Sir Thomas Picton :24
Gowerton hosted Sir Thomas Picton from Haverfordwest in the last 16 of the Welsh schools under 16 cup and maintained their dream of a final appearance at the Millennium stadium in April with a hard fought 40-24 victory.
The visitors had only lost once in the previous five years and provided a stern challenge to the hosts. Both teams produced some skilful rugby, but ultimately it was the greater power of the hosts’ pack with lock Ethan Harris, No.8 Morgan Morris and flanker Will Jones to the fore and the defensive work of their outside backs with fly half Tom Ham and centres Rhys Evans and Jordon Liney uncompromising tacklers that tipped the result in their favour.
Gowerton dominated the early stages with captain Will Jones dominant at the breakdown and No.8 Morris outstanding as a ball carrier and they took the lead in the 2ndminute when good work by prop Steffan Gibbon set up a position in the visitors 22. Full back Tom Howell ran a great line to take a short ball from fly half Ham and slice through the defensive line to cross for a try he converted himself.
Callum Lewis bursts clear.
Five minutes later Howell doubled the lead when a clever chip over the defence by scrum half Callum Lewis bounced kindly and allowed him to score a second try that he converted from the touchline.
In the 10thminute, the hosts confirmed their early dominance with the best try of the game after the ball was moved both ways across the field and with the defence stretched wing Oliver Smith scored in the corner. Howell again added an excellent touchline conversion.
Rhys Evans powers forward.
The confidence of the visitors was clearly shaken and with No.8 Morris and centre Liney continuing to make inroads in midfield with their powerful running, Gowerton stretched their lead in the 21st minute when a strong forward drive was finished as lock Sam Clark stretched out to score in the corner. Howell again added the difficult conversion which remarkably was his twentieth consecutive successful kick.
Gowerton centre Jordon Liney on the burst.
Despite conceding four tries, the visitors had carried a threat of their own and with impressive lock Kyle Williams dominating the line outs and outstanding in the loose and scrum half George Evans a constant threat around the fringes and distributing well they dominated the final 10 minutes of the half. They were deservedly rewarded on the stroke of half time when young centre Morgan Rees crossed and Gowerton led 28-5 at the break.
In the second period, it was Gowerton who started on the front foot and a strong run by centre Lloyd Dudley-Jones resulted in him being tackled just short of the line. Flanker Ewan Brown was on hand to pick up and drive over.
This try only served to motivate the visitors and they dominated the next quarter crossing for three unanswered tries. Firstly, impressive handling allowed wing Kallum Ahmed to cross in the corner. Two minutes later lock Williams ran a great angle to take a short ball from fly half Scott Jones. With 10 minutes left, the game was back in the balance when centre Rees crossed for his second try and with fly half Jones adding two conversions Sir Thomas Picton only trailed by 9 points.
Callum Lewis prepares to get the ball away.
It was Gowerton who had the final word when Gowerton won a lineout 40 metres out. They drove the maul forward 10 metres and when it splintered prop and man of the match Tom Northey emerged in the clear and sprinted away to score a try that wing Oliver Smith converted.
At the final whistle, it was Gowerton who progressed to the quarter final and they are drawn to travel to play Cardiffschool, Whitchurch.
Man of the match: Tom Northey
Photographs: Steffan Tyrrell.
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