Gowerton Year 9 saw their Welsh Cup run come to an abrupt halt earlier today at a windswept Elba Sports Complex. Gowerton had progressed to this stage with an impressive performance against Penyrhoel and with some encouraging signs in earlier group games.
Gowerton started with good intensity and some good defensive work early on, however some key decisions were resulting in pressure being applied. Pencoed were the first to score when a relatively poor Gowerton clearance that was not pressurized and full back Josh Raikes crossed for a try converted by centre Brandon Thrasher from wide out. Gowerton came back strongly, centre Kieran Charles used his agility to ask questions of the defence with some probing runs, and this was followed up by strong running by his co-centre Lloyd Dudley-Jones with the combination looking dangerous at times. Flanker Ewan Brown as ever was combative at the breakdown and although penalised on a few occasions was unlucky not to have successfully turned over an abundance of ball. Gowerton scored through a break away try with Charles and Dudley-Jones combining for the latter to barge his way over. This brought the score to 7-5 and Gowerton seemed to have turned the flow of play towards them. With half-time approaching and facing a strong wind Gowerton’s focus was not to let in any more scores. Sadly that wasn’t the case and with less than two minutes to the whistle Pencoed broke through for centre Matthew Willmott to score under the posts-Thrasher added the extras to leave the score 14-5 at the break.
Despite trailing Gowerton were well positioned to mount the offensive. Wings Sam Knight and Said Mohammed and fly half Sam Cambriani all entered the field of play looking to make a difference. However this was not the case, some inaccuracies at key times gave Pencoed the impetus and as a result they were able to run in three relatively soft tries from centre Willmott, full back Raikes and flanker Liam Walters. Thrasher converted one and the visitors charged in front and virtually secured victory. To the testament of some of Gowerton’s more experienced campaigners they rallied the troops and came back fighting. Captain Will Griffiths and vice-Captain Tom Ham provided this and some quick thought and movement that had been missing from earlier in the game suddenly appeared – Gowerton managed a consolation score from wing Sam Knight but it was all a little too late and Pencoed are home to Glantaf from Cardiff in the last 16.
Lastly it is important to reflect and learn, Gowerton has played some quality rugby against some tough opposition during their campaign, sadly today was a so-called off day. Players made uncharacteristic mistakes that gave Pencoed the upper hand. This is not something as a team or as an individual we should dwell on it is more important to pick yourself and each other up, dust yourself down and try to make up for it in your next venture.
Gowerton now changes its focus to the Swanseacup with a key game on the Tuesday after half-term – 19th February (day after inset) with a game against Morriston. Before that Gowerton are fortunate to have gained the help of ex-pupil and former Swansea Coach Jason Hyatt and hope to benefit from his vast knowledge and experience – Training next Tuesday 5th February will take place 3pm – 4pm in the Gym.