Oakdale RFC | 1st Team 34 - 10 Tredegar Ironsides RFC | 1st Team
Samuel Skyrme
Try 1
Jordan Wall
Try 2
Stuart Smith
Try 1
Josh Thomas
Conversion 4
Penalty 2
Jack Cullen
1 Try
Mathew Williams
1 Try

Match Report
05 September 2017 / Team News

You look like a Ten, you play like a Ten, YOU ARE A TEN!!!

If we look back on the Summer of 2017 many people would have called it a ‘funny one’. Discussions and planning started early and we knew what we wanted and what we wanted to achieve. But as Jimmy Greaves used to say ‘Rugby is a funny old game’ and we saw more people going out the door than coming in. That being said, those that came in certainly have added a further quality to the squad and we went into the new season after a promising two warm-up games with much confidence.

Our visitors on a fine and sunny first September weekend were Tredegar Ironsides and whilst we hadn’t played them in a couple of seasons we knew they had recruited a lot of players and had a togetherness which was going to be hard to break down.

Our new Captain for the 2017/2018 season, Mark Dowden, led his side out onto the field and it was down to business. The Dale started off strongly and had the lion’s share of territory in the first five minutes and it could have been try time after only six minutes when Josh Thomas was put through a gap by Sam Dixon when Thomas took a fine straight line. With the full back to beat Josh looked to the right and saw support out wide. To bring them into the game he grubber kicked into the try zone but no matter how much Luke Lovell and Stuart Smith chased the ball trundled over the dead ball line.

 For the first ten minutes of the game it was all Oakdale in terms of territory. When the visitors cleared their lines it was just run back at them and something had to give but for the Dale it was a penalty just to the right of the Ironsides posts. Josh obviously hadn’t oiled his kicking boots over the Summer as his first effort of the season shaved the right hand upright and the score remained at nil all.

But three minutes later it was try time when Gareth GED Davies in the back row burst through a gap and eat up the yards. He passed it to Jordan Wall who had time to entertain the crowd with a bit of ball juggling but when he managed to get it under control he crossed the whitewash and will therefore no doubt be one of the questions on next year’s tour quiz. Josh converted to take the Dale into a 7-0 lead.

We hadn’t had chance to see what the ironsides could do up until then but going behind certainly spurred them on and before too long they found themselves in the home side’s half. On sixteen minutes, they burst through the Oakdale defence and looked to be heading for the try line until GED managed to haul the ball carrier down. They recycled well and tossed the ball out to the left where their big number eight was waiting to crash over to make it one try each. The conversion was missed but the deficit was reduced to seven points to five.

Oakdale knew this was a game they had to win to start the season off well and the re-start went their way with a couple of good runs at the visitor’s defensive line. They looked to go right but when space was at a premium they checked back and came the other way. A loose pass bobbled across the ground and was picked up well by GED and once again the unselfish gent that he is, this time put Sam Syme through a gap. Now we all know Sam as a rambunctious back rower cum winger but being put in the number 10 berth for the day saw those hips sway from side-to-side to take his hulking frame over the line for the Dale’s second try of the day. Josh struck the conversion through the uprights and the home side went into a 14-5 lead.

With four minutes to go until the interval the Ironsides were knocking on the try-time door again and stretching the Dale’s defence. Some great hands by the away side saw a 2 on 1 situation out wide and five metres from the line and with only one more pass to complete they were going to be right back in the game but the ball carrier got four ‘no’s’ from the judges when the Ref blew for a forward pass and their supporters sunk their heads into their hands.


Oakdale started the second half in good fashion with a nice and steady approach to making ground. Although when they lost possession it was all hands-on deck to get it back which they did without too much trouble. No-one really expected much when they saw Jordan with the ball in his hands but did a Barcelona-esque one-two with Cerrig Wilson to set himself free and charging up the field. A couple of side-steps later he passed to Cieron Jenkins who did his best to stay ahead of the defensive chase. He was pulled down with 10 yards to the line but the Dale’s support were there in numbers and with good recycled ball Jordan found himself in possession again and crossed for what was Oakdale’s try of the season (so far!!). Josh slotted the conversion & extended the Dale’s lead to 21-5.

Ironsides hit back once again after showing great desire to stay in the game with a try in the corner but the conversion was missed and the scoreboard clicked over to 21-10 to the Dale.

On 51 minutes Oakdale made a break into the opposition’s 22 and had men either side for the subsequent attack on the visitor’s line but an indiscretion by one of the Irons ide’s players saw the Referee award the Dale a penalty within touching distance of the line. Instead of looking for the bonus point, Captain Mark pointed to the posts and his mukka Josh duly obliged with another successful kick and the home side’s lead extended to 24-10.

Oakdale were now brimming with confidence and finding gaps in the Ironside’s defence with regularity. This time, Ceiron Jenkins was put through and his little legs thundered up the field. Before he was brought down he passed to Luke Lovell who himself was tackled just before the line but it was a case of deja-vu when the Ironside’s were again penalised for an infringement at the ruck. It seemed that Mark was doing his upmost not to get that bonus point when he motioned to the posts once again but the home side’s lead was extended even further when Josh slotted another kick to make it 27-10.

It happened a couple of times last season and Saturday saw another episode of Oakdale slipping into that Twilight Zone when the game just fell flat on its backside from 55 – 70 minutes and no matter how much we wanted it the game just sauntered from one mistake to the next with no team being able to exert any dominance on the game. That was it for me, I had to go and cook the chips and therefore missed the last ten minutes of the game (JOB ALERT!! MATCHDAY COOK WANTED). I retreated back to my little room at the back of the club rueing a missed opportunity to gain that all important bonus point to get our season off to the start we all wanted. Fortunately for me though my phone went off before the end of the game to tell me that returning winger, Stuart Smith managed to get himself on that scoreboard accompanied with another conversion from Josh to grab that all-important bonus point and the first win of what will hopefully be a successful season for the Dale.


It’s important here that I try to impress on you how impressed we all were by that man Skyrme who was thrust into the number 10 role on Saturday. None of us really knew that he had played there in his youth and we all knew him as that crazy motocross dude who liked running into people. His service out of hands reached it’s intended destination every time, he didn’t throw bombs out to his team mates putting them in a predicament and his kicking out of hands was of a standard of a regional player. He might not play there all year but what a debut at 10 for the man, well payed Sam!!!

Rhys had told us that he didn’t want to play again and you can understand him when he hobbles around the week after a game but throwing five dummies in the first six minutes and going himself is not going to get him any sympathy of any of us. We all know he still loves it even if his body doesn’t.

Great to see Stuart Smith back in an Oakdale jersey. It was probably about six years ago that we last saw him but he hasn’t lost any of the finishing prowess and it looks like he could be in contention for top try scorer of the year.

But after week one it’s ol’big ed at the top of the tree, Mr Jordan Wall. Wally put in a shift on Saturday along with everyone else in the pack. He looked dangerous with ball in hand and in defence he was solid. He deserved his man of the match award even though Skyrme was the bookies favourite but we all know if he hadn’t of got it he would have showed off like a big kid all night.

Monmouth next week. Anyone fancy a road trip?


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