at Usk Rd.
Dowlais were put under pressure from the off with the home team using their forwards to carry the ball deep into the Dowlais half. A clean lineout take by Jonathan Davies and a drive seemed to be edging The Dragons away from their try line only for the ball to be stolen and the quick thinking home scrum half went blind before off loading to winger Mike Callow who crossed the whitewash, Phillip Thomas adding the conversion. The lead was soon extended to 13 -0 as Dowlais were harshly penalised at the tackle area allowing Thomas to kick two penalties. The scrum was proving to be an outlet for the Dragons as prop forwards Jamie Cross and James Churchill put their opposite numbers under pressure causing a number of turnovers. A scrum on the half way gave Dowlais a chance to attack number 8 Simon Griffiths combined with Captain James Quirk to take play into the Llanishen 22, the referee awarded a penalty and the visitors kicked to touch the lineout was taking by Dai Kelly but the Dragons were unable to force their way over the try line as the hosts held firm. With half time approaching Dowlais tried a different approach winger James Kelly made the first break flankers Lloyd Morgan and Aaron Davies continued the movement a long miss pass looked to have put fullback Ceri Morgan into space only for the ball to bobble free from his grasp and home flanker Coombs seized on the loose ball to cross with Thomas adding the conversion Dowlais found themselves 20 points down at the break.
A change of tactic was ordered from the coaches and the Dragons bought into it as they committed more bodies to the rucks enabling clean ball for scrum half Huw Williams to feed his backline, a break by outside half Robert Downes was well supported by winger Jonathan Foster and his chip ahead caught the home defence flat footed allowing centre Chris Cooksey to re-gather and outpace the Llanishen fullback for a deserved try, Downes slotting the conversion. The Dragons were certainly causing the league leaders problems and another scrum turnover gave them a good position in the Llanishen 22. A good forward drive with Churchill and Kelly to the fore got the visitors within 2 metres only for ill discipline to cost Dowlais the chance of a second try. The Dragons continued to play rugby as the home team looked to work themselves down field with the boot of Thomas this meant that the Dragons had to attack from deep and despite their best efforts they were unable to find a way through the Llanishen defence leaving the home team victorious by 20 points to seven. In a fine second half performance Dowlais gave a good account of themselves and were left wondering what might have been if they hadn’t taken 40 minutes to believe.