Thank goodness we won the trophy. Jason Stagg needed it to check that his hair was in place for the post match photos-Nathan Osborne and Nicholas Williams waited patiently for their turn.
Gowerton go one step further than last year.
Year 8 travelled to St. Helens for their Swanseaschools’ cup final in confident mood. Flanker Ewan Brown had not recovered from the injury he suffered in the semi-final victory at Morriston and was unavailable, but having defeated Bryntawe convincingly in September, they knew they were capable of lifting the trophy and going one step further than last year when they had lost to Gwyr in the final.
Gowerton demonstrate excellent lineout technique.
Gowerton’s win was founded on the power of the pack. In the scrums, the front row of Ben Brown, Lewis Cooke and Nathan Osborne had the upper hand, whilst in the loose phases Lloyd Dudley-Jones, Will Griffiths and Callum Batcup were all prominent.
Furnished with a plentiful supply of possession, half backs Lewis Gibson and Tom Ham released centres Kieran Charles and Sam Knight regularly and their strong running had alarm bells ringing in the Bryntawe defence on many occasions.
Bryntawe possessed elusive runners of their own and in Nathan Thomas, Robert Jones and Llew Gibson they had players capable of breaking through Gowerton’s defensive line and on more than one occasion it was only excellent defensive work from Ham and Jordan Penhalagon that denied them scoring opportunities.
Nathan Osborne and Callum Batcup are pleased to get their hands on the trophy this year.
In the game, Gowerton were ahead in the 4th minute when No.8 Lloyd Dudley-Jones powered over following good work from props Cooke and Osborne. Bryntawe could have got a try of their own and were only denied by virtue of a great cover tackle from full back Penhalagon.
Gowerton were now playing with increasing confidence and centre Knight completed a fine individual try hat-trick before half time. The first came in the 9thminute when a great run by lock Callum Batcup splintered the Bryntawe defence and allowed Knight the space to beat the cover for a try converted by co-centre Charles. Then in the 16th minute, a great tackle by Ham resulted in a turnover that allowed Knight to sprint 40 metres for a try again converted by Charles. In the 23rd minute, wing Lewis Hyatt reacted quickly to seize on a loose ball just outside his ‘22’, he sprinted 40 metres and when the cover cut him off he was able to feed the supporting Knight who finished off with aplomb and although the conversion was missed Gowerton were firmly in control.
Bryntawe continued to look dangerous in possession and full back Gibson threatened every time he had the ball and they deservedly cut the deficit with a try by flanker Nathan Thomas to leave the half time score as 24-5 in Gowerton’s favour.
Buoyed by this score, it was Bryntawe who started the second half on the front foot and Gowerton’s defence was given a stern examination. They passed the test thanks to the work of captain Griffiths, No.8 Dudley-Jones, lock Batcup, fly half Ham, centres Charles and Knight and full back Penhalagon. It was Gowerton who in fact stretched their lead when great work by Griffithsdown the blind side freed his back row partner Dudley-Jones and he sprinted clear to score a try converted by Charles in the 51st minute.
Then in the final minute, an elusive run by wing Nicholas Williams was halted just short of the Bryntawe line, prop Osborne was on hand to cross for a try that Charles converted and at the final whistle Gowerton were deserving victors although the final score did little justice to the efforts of Bryntawe who had battled hard throughout.