Thames was honoured to be invited to play for the Carwyn cup at Pegasus Palmerians. The game was in memory of a past Pegasus stalwart, sadly taken to early from the world of rugby, but his memory was marked by a gathering of his rugby family and a local derby.
For both teams it was the last weekend to prepare for their league assault, a very hot day, the game was going to be tough, not just because of the temperature but because any local derby has that extra added spice.
The first half started off as a nervy affair, with errors in abundance from both sides. As the game progressed Thames had the lion share of the territory but Pegasus' defence was outstanding and committed, holding up Thames three times to deny their hosts vital scores. Both sides were giving everything and were showing an array of moves but equally being thwarted by strong defence. The Thames pack was winning the forward battle, driving back the home side at the set pieces. On the stroke of half time Thames had an attacking lineout, Liam Smith rose high unopposed and this gave Thames the platform they needed. Punching a hole into the Pegasus' defence it was Edgar Juska that finished off the move crashing over the line to open the scoring. Lee Cairns comfortably added the extra points from the kicking tee bringing the half to a close with Thames leading by seven points.
The second half started off well for Pegasus as they camped on the Thames 5 metre line and driving over the try line then converting, to bring back the score to all square at 7 apiece.
Not wishing to let their hosts have too much to celebrate, Thames surged forward from the restart and almost scored in quick reply but Juska was just forced out before he could cross the line. As Pegasus prepared to clear their lines from their lineout, Thames had other ideas stealing the ball. Quick hands and well timed passes gave guest player Michael Kite the space he needed to dive over the try line.
Pegasus may have been behind again but were not beaten; they recycled a turnover ball quickly catching Thames defence thinly spread. The Pegasus' flyer sprinted for the try line, as he searched for space he clearly stepped out off the field of play but was not seen by the match officials and finished his run underneath the Thames' posts. The conversion followed and Pegasus lead 14 - 12.
Focusing on the injustice that Thames felt they gathered themselves and attacked route one. Thames forwards drove forward with the backs stepping in to add their extra pace. As the ball was passed from one phase to the next, Daniel Proctor accepted a popped up pass, sided stepped and crashed over under the hosts posts. Cairns made light work of the extra two points putting his side back in front.
The next try came from Thames and was just an amazing piece of skill. Cairns saw space behind the Pegasus line and knowing that Max Clarke had the pace to chase his kick, he put up a hanging bomb. Clarke was first to the bounce and left the Pegasus' player standing. As the way ahead closed for space Clarke chipped a kick of his own ahead and again re gathered before anyone else. Now with clear space Clarke left the Pegasus players in his wake and ran in under the posts. Cairns again added the extra points.
With only minutes to play Pegasus were determined to cross the Thames line again, getting themselves down close to the try line they pushed hard. The Thames defensive line held firm and were awarded a free kick which allowed them to bring the game to a close winning 26 -14.
A fantastic game that was played in great spirit and sets up a rematch next year for the Carwyn Cup. Thames Player of the match was a hard decision but for his good discipline and work ethic it was award to Edgar Juska.