Gowerton’s first senior game saw them travel to Cardiffto play Glantaf. Glantaf are always tough opponents and last year they were Welsh schools’ champions at both under 18 and under 14 age groups.
Following their successful tour ‘down under’ over the summer confidence was high within the squad and with the starting XV containing 12 members of the team that returned undefeated from Australia and Hong Kong they were hopeful of a good result.
However, whether it was overconfidence or a failure to get the long bus journey out of the system Gowerton conceded 22 points in the first 14 minutes and try as they might there would be no coming back from there.
Captain Joel Young lost the toss and Glantaf opted to play with the advantage of the strong wind in the first half. They took the lead in the 2nd minute thanks to a piece of individual brilliance from Blues under 18 scrum half Michael Hale. The hosts opted to shorten a lineout just inside Gowerton’s half. The ball was delivered swiftly from the top and Hale’s eye for the gap took him through Gowerton’s line and then his acceleration took him to the corner for an unconverted try.
Try scorer: No.8 and captain Joel Young scored the second try.
Glantaf’s next three scores had there foundation in the strong wind, when long kicks penned Gowerton back in their 22. In the 4th minute, the visitors tried to move the ball wide inside their ‘22’ and when they were tackled they were penalised for being ‘off their feet’ at the breakdown. The simple three points were accepted and then in the 11th and 14th minute’s two more long kicks set up attacking positions from which the hosts were able to cross for tries that were both converted and meant that Gowerton’s task went from difficult to virtually impossible.
The visitors now showed the strength of their character and enjoyed their best spell of the game with the forwards forming a cohesive unit and controlling possession for long periods. Lock Billy Howes was impressive in the lineouts, fellow lock Scott Smith and hooker Marcus Besley both worked tirelessly and flanker Rhys Cherry carried powerfully. Behind the forwards half backs Milo Fleming and Tom Froom prompted intelligently and distributed well. Centres Callum Macdermott and Shane Harris complemented each other well with the strong running of Harris creating space that the clever running of Macdermott was able to exploit. Wings Ashley Bennett and Jordan Marshall were a constant threat with Marshall’s defence unflinching and deservedly earning him the man of the match award.
Determined: Scrum half Milo Fleming looks to beat an opponent.
Gowerton pressed for a score and wing Bennett was only denied by a desperate tackle, but Gowerton deservedly got on the score board in the 29th minute, when a break by hooker Besley created the space for centre Macdermott to cross in the corner. Gowerton trailed 22-5 at the break but started the second half on the front foot. In the 45th minute a clever kick to the corner by fly half Froom gained a position in the hosts ‘22’. Lock Howes turned the lineout over and captain and No.8 Joel Young reacted quickly to cross for a second try that gave his team hope of a dramatic fight back. However, Gowerton were unable to maintain their momentum as they conceded too many penalties which allowed the hosts to control possession and it was they who had the final say when they crossed for a try in the 65th minute that left the final score at 27-10 in their favour.
Good tackle: Scrum half Rob James gets to grips with an opponent.
Glantaf yr 9: 26 Gowertonyr 9:25
Bl. 9 Glantaf:26 Bl.9Tregwyr:25
The year 9 team also travelled to Cardiffand produced an excellent performance. For the second year running they scored more tries than their opponents but lost out by virtue of the fact that Glantaf kicked more conversions.
Gowerton crossed the Glantaf try line five times to the hosts four tries. Centre and back of the match Sean Collins scored three tries, fly half Cameron Clayfield and prop Ethan Guy also crossed.
The team trailed by 12 points at one point but showed great character to come back to lead by a point with 5 minutes remaining only to concede a converted try late on and although Sean Collins completed his hat trick at the end, the try was unconverted and wasn’t enough to secure victory.
Bear hug: Full back Rhodri Tyrrell’s not letting his opponent go anywhere.
Gowerton were well served up front by forward of the match Declan Duckworth, lock Garin Thomas and No.8 Lewis Pennington, whilst scrum half Sam Cambriani and full back Elliot Rees posed a constant threat in attack.