1st XV have commitment and heart in abundance, but it’s not enough to earn victory.
Gowerton entertained Carmarthen School Ysgol Gyfun Bro Myrddin in their first home game of the Welsh schools’ senior league. Both schools have a strong tradition of producing talented fly halves with Gowerton being the Alma Mater of current Ospreys Dan Biggar and Sam Davies whilst Stephen Jones and Rhys Priestland both graduated from the Carmarthen school.
Marcus Besley drives forward.
Inevitably the match spotlight fell on the two outside halves on show and neither disappointed, with Bro Myrddin’s Steffan Dafydd showing he had talent as an elusive and strong runner, whilst Gowerton’s Mathew Protheroe despite being much younger, gave plenty of evidence that his passing and vision were of the highest order.
Gowerton kicked off in conditions well suited to open running rugby and it was the visitors led by powerful prop Steffan Phillips who were first to threaten with fly half Dafydd orchestrating play well and they were quickly on the scoreboard in the 4thminute when full back Josh Watson burst away from the cover and crossed in the corner for the opening try.
Gowerton were well served at scrum half by Jonny Lloyd and his excellent kicking from the base of the contact area enabled the hosts to establish an attacking platform and when Bro Myrddin were penalised for offside in their ‘22’ in the 12th minute centre Sam Evans stepped up to convert the penalty.
Rob James looks to intercept a pass.
Bro Myrddin’s pack began to get the upper hand in the contact area and it was no surprise when captain Phillips powered over from short range in the 16thminute. The fact that they didn’t increase that lead before half time was down to the excellent ‘scramble defence’ of the hosts for whom full back Ross Young, wing Rob James, lock Will Bromham and prop Sam Grunhut were all to the fore.
Early in the second half, Bro Myrddin crossed for a third time when fly half Dafydd scored beneath the posts for a try he converted himself. It looked like the visitors would stroll to victory, but it was now that Gowerton showed real character and with the back row of Rhys Cherry, Morgan Curtis and Sam Pridgeon all prominent they took the game to the visitors and centres Evans and Luke Jenkins and full back Young were all only denied a try by last ditch tackles before in the 56th minute they scored the best try of the match. Clean lineout ball was won on halfway and Protheroe’s long pass allowed centre Jenkins to get outside his opposite number, his speed took him clear of the cover and he committed the last defender before giving wing James a clear run to the corner.
Rob James tackles his opposite number.
It was Bro Myrddin who had the final say when centre Edward Evans crossed in the corner and although Gowerton pushed for another score it was the visitors who ended as deserving winners at the final whistle, although the hosts could take a lot of credit for the quality of their performance.
Gowerton’s next game is against Australian tourists Mater Maria CatholicCollege from Sydney. The game kicks off at Gowerton RFC at 5.00pm on Sunday 31st September.