Friday April 20th 2018.
Fine all round display ensures Gowerton’s cup victory.
Gowerton year 11: 39 Gwyr year 11: 10
The Gowerton year 11 team:
Back from left: Josh Thomas, Kobe Bowen, Jacob Rees, Rhys Jones, Tom Davies. Mabon Kaniewski, Joel Matuschke, Matthew Hutchinson (capt), Connor Williams, John Edwards, Jacob Turatto, Alex Jones, Rhys Flower, Charlie Smith.
Front from left: Kai Pressdee, Olly Bruce, Ben Petherbridge, Tim Perkins, Matthew Newcombe, Ethan Hall, Daniel Warne, Jac Simons, Charlie Williams.
Gowerton’s year 11 team travelled to St. Helens for the final of the Swansea schools’ cup competition and with their opponents being near neighbours Gwyr, they realised they would be in for a tough contest-and so it proved.
Gowerton received kick off with their backs to the sun on a glorious evening that was ideal for an open game. Gowerton were looking to play a fast paced game against opponents with a big, strong looking pack of forwards.
After 4 minutes, this game plan came to fruition when scrum-half Joel Matuschke took a quick tap penalty on his own 10m line and released man of the match, centre Tom Davies, who made an incisive line break that took him deep into the opposition 22-the covering tackle hauled him down but quick ruck ball allowed scrum half Matuschke to snipe around the edge of the ruck for the games opening try. Fly half Charlie Smith added the conversion. Gowerton continued to dominate the early stages, and lock Connor Williams and props Ethan Hall and John Edwards all carried the ball strongly.
Preparing for a scrum.
In the 11th minute, an attacking scrum on Gwyr’s 5m line enabled No. 8 and captain Matthew Hutchinson to pick the ball up from the base and feed fly-half Smith, centre Jacob Turatto came through on a great angle allowing him to slice through the defensive line and score beneath the posts. Fly half Smith again added the extras.
Gowerton’s early dominance stirred Gwyr into life, they were looking to keep the ball tight and work their way upfield through the carrying of their strong forward pack. With their front row and back row forward Luke Griffiths all to the fore, Gowerton found it hard to contain them and with ill discipline meaning they were penalised regularly for infringements around the contact area. Gwyr were able to establish field position. Eventually the referee lost patience and reduced Gowerton to 14 men with a yellow card for repeated infringements. Gwyr sensed an opportunity.
A good lineout secured by lock Elliot Hunt set up a well orchestrated driving maul, and back row forward Luke Griffiths powered over from close range. The try was converted and Gwyr were right back in the game.
Gwyr maintained the pressure, with their forward dominance enabling them to continue to dominate field position and Gowerton were stretched to keep their line intact with flanker Jacob Rees at the fore of a strong defensive effort.
After a long period of pressure a Gwyr knock on the Gowerton try line offered an opportunity for Gowerton to clear their lines, but their backs were bold and decided to run the ball from their own line. Sensing an opportunity, centre Davies broke through a tackle deep inside his 22 and raced clear- again the cover defence were able to bring him down but full back Matthew Newcombe was on hand to receive Davies’s offload and cross for Gowerton’s third try that came very much against the run of play.
Man of the match: Tom Davies (holding the ball)
However, Gwyr scored the final points of the half when they managed to isolate a Gowerton forward who carried the ball on his own, and when he failed to release the converted the ensuing penalty and at half time Gowerton led 19-10.
Back to a full compliment of players, Gowerton were on the front foot at the start of the second period with the strong ball carrying of hooker Jac Simons and Tim Perkins allowing them to work their way into the Gwyr 22. They moved the ball wide from a scrum and with both wingers Ben Petherbridge and Olly Bruce getting their hands on the ball full back Newcombe was tackled just short but from the ensuing ruck, flanker Perkins spotted a gap and darted across the whitewash to extend Gowerton’s lead.
It was now Gwyr’s turn to feel the wrath of the referee’s whistle, and when a kickable penalty was awarded to Gowerton – Fly half Smith stepped up to add the extra 3 points, meaning Gwyr now trailed by 3 scores.
Substitutions freshened up the Gowerton team, and hooker Rhys Flower, wingers Dan Warne and Kobe Bowen and flankers Rhys Jones and Josh Thomas were all quickly into the thick of the action.
Flanker Thomas secured possession allowing scrum half Matuschke to make a break before offloading to flanker Perkins who crossed for his second try, which was again converted by Smith.
Gowerton were now well and truly in command and from the kick off the ball was spread wide and centre Tom Davies picked up a pass off his toes and broke clear from inside his 22 and chipped over the full back, the bounce favoured him allowing him to gather and score the game’s final try.
That final score was harsh on Gwyr, but there was no doubt that at the final whistle Gowerton deserved to lift the trophy.
The cup winners’ with the trophy.
Match report and photographs: Mr Lewis.
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