1st XV advance in Welsh schools’ plate.

1st XV advance in Welsh schools’ plate.

Gowerton School: 1st XV: 43 Ysgol Bro Pedr 1st XV: 41

With the wet January weather meaning Gowerton School’s 1st XV had been without a game since before Christmas the spring sunshine brought welcome respite and a chance for the team to get back on pitch when they entertained Ysgol Bro Pedr from Lampeter at Elba in the first round of the Welsh schools’ Plate competition.

The two schools made up for lost time by producing an excellent game of attacking rugby, which saw the lead changing hand on numerous occasions before Gowerton eventually came out on top.

The visitors kicked off playing into a stiff breeze and were first to threaten when they attacked from a midfield scrum, but a knock on in midfield was seized upon by home centre James Northey and he fed full back Cameron Clayfield who beat a couple of defenders and broke clear to sprint to the try line for the opening score of the game. Fly-half Iwan Jones added the extras.

Bro Pedr had several Scarlets regional players in their ranks and carried a threat with the pace they possessed behind the scrum. Centre Ryan Mackay was a strong ball carrier causing the hosts’ defence significant problems and when he breached the defence on halfway it took a last ditch tackle and jackle from fly half Jones to repel the threat and allow the pack to regain control of the ball and clear their lines.

The visitors continued to attack and with Gowerton lacking discipline in the contact area they were awarded several penalties, the strong wind meant they were unable to go for the posts but they were able to maintain the pressure on the hosts and were rewarded in the 15th minute when a break by fly-half Osian Jones allowed him to release strong running wing Bryn Jones who had the pace to race clear and score an unconverted try.

This score only seemed to spur the hosts on, and with prop Mabon Kaniewski and hooker Jacob Purcell both carrying strongly they were able to put the visitors’ defence under pressure, initially they held firm but when hooker Purcell forced a penalty, fly Jones converted to increase the hosts’ lead to 10-5.

Bro Pedr continued to threaten with the pace of their backs, and another strong midfield carry by centre Mackay allowed him to breach the defence, his offload created an overlap and wing Jack Williams scored in the corner. Fly-half Osian Jones added the extra points.

Gowerton kicked long from the restart, and set up a defensive lineout in the visitors’ 22. Bro Pedr secured possession but flanker Will Griffiths reacted quickly to intercept the pass, he was tackled short of the line but was able to pop off to supporting lock Adam Williams who scored. The try was converted by fly half Jones.

Confidence boosted, the hosts were now in the ascendancy and looking to attack from anywhere, and when a visitors’ clearing kick was gathered by Gowerton full back Clayfield in his own half, he set off on a mazy run, beating several defenders before linking with centre Tom Davies. Strong carries from No.8 Zac Johns, flanker Sam Terry and winger Joe Legg, freed fly-half Jones who chipped over the defence and reclaimed it to score he converted himself.

However, it was the visitors who had the final say of the half – they were awarded a scrum from the kick off and when the ball was spread wide to wing Williams he raced clear to score and at the break Gowerton led 24-17.

Bro Pedr had the advantage of the breeze in the second period and immediately put the hosts under pressure. Scrum half Jacob Williams worked hard to organise his defence, but there was nothing he could do when the visitors were awarded a penalty for dissent. Fly half Osian Jones converted and gap was down to 4 points.

Gowerton responded positively and forwards Purcell and Johns drove the ball into the opposition 22, and when the visitors were penalised, a quick tap saw prop McCann held just short of the line from the ensuing ruck a snipe by scrum half Williams saw him held up over the line. Bro Pedr were able to clear their lines, but the next attack from Gowerton saw fly half Jones pick up the loose ball and feed centre Northey who beat his man with some quick footwork and set wing Alex Hughes free, he beat the last man before showing a blistering turn of pace to score in the corner. Jones sent over the conversion from the touchline.

Bro Pedr fought back, and from a scrum they again threw the ball wide and wing Bryn Jones once again went over in the corner, with the 2 points added from Osian Jones the visitors were back within 4 points again. Centre Mackay was still punching holes in the Gowerton defence, but an excellent tackle and turnover by centre Tom Davies saw them awarded a penalty that allowed them to relieve the pressure.

Gowerton were next to attack and when they were awarded a scrum centre Davies made a strong carry in midfield and offloaded to full back Clayfield who scored his second try of the game. Iwan Jones once again added the extras.

Gowerton’s replacements Tom Richards and Matthew Davies added some freshness to the backline, but the hosts again let themselves down when a second penalty for dissent allowed the visitors to take a quick tap to score a try, which was again converted by Jones.

The frenetic final minutes saw the visitors chasing the game and when they tried to play out of their own 22, a turnover by man of the match Sam Terry saw the ball spun out wide to wing Hughes who went over in the corner for his second score. The try went unconverted.

It was fitting that the visitors had the last say when on the final play of the game they crossed for a try which Jones converted, but Gowerton were not to be denied and emerged victors of a thoroughly entertaining match 43-41 and move into the draw for the next round.

Match report: Mr M. Lewis

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