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Mountain Ash v Gilfach Goch Programme Notes. Saturday 27th March 2010.

By Gareth Roberts, Sunday March 28

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome back to Parc Dyffryn Pennar for our penultimate Division 2 East league fixture of the season. Today we would like to welcome our Mid District counterparts, Gilfach Goch RFC for what is an important game for both sides. Gilfach have enjoyed a superb campaign so far, sitting proudly on top of the table,10 points clear of second placed Treorchy after recording 12 wins from 14 starts with just 2 defeats at the hands of Newport Saracens and Llantrisant.The Old Firm lost the corresponding game at Welfare Park on 24th October by 13 points to 6 and if we harbour any thoughts of catching the top 2 then that result will have to be reversed today.1996/97 was a momentous year for today's opponents as they won Division 6 Central and the Glamorgan County Silver Ball competition, repeating their Silver Ball success the following season. In 2003/04 they were crowned champions of Division 3 South East and in 2007/08 returned to Division 2 East after winning a play off against Aberavon Quins.Gilfach Goch Rugby Football Club was established in 1889 and has been a member of the Welsh Rugby Union since 1956.Their clubhouse, in High Street Gilfach Goch, has been their base for the past 40 years. In that time many people have come and gone, but one thing has remained the same, the effect of Rugby and the Rugby Club on the community. This is a community club, and with over 170 players currently involved in teams run by the club, you can see their roots stretch deep into the heart of the valley. These roots are continually developing, especially with the development of the Junior section of the club. Gilfach Goch currently run the following teams :- 1st XV, 2nd XV, Youth XV and many mini rugby teams from Under 8's up to Youth age.Immediately following today's match, Mountain Ash Veterans entertain Cissou Old Boys Club who hail from Montpellier, France.This is The Old Boys second visit to the town after playing a hastily arranged floodlit match here on Parc Dyffryn Pennar several seasons ago.Tonight in the clubhouse, Mountain Ash RFC will make a presentation to our French guests and a traditional Welsh welcome will be afforded courtesy of the Mountain Ash RFC Singers who last weekend performed their 11th Annual Concert at a packed St. Margaret's Church where they were supported by the children of Our Ladies R.C.School Choir and Jessica and Joanna Evans, all the proceeds from the evening were donated to the Velindre Hospital. To date, the Singers have donated over £17,500 arising from their Annual Concerts to various local charities.The Singers of course have very strong links with the Old Firm, having been formed in 1974 following a trip to Murrayfield, many of their members being ex players and associates of the club with conductor David Lewis a former Mount prop.Their President is His Honor Judge Phillip Richards who is also Patron of the Old Firm and recently joined the Singers as an active chorister- his solo performance in The Dubliner, Cape Town on the Old Firm's South African tour a few years back catapulting him on to bigger and better things ! The Singers would welcome any new faces who wish to join their ranks, practice taking place each Sunday evening at the RAFA Club. Tonight promises to be an excellent evening and all are invited to attend in the upstairs concert hall.Our last home match on 27th February was a very frustrating affair as we went down to a disappointing defeat at the hands of visitors Llantwit Fardre by 15 points to 11. This was a game we really should have won with quite a bit to spare but it wasn't to be as the visitors snatched victory in the 95th minute with a converted try, our inability to finish off the numerous chances created ultimately costing us the match despite a try from Gavin Roberts and a penalty apiece from Matthew Parfitt and Nick Griffiths. An away fixture at Newport Saracens was next on the agenda and despite the hosts holding up the rest of the Division,another tough encounter was anticipated as the Saracens could feel a little unlucky not to have won the game played earlier in the season at PDP which eventually ended in a 16 all draw.Thankfully, on this occasion, the Old Firm were well in control of the situation and ran out worthy winners by 16 points to 7.Super poacher Craig Evans scampered in from halfway for one of the tries of the season after Mount had counter attacked from their own line and Nick Griffith's two penalties and a further try from Matthew Dixon gave us a comfortable advantage before a late converted try by Cobham finalised the scoring at 16 - 7.It's been a mixed 6 Nations for Wales although last week's win over Italy was a big improvement on earlier matches where we shot ourselves in the foot far too frequently and our 8th position in the IRB rankings would seem to be a fair indication of where we currently stand on the world stage.One of the most pleasing refereeing decisions however came in the Ireland / Wales Under 20 fixture when the Irish blindside winger was receiving treatment from the trainer on the Irish 22. The French referee called for the ensuing scrum to go ahead and lo and behold, up jumped the winger miraculously recovered from 'injury' to race back into position before Wales could take advantage of the undefended space . A great call this by the ref because it's a dubious tactic used by sides who are usually under the cosh, trying to take a breather and the sting out of the side in the ascendency and it's a pity that more officials do not take a similar stance against this blatant act of gamesmanship that is becoming far too frequent in matches at all levels and totally against the spirit of the game.The next two Saturday's brings the local derby's against Abercynon (away) and Ynysybwl (home) we then finish our league programme with three away fixtures at Penallta, Treorchy and Brynmawr. The Mid District Cup quarter final away at Ynysybwl will take place on Tuesday 30th March, kick off 7-15. The live band playing in the club on Easter Sunday are the top covers band 'The Undecided'- all welcome, once again admission free.The club lottery 'Lucky 4' today stands at £1,900. Tickets are available on the gate and clubhouse, draw to take place at 8-00pm this evening. Mountain Ash Cricket Club are on the lookout for new players for the forthcoming season that gets underway in early May. The club will run 2 Senior sides that play league cricket on Saturday's and a Sunday X1 that play friendlies. 2 newly formed Junior sides are also in the pipeline, check MACC website and the Rugby Club for further details.
Gareth Roberts.

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