Cardiff

k.o. time: 5:30 pm

10 February, 2001

Cardiff Arms Park

Spectators: 3,500

Bridgend
referee
Paul Adams
1
/10
A display of awe-inspiring incompetence. Not refereeing the offside line, transformed the game from rugby to water polo. Mauls were a free-for-all with players diving in from all angles. How can professional athletes expect to perform with some dire officials. No wonder Wales have no referees in the Six Nations if this is the best on offer. Come on WRUin! Sort it out! This shambles is ruining our game!
weather
Constant swirling drizzle
worth annoying the wife factor
1
/10
our man of the match
Craig Morgan
general comment

3,500 -- Five thousand below the average gate - all those fans certainly had better judgment than we did. Where were all the Bridgend fans? Leighton, you're in trouble unless you can find some supporters.

scorers
Craig Morgan (1)
Neil Jenkins (1)
Neil Jenkins (4)
our choice for next week

vs Scarlets

k.o. time: 5:30 pm

24 February, 2001

Stradey Park

15
Gethin Rhys Williams
14
Nick Walne
13
Gareth Thomas
12
Pieter Muller
11
Craig Morgan
10
Neil Jenkins
9
Robert Howley
8
Emyr Lewis
7
Martyn Williams
6
Dan Baugh
5
Mike Voyle
4
Craig Quinnell
3
Dai Young
2
Andrew Lewis
1
Spencer John

For three consecutive games, Howells has presided over a team lacking in motivation, skill and cohesion. Not only are we out of the European Cup, but now the Welsh League is Swansea's - barring any disaster from them - and should we lose at Turkey next time round, the season is dead. Watching your team lose is never easy, but when they even fail to turn up the pill is even more bitter to swallow. This is now a recurring theme and it may seem that the players are intent on ridding the club of Howells by playing poorly. Is the VC the new Ruud Gullit?

As we saw against the Turks, teams come to Arms Park to stop Cardiff from playing. The incredible injury count by Bridgend's forwards stopped any momentum in the game and caused all of us with the video running at home to wonder if we'd allowed enough time at the end of the game. Forget banning tackling above the waste, we fans deserve to get our money's worth and that means ball-in-play time. We've got to stop these cheats ruining the game as a spectator sport. Clearly the players are not fit enough to manage 80 minutes of ball-in-play, but whatever time the administrators decide on, all these pathetic "injuries" would disappear. All this time wasting frustrated Cardiff and the fans who'd paid good money to be entertained. No wonder Bridgend's home crowds are so pitifully low.

The conditions were so terrible that any chance of the game flowing was killed by the torrential downpour suffered throughout the first half. Though in these days of professionalism, you have to wonder why the pitch wasn't covered during the day to keep as much water off as possible. Those of us at the ground could see the puddles grow in the 20 minutes before kick off and we all knew that this would be an error strewn game, controlled by the forwards.

The biggest error was committed by the VC, however, as by previously stating that Dan Baugh had asked to play he wasn't even on the bench! Crazy Dan would have loved the conditions, and it is no surprise that Cardiff's downfall has coincided with his absence. His return against the Turks is imperative, yet by missing the Bridgend game he will go to Stradey with no match fitness.

As predicted the first half was awful, but not as awful as Cardiff. The lack of pace and any interest in their game was obvious and Bridgend sniffed an upset. The first twenty minutes were shocking, and only proved a great advert for St Helens v Wigan. Yet it was Bridgend who struck first, as Taumololololololololo - playing on one leg - entered the line at a shockingly slow speed, only for Jinx to provide a display that any experienced Spanish matador would have been proud of! "Josh" broke the line, passed to the lumbering Deveraux who linked with the failed Warrington Wolves' second row "Mike Peters", who 'sped' into the corner despite the best efforts of Craig Morgan. He had marked both Rugby League giants and indeed tackled Peters some way out, only for his to be carried over on the Tide. The Alarm bells were ringing for Cardiff.

