Standing left to right:Liam Morgan, Anthony Osborne, Joel Young, Jordan Dhar, Jack Petherbridge, Richard Keefe (capt), James Tanner, Aaron Smith, Ryan John, Luke Williams, Rhodri Tyrrell, Mr. Lewis.
Kneeling left to right:Matthew Williams, Josh Smith, Sam Winrow, Kieryn Lewis, Nathan Williams, Dylan Treharne, Mathew Protheroe, Leighton Lamb,
Jonny Lloyd, Marcus Besley.
Year 10 swept aside by second half surge.
After their semi-final victory at Cefn Hengoed, year 10 were pitted against Pontarddulais in the Swanseaschools’ cup final. The game was a repeat of last year’s final which had ended in an exciting draw and Gowerton hoped to be able to go one better than that this year.
Since Christmas the squad had been badly hit with injuries and there was mixed news for coach, Mr. Lewis. Key players Ashley Watkins, David Dudley-Jones and Kieron Fisher were all still injured, however, Aaron Smith, Matthew Williams and Richard Keefe were all fit to take their places in the starting line up.
In the early stages, both teams struggled to get any fluency to their play, but over eagerness by Gowerton’s midfield backs saw them penalised for offside in the 5th and 13th minutes and fly half Matthew Aubrey stepped up to punish those offences by converting both kicks to give Pontarddulais the ideal start.
Gowerton’s early errors were then compounded by giving away a third kickable penalty, this time though, inexcusably, it was for ‘backchat’ with the referee. Aubrey stepped forward to convert and Pontarddulais had a nine point advantage.
There was a danger that Pontarddulais could run away with the game but captain Richard Keefe galvanized his team and they responded with the character that had seen them go undefeated thus far.
In the 25th minute, it was Gowerton who scored the first try of the game when good work by the forwards with prop Dylan Treharne, hooker Marcus Besley, lock James Tanner and back row forwards Joel Young and Aaron Smith all prominent allowed flanker Kieryn Lewis to drive over for a try that fly half Mathew Protheroe converted to cut the deficit to two points.
Pontarddulais responded immediately, and two minutes later, they crossed Gowerton’s try line for the first time when Gowerton failed to find touch with a clearance and full back Jared Walters left them to rue their error as he scored wide out. It was Gowerton who completed the first half scoring when fly half Protheroe kicked a penalty awarded against Pontarddulais for off side at a scrum and with Gowerton only trailing 14-10 at the break and ending the half on the front foot, they had high hopes that they could turn the game around.
Gowerton’s try scorer, flanker Kieryn Lewis, wins a lineout.
However, Pontarddulais had a trump card up their sleeve and Caleb Collins came on at half time to give his team a cutting edge that saw them stretch their lead away from Gowerton. In the 31st minute his break allowed captain and flanker Ben Davies to score, Aubrey added the conversion. Four minutes later, fellow flanker Shaun Harris scored and again Aubrey converted. Aubrey added his fourth penalty before flanker Davies scored his team’s fourth try and with Aubrey again adding the extras he took his personal tally to eighteen points and at the final whistle it was Pontarddulais who deservedly received the trophy.
Gowerton’s centre Anthony Osborne sprints clear of the Pontarddulais defenders.
Despite losing the final, the season had been a very good one with the team winning every game until their cup final loss. Under Mr. Lewis’ tutorship they have certainly made positive strides and can look forward with confidence to next season and an opportunity again, to test themselves against the best schools in Walesin the Welsh Cup. They will be aiming to go one better than last season when they reached the last 32 before being knocked out by Maes Yr Yrfa.