Gowerton School 1st XV: 58 Yale Secondary (Vancouver, Canada) 1st XV: 17.

Thursday 22nd March 2018

Gowerton School 1st XV: 58 Yale Secondary (Vancouver, Canada) 1st XV: 17.


The two squads after the game.

Gowerton School hosted Yale Secondary School from Vancouver in Canada. The visitors had started their tour in France and having moved on to Wales they were playing the first game of the tour. Gowerton were again fortunate to be able to call on the services of WRU professional referee Ben Whitehouse to officiate at the game.


A healthy crowd of several hundred were at Gowerton RFC to watch. The hosts kicked off playing into the stiff breeze and started the game at breakneck pace opening the scoring in the 2nd minute with an excellent team try that saw them building pressure on the hosts line through a series of phases with hooker Ben Brown, flanker Tim Perkins and props Tom McCann and John Edwards all carrying strongly before an excellent wide pass from No.8 Matthew Hutchinson gave wing Matthew Newcombe the space to squeeze over in the corner. Despite the difficult wind, scrum half Iwan Jones added the extras from the touchline.


Matthew Hutchinson wins a lineout.

The visitors responded immediately, they forced a scrum in Gowerton’s 22 in the 4th minute and cleverly worked a blindside move that allowed wing Liam Crosby-Jones to score in the corner.


In the 12th minute the hosts stretched their lead when another multi phase move which included strong drives from No.8 Hutchinson, flanker Perkins and prop Edwards ended with the ball in centre Clayfield’s hands and he showed both deft footwork and electric pace off the mark to sprint clear and score from 25 metres out.


Try scorer Cameron Clayfield looks for space.


The early phases of the game were an excellent advert for the sport with both sides attacking with ball in hand and showing excellent skill levels. The end to end nature of the game continued and the fourth try of the game went to the visitors in the 20th minute when an excellent counter ruck on halfway turned possession over. The ball was moved swiftly to the wing and Hector Solis had the pace to outstrip the defence and score a try that Kalem Burns converted to tie the scores.


Gowerton were back in front three minutes later and again it was the quality of the passing behind the scrum, with half backs Iwan Jones and Tom Barrington both impressing with their distribution, that allowed the backs to outflank the visitors. Then when they got within striking distance, the carrying of the forwards took them up to the line. Hooker Ben Brown was stopped just short, but flanker Perkins picked up and drove over. On the stroke of half time, the hosts stretched their lead, the precision of their passing allowed the ball to reach wing Ben Petherbridge ‘one on one’ with his opposite number on half way, he was able to step outside him and sprint clear for a try that gave Gowerton a lead of 22-12 at the break.


Tim Perkins carries strongly.

In the second half, Gowerton had the advantage of the wind and with defenders forced to stay a little deeper, it gave their outside backs room to attack from deep and in the 38th minute wing Lewis Hyatt was given the room to race away from his 22, he was tackled 20 metres from the visitors’ line, the ball was recycled quickly and centre Clayfield’s ‘eye for a gap’ allowed him to breach the defensive line, he fed No. 8 Hutchinson who was tackled 5 metres out but offloaded to flanker Perkins on his inside shoulder and he crossed for his second try that half back Jones converted.


Matthew Hutchinson breaks through.

Gowerton were now playing with real confidence and Yale were finding it difficult to contain their attacking intent. The hosts added to their lead when Iwan Jones now playing at fly half to accommodate replacement scrum half Tom Davies, kicked intelligently cross field, centre Clayfield did well to stop the ball going into touch and flicked it back inside to replacement fly half Charlie Smith who sliced through the defence to score. Two minutes later, man of the match Clayfield, produced more excellent footwork to avoid two tacklers and then sprint 60 metres for an outstanding individual try. Jones added the extras.


Scrum half Iwan Jones whips a pass away.

Gowerton completed their purple patch that saw them cross for four unanswered tries in the third quarter when prop McCann powered over beneath the posts after good carries by prop Edwards and replacement hooker Jac Simons. Centre Dexter Ryde converted.


Despite the scoreboard indicating that the home side were dominating, the Canadian school continued to carry a threat with their forwards competing strongly in the rucks and fly half and captain Teo Degianni dangerous with ball in hand and they deservedly crossed again when powerful prop Bryce Pellatt scored.


Will Griffiths looks for space.

However, it was the hosts, with scrum half Tom Davies prompting intelligently, who finished the stronger crossing twice more in the final 5 minutes, the first came after replacement centre Charlie Williams did well to create the space for wing Hyatt to score and then replacement fly half Charlie Smith weaved his way through a tiring defence for a fine individual try that centre Ryde converted. The final whistle followed and Gowerton had achieved a 58-17 victory.


Tom Davies is outnumbered.

Photographs: Mark Wells (parent)

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