Gowerton travelled to play Whitchurch High Schoolin the quarter final of the Welsh schools’ under 16 cup. They were hoping to repeat the victory they had achieved over the hosts at the semi final stage two years ago. However, in a game that ebbed and flowed it was Whitchurch that snatched a late victory and advanced to the semi final.
Tom Howell attempts to get outside his opposite number.
Whitchurch had the slope and cross wind in their favour in the first half. Gowerton spilled the ball in contact from the kick off and from the resulting scrum on Gowerton’s 22 the hosts’ attacked the blindside. Full back Mitchell Wallis kicked over the defence and reclaimed a kind bounce to score in the corner. He added the conversion from the touchline to give his team the ideal start. Then 5 minutes later when Gowerton transgressed at a line out, Wallis stepped forward to convert the penalty.
The visitors now realised the enormity of the task in front of them and they responded positively to dominate the next 40 minutes despite playing against the elements. Prop Tom Northey scrummaged strongly and worked tirelessly in the loose, flanker and captain Will Jones was excellent at the breakdown and hooker Jordon Liney and No.8 Morgan Morris were strong ball carriers and with Gowerton’s man of the match Ethan Harris competing strongly in the lineouts his team dominated possession and that allowed fly half Phil Jones to control territory impressively.
Gowerton’s first try scorer: Morgan Morris.
The visitors reduced the deficit in the 18thminute when scrum half Callum Lewis tapped a penalty quickly and fed No.8 Morris who powered over. Full back Tom Howell converted. Gowerton then took the lead in the 31st minute with an excellent individual try from fly half Jones who sliced through the hosts’ defence on the 22 and crossed for a try that Howell again converted and Gowerton had turned the game around to lead 14-10 at the break.
Steffan Gibbon powers forward.
Gowerton started the second half as they ended the first and increased their lead in the 43rd minute when the forwards caught and drove a lineout from 10 metres out and the industrious Northey was rewarded with the touchdown. Howell again converted.
Howell then attempted to increase the lead with a penalty attempted from 5 metres inside his own half, but the kick dropped just short-it was Howell’s first missed kick in 24 attempts.
Whitchurch reduced the deficit in the 51st minute when a good forward drive resulted in wing Frazer Haughton crossing in the corner, but Howell replied with a penalty from 30 metres and Gowerton led by 9 points with less than 10 minutes left.
Callum Lewis drives into an opponent.
The hosts weren’t going out without a fight and they cut the arrears to two points with 7 minutes left. Initially, they were denied by a great cover tackle by fly half Jones, but the ball was recycled quickly and flanker Kristian Ions crossed for Wallis to convert. Whitchurch then took the lead with 3 minutes to go when they fielded a misdirected kick inside their 22 and centre Owen Lanesprinted the length of the field. Wallis added the extras and although Gowerton pressed in the final minutes for the score that would take them through the hosts’ defence held firm and it was they who moved into the next round.