"This is your captain speaking..."
I went into the festive period this year with mixed emotions…
Elation following our romp away at Cross Keys, devastation after the loss at Llandovery, celebration after our entertaining “Stars in their Eyes” event, satisfaction after our winning entrance into the Cup, and frustration after the postponement of the Bridgend match.
No one could have predicted a sixty point win on a freezing Tuesday night at Pandy Park – apart maybe from webmaster Owz in his TerraceTalk predictions! I have played at Cross Keys on many occasions over the past twelve seasons and it’s always been a tough place to go. On the night we were dominant in all phases and able to pull off moves straight from our training sessions, which pleased the Chief no end.
There were notable performances, with wing Owen Williams running in four tries, and the front row exceeding in their work around the field, putting in big hits and hard carries.
We went into the Llandovery game confident of getting another win on the road, but were outplayed in the first period when the home team racked up twenty unanswered points. A half time bollocking shook us up, with a more spirited second half performance, but not enough to make up the deficit, and we lost to a better team on the day.
It was a very frustrating experience for the squad, for myself and for the coaches, as we know we are capable of beating anyone on our day, but of course psychology is a massive part of the game these days!
We then had a Saturday off, and all enjoyed a fantastic evening with the “Stars in their Eyes” show. We all needed a few quiet beers to settle the nerves before taking to the stage, and speaking to the supporters who attended, all agreed that it was a great success.
Next up was Dunvant in the Cup, a potential banana skin, but our power forward play and some well worked moves amongst the backs set us on the way to a good win, and another home draw against Pooler in the next round. We look forward hopefully to another successful run in the cup this year.
It was a huge disappointment that the Bridgend game was called off last Saturday. I’d had a low key Christmas, taking my time over a few quiet drinks and not tucking into the turkey too much, only for the festive fixture to be postponed. No doubt our conditioning sessions with Curly this week will be tough ones, and Johnsy and Chief have called us in for training at 11am on New Year’s Day! That’s dedication for you!
As usual our away game at Cardiff next Saturday will go out live on TV, and we hope that we can get all aspects of our preparation right for this big clash. We will be aiming for a repeat of our festive win two seasons ago in front of the cameras at the Arms Park. Hopefully a good result will set us up for a successful run in 2009.
To all our supporters, I wish a very Happy New Year – let’s start it off by taking the Arms Park by storm... Ole! Ole! Ole!
Nathan Strong – 29/12/09
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