Welsh schools on show
Ian Golden reports back on the action from the Welsh Carnegie Champion Schools Finals.
YEAR 9 FINAL – YSTALYFERA 30 CWM RHYMNI 28
History was made at Caerphilly RFC on Monday where two completely Welsh speaking sides took part in Rugby League Grand Final for the very first time.
The Year 9 Wales Rugby League Champions Schools Grand Final, played in front of the S4C cameras saw Ystalyfera, coached by former South Wales RLFC (1996 team) and Wales Student international Ioan Bebb, beat Cwm Rhymni 30-28 in dramatic fashion thanks to their only conversion of the game taken after the final whistle.
Cwm Rhymni took the lead through Lewis Alexander in the third minute with Keiron Williams levelling the score for Ystalyfera five minutes later.
Jac Donavon scored in the corner to make the score 8-4 to Ystalyfera, and with both half-backs called Connor Davies, things started to get a bit confusing as both got on the scoresheet. Connor Davies (number 7) scored his first try to make the score 12-4 before a Rhys Wilkes effort made it 16-4.
Then Cwm Rhymni started their fight back as Scott Price scored with Lewis Alexander converting and straight away, Alexander then scored a try of his own and converting to make the score 16-16 at half-time.
Connor Davies (7) scored his second try just after the interval before Cwm Rhymni levelled things again through a Scott Davidson try from a scrum.
Cwm Rhymni then looked like they’d sealed the game as long-range tries from Lewis Alexander and Connor Howell, both unconverted made the score 28-20 with less than five minutes on the clock.
But Luc Williams got a try back with a run from the half-way line before the other Connor Davies (shirt number 6) scored with the final play to level the scores and Luc Williams finally landed the conversion when it mattered.
SIXTH FORM FINAL – CWM RHYMNI 56 LLANHARI 30
Rhodri Lloyd, the youngest player to ever win a full Wales cap and who is on Crusaders’ books was rightly the star man for Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni as they beat Llanhari 56-30 in the Sixth Form Final.
The game was played straight after the Year 9 Final and was again contested by Welsh speaking schools.
Lloyd, who has already played professional Rugby League with South Wales Scorpions, scored four tries and was only denied a fifth after a forward pass late in the game.
Cwm Rhymi were always in control. Jacob Wright scored the first try followed by Lloyd’s first two with Ellis Graves converting twice to make the score 16-0.
Llanhari hit back through a Joseph Gatt try converted by Jack Brooks before Cwm Rhymni stamped their mark on the game scoring three quick scores through Rhodri Davies, Lewis Boyland and Lloyd’s third. Two goals from Graves made the score 32-6.
An Alex Hughes try in the corner before half-time reduced the deficit to 22 at the interval but there was no let up from the Blackwood-based school as further two tries from Rhys Watkins and one each for Luke Buckley and Lloyd sealed the win.
Llanhari didn’t give up and scored four tries themselves in the second half with Ieuan Davies, Alex Hughes, Jack Brooks and the other full Wales international on the pitch Jack Pring, all crossing the line with Brooks converting twice.
YEAR 7 FINAL – PENCOED 46 CWM RHYMNI 4
Four games had previously been played on Friday 8th April with Pencoed Comprehensive victors in the first, overcoming Cwm Rhymni in the Year 7 Final, 46-4.
Two breakaway tries from Matthew Wilmott gave Pencoed an early 12-0 lead which set the tone for the game.
More length of the field efforts from Josh Raikes and Max Brennan and another try from Liam Walters from a scrum gave Pencoed a convincing 28-0 lead at half-time.
Unconverted tries from Raikes, Zac Taylor and Brennan then made the score 40-0 before Morgan Jones eventually got Cwm Rhymni on the board with an unconverted close range effort.
But man of the match Brennan completed the win with a run deep inside his own 20 metres to score under the posts.
YEAR 8 FINAL – ST JOSEPHS 48 TREGIB 14
St Josephs of Newport won the Year 8 Final after beating Tregib 48-14.
Highlighted as one of the players to watch before the game, Rollin Menayese justified that tag by scoring two early tries and converting them himself to put St Josephs 12-0 up.
Mark Harris scored from close range for Tregib to put them back in the game but Elvis Msimba restored the balance with a 45-metre effort.
Harris scored another close range try back for Tregib to make the score 18-8 but St Josephs stamped their authority on the game as Max Williams, Tom Davies and Dan Ralphs all scored in quick succession to give their side a 34-8 lead at half-time.
Half-back Harris completed his hat-trick to open the scoring in the second half but that was it for his Tregib side. A long range try from Menayese gave him a hat-trick but he was denied the man of the match award by team-mate Jordan Davies who completed an outstanding game by scoring St Joseph’s eighth.
Finally, a sweeping handling move saw Farrell Raferty go over in the corner to complete the scoring.
YEAR 10 FINAL – MAESYDDERWEN 42 MONMOUTH 36
The Year 10 Final saw the closest game of day 1 with the winner coming in the very last minute Maesydderwen as they beat Monmouth 42-36 in a thriller.
The lead changed hands on a number of ocassions with Monmouth scoring first through Ryan Lee with a try in the corner.
A 40-metre effort from Martyn Davies converted by Luke Price gave Maesydderwen a 6-4 lead but an unconverted Dan Dunmore try swung the balance back to Monmouth.
They followed that up by taking a commanding lead. Joe Light scored from close range before Ryan Lee had a length of the pitch try. Both were converted and Monmouth were 20-12 up.
However it was Maesydderwen that went in with a 22-20 lead at the break after Jerome Francis, Jack Corrigan and Adam Green all scored, the latter a 50 metre run to the line.
Monmouth regained the lead after the break through Dunmore again before Green then Martyn Davies both scored under the sticks to build a ten point lead for Maesydderwen.
A Price drop goal made it an 11 point lead before Monmouth clawed a converted try back again through Joe Light.
Price again added a one-pointer to make the score 36-30 but Monmouth levelled things as Jamie Ridgeway scored out wide and Jack Vaughan kicked well to convert.
It was only going to be winner takes all after that and it was justly man of the match Davies who scored following a missed penalty kick for touch. Price converted to seal the victory.
YEAR 11 FINAL – LEWIS 42 BRYNTEG 4
In the year 11 Final, favourites Lewis School from Pengam, coached by Scorpions’ prop Hywel Davies, were in control from start to finish over Brynteg winning 42-4.
Lloyd Paget opened the scoring from close range, before Rhys Vaughn-Oliver added a second converted by Lewis Barnett to make the score 10-0.
Ryan McGaw then got the only points on the board for Brynteg before Lewis School dominated.
Matthew Stokes was next over the line followed quickly by Paget. Barnett converted Paget’s try before scoring one of his own then converting to make the half-time score 26-4.
The one-way traffic continued with Alex Powell, Evan Rees and Ryan Spanswick all scoring tries and Barnett adding two more conversions.