Cherry’s brace is the ‘icing on the cake’ for Gowerton 1st XV.
Gowerton secure a ruck close to Mater Maria’s try line.
Gowerton’s 1st XV claimed their first victory of the season when they entertained Mater Maria CatholicCollege from Sydney. The two schools have established strong links over recent times and this was the fourth time Mater Maria had visited Gowerton since 2006 and when Gowerton return next summer on their tour of Hong Kong and Australiait will be their third visit to Sydney.
The game was played at Gowerton RFC with heavy rain and a strong wind making the playing conditions very difficult, but despite the weather, underfoot conditions were excellent and were testimony to the hard work done by the rugby club in recent years.
Matthew Protheroe offloads to Kieran Collick.
The hosts kicked off with the benefit of the wind at their backs and in the early stages fly half Mathew Protheroe used it intelligently to gain his team good field position and they took the lead in the 7th minute when hooker Rhys Cherry powered over from short range following good work from wing Shane Harris and flankers Scott Smith and Morgan Curtis. Fly half Protheroe added the conversion and he was then instrumental in creating the second try in the 12thminute when his excellent break from just inside his own half saw him in the clear, he committed the fullback and put centre Luke Jenkins over for a try that was again converted by Protheroe to stretch Gowerton’s lead to 14 points.
The fact that Gowerton didn’t add to their lead before half time was down to their failure to make the most of the elements in their favour and the excellence of the visitors’ defence for whom centre Ryan Armstrong, fly half Darcy Milne and lock Andrew Davies were all outstanding.
In the second half, playing into the wind, Gowerton had to look to the driving work of their forwards. They were well served by man of the match Cherry and No.8 Joel Young and with scrum half Jonny Lloyd probing intelligently the hosts continued to hold the upper hand and crossed for tries in the 38thminute when good work from Cherry set up a try for lock Ryan Porter and again in the 47th minute when Cherry grabbed his second try after a powerful drive from No.8 Young. Protheroe added the extra points to the first score and Gowerton held a comfortable 26 point advantage.
Gowerton scrum half Jonny Lloyd looks for the ball.
The last quarter was dominated by the Australian visitors. They crossed in the 56thminute when centre Armstrong ran an excellent angle to slice through the defence for a try he converted himself and then again in the 63rdminute when fly half Milne finished off a good run by lock Davies. Mater Maria pressed for another score, but Gowerton’s defence stood firm and at the final whistle they were deserving victors and looking forward in anticipation to the rematch in Sydney in July.