Playing a failed second row on the wing shows how poor the standards are in the Village League. With skill levels plummeting and the crowds deserting the terraces, watch the national team's performance levels nose dive this season.

Cardiff tried to play their way back into the game. The fact that the weather had ruined the already shaky playing surface should have indicated that it was better to keep the ball tight, especially when playing into the strong wind. Yet the disorganized rabble that wear the jerseys from one to eight are a disparate bunch of individuals who so as much cohesion as a swarm of flies. Cardiff's unity up front is poor, so they reverted to the backs. Many opportunities were created by good ball retention, only to be ruined by some dreadful passing, most notably from Robinson (who can't pass water) and Rhys Williams. Had these opportunities been taken, Bridgend may have been forced to up the tempo. As it was, the ball barely went outside Durston. Playing Robinson at inside centre was equally bewildering. When Alfie waltzed through Durston time after time and took so many men out of the game, why play him at outside centre? Robinson was all the physical presence of a wet paper bag and lost the ball in or near contact so many times. Can't believe Geraint John made that call, must have been Yoda.

Ironically, the only Cardiff back who looked capable of breaking the line throughout the game was Gareth Thomas, and when he straightened the line he passed to Morgan to stroll over. Jinx converted and whacked over a penalty and somehow Cardiff were in the lead at half time.

Bridgend played the conditions so much better in the second half and were superbly marshaled by Huw Harries. The slow surface and poor weather negated his lack of speed and he soon realised that the way to beat Cardiff was not to pass to Warlow. Harries chip kicked and box kicked Cardiff to death in the second half, and when he did pass it out it was only to a big forward taking the ball on the charge. He played on Cardiff mistakes - of which there were plenty - and kept them pinned back. He made Rhys Williams' life a nightmare.

The second half was much the same as the first. A missed up and under by Williams allowed Ringer to stroll home as Walne had failed to track behind his full back. Jenkins kicked a penalty and Cardiff were useless. The VC made another crazy decision to replace Andrew Lewis, who was the outstanding forward on the pitch Steve Moore's replacement, Fester, did little and these two moments of madness ruined any chance Cardiff had of gaining the upper hand.

Two crucial crazy refereeing decisions by the hapless Adams may have handed Swansea the Village League already. The first was deep in the Cardiff half as Bridgend attempted to maul a lineout take but were pushed backwards and failed to release the ball. Yet Adams gave Bridgend the scrum and Cardiff were never able to get out of their half. This led to ChickenTika's try and seven points for the visitors.

The second and most important howling error from Adams was the failure to award a yellow card to a Bridgend forward for a cynical professional foul. Having already award Cardiff a penalty for deliberate off side when defending their line, a Bridgend forward committed a second professional foul by preventing Fester from taking a tap penalty. Two professional fouls in two plays deep in their own 22. The culprit was easily recognizable but was only marched back a further ten metres. HOW MUCH MORE OBVIOUS DOES IT HAVE TO BE, MR ADAMS? The 10 metres meant nothing as Jinx retreated to pop over the penalty.

The point is that had Bridgend lost a forward, Cardiff would have taken the five metre scrum and as the Bridgend scrum was creaking already, a push over was likely with 8 v 7. That would have meant an extra four points for Cardiff and 10 minutes with Bridgend a player short.

But to play in the manner that they did, lacking passion and direction was yet another poor show by Cardiff. The fans feel let down, as their quick exit from the ground showed. Many words have been written on this site as to the solution to the problem, but how long must it be before Peter Thomas and his fellow directors realize? By keeping Howells in charge they are responsible for ruining the club and the team. We are at the end of our tether.

15
Gethin Rhys Williams
5
/10
made a hash of the only up and under that he had to take all game, and in so doing gifted a try to RINGER!! The conditions were a nightmare for full backs, but Mr T looked more reliable on one leg. But with every game he plays, he looks more like the centre he always was.
14
Nick Walne
5
/10
has very little to do as the passing to him was woeful, but he only once left his wing to tackle in field - never to take the ball. Another lazy performance which we've come to expect from the man with the talent but a lack of heart. Made Shimmy look past it - which he is.
13
Gareth Thomas
8
/10
obviously playing at outside centre so that Henry could see how he would perform, and he showed up pretty well. Another interference by GH which cost up a game this season. He always broke the line and was keen to take the pass. How ironic that Cardiff's most potent attacking force will be gone by the end of the season. If any Cardiff fans dream that next season will be better than this, they're in for a rude awakening. By Peter Thomas failing to take action this season, next will be a rebuilding season for us - you can forget Europe next season.
12
Jamie Robinson
3
/10
an absolutely woeful performance of poor kicking and ill-directed passing. The success he has achieved has gone to his head as since the turn of the year he has been a disaster. His positive contribution consisted of the crash ball!
11
Craig Morgan
8
/10
had only one or two passes throughout the game but was used to good effect with his kicking. Next season should see him return to full back with Rhys Williams in the centre.
10
Neil Jenkins
4
/10
a pathetic attempt to tackle Taumolololololo which led to Bridgend's first try, he gave Warlow a kicking lesson. Despite Mr T playing on only one leg, Jenkins failed to move him around the pitch or pepper him with up and unders.
9
Ryan Powell
6
/10
his delivery is still too slow and he must realize that he can snipe only on fast surfaces where his pace is his asset. So many times Jenkins took the ball behind him or around his neck. Come on Ryan! This is basic scrum half play. Hesitant with ball in hand, his indecisiveness was contagious. Stuttering distribution and a lack of support from his back row only added to the embarrassment.
8
Emyr Lewis
5
/10
very little ball carries and was hardly in the game - obviously not fit after his worrying injury last week - why was he picked, Yoda?
7
Martyn Williams
7
/10
was voted Man of the Match by the sponsors and did show up well in his battle with Ringer - but that is no measure. Another who faded in the mud, he is a player who shines in a team going forward. A professional at Cardiff, he should have been at the forefront in the last twenty minutes as the semi-pros/amateurs of Bridgend faded.
6
Greg Kacala
5
/10
a quiet game in the mud, but he tackled well. The whole pack played like a bunch of individuals.
5
Mike Voyle
7
/10
showed up very well in the lineout after his, ahem, "back injury", ahem. Leapt like a salmon. He pinched Bridgend ball (Bridgend's lineout is probably almost as bad as Cardiff's! They rarely challenged the jumper all game and so allowed Cardiff to escape with some dodgy throws) and scrummaged well. His effort around the park was one of a guy playing for his place and he deserves a game in Stradey. However, his body angles when joining mauls were an embarrassment and need to be sorted! Leaning with your chest and not driving with your shoulders shows up the woeful coaching skills at the club.
4
Steve Moore
5
/10
was underused in the lineout - another who had a quiet game - another who went through the motions - another who turned up to pick up his money.
3
Ken Fourie
5
/10
held up well in the scrums but seemed to have picked up an injury. Jogged through the game with the rest of the pack. The introduction of Dai Young had little effect, if any.
2
Andrew Lewis
8
/10
Cardiff's best forward by a street - so the VC replaced him!!! His lineout throwing was excellent, with only one or two not going to hand. Around the field he was committed, as always. His face when replaced summed up how the fans felt as well - bemused and mightily hacked off. Tried to lead from the front, but the poor morale in the team is soooooo obvious to us all. There's no confidence, no hunger to win, no collective effort in the pack and no one exhorts his fellow team mates for more effort. The club spirit is dead.
1
Spencer John
5
/10
Another who turned up and charged head high into contact. Support for the ball carrier is now so far behind that every tackle point looks like a penalty about to happen. At the beginning of the season, we saw the supporter driving in onto the ball carrier, but now support is so far away, the need telephones to talk to each other. A disorganized embarrassment, just how bad does it have to get before Peter Thomas does the inevitable. Even if he can't find a replacement until the end of the season, his dithering is now costing us the chance to win any trophy this year. Forget laying off people from the shop, the bar and just about anywhere else to save pennies - sort out the coach and you may get a few more people through the turnstiles!