Fixture

Porthcawl RFC | Under 12s 12 - 19 Nantyffyllon RFC | Under 12s

Match Report
21 June 2016 / Team News

Big occasion, Big performance

Under 12s District Final  May 8th 2016

Nantyffyllon 19 Porthcawl 12

The Under 12s District final on the Brewery Field in Bridgend proved to be a fantastic contest between two very talented and evenly matched teams. The early summer sun shone brightly on a day, which transpired to be an unforgettable experience for the boys, their families and the hundreds of supporters from Nantyffyllon who made the short but well-trodden excursion down the Llynfi valley.

Nantyffyllon elected to play into the wind and it soon became apparent that Porthcawl possessed some extremely fast and strong players who would excel on the vast expanse of the Brewery Field.  Porthcawl dominated the opening exchanges and deservedly took the lead with a fantastic finish from their right-winger Evan Jones who showed great pace throughout the whole game.

Only some outstanding and often last gasp defending from Nantyffyllon prevented further scores.  The Nantyffyllon players’ commitment, character and camaraderie during this period of play ultimately proved crucial in terms of the result. To complement these qualities, the unsung heroes of the Nantyffyllon pack, especially the front five, were superb in dominating encounters at the breakdown and scrums.  Cai Sharma, Ben Barlow, Jordan Goodridge, Callum Oatley, Jack Lenahan, Matthew Petty-Price and Jack Hanbury took five scrums against the head while Dylan Edwards, Kieran Pritchard and Kian Thomas turned over much possession with solid tackling and outstanding counter rucking.

To some extent, the game turned on the stroke of half time when Nantyffyllon executed a sweeping and flowing movement covering over half of the pitch. Excellent trademark passing amongst the backs especially from Coby Rodgers, Elis Curling and Ellis Jones led to Scott Williams being given space on the wing. Scott made an excellent run before the ball was recycled quickly for the backs to release centre Rhys Nicholls. Rhys had plenty to do but with a great dummy and strong handoff broke the defensive line and showed great determination and focus to get over the line for a brilliant try. Elis Bird’s conversion meant that as the half time whistle blew, Nantyffyllon held a slender 7-5 lead.

With the wind at their backs in the second half and a dominant pack, it was apparent that Nantyffyllon needed to play the territory game even though they had to be careful not to kick loose ball to Tom Hapgood the Porthcawl full back who was a constant threat throughout the game. With the balance of power changing, Nantyffyllon began exerting a lot of pressure on the Porthcawl defence. After several phases of play, Elis Bird cleverly switched play and gave a well-timed pass to Adam Keagle who scored in the corner to extend the lead to 12-5.

With Keiran Rodgers, Rhys Nicholls and Nathan Hawker making positive contributions in attack and defence, Nantyffyllon continue to pressurise Porthcawl in search of a score to seal the game. However, Porthcawl did not relent and scrum half Alex Williams drove his team up field and Evan Jones again found space on the right wing to score another superb try from 50 metres out. Elliot Bennet kept his nerve and landed an excellent conversion to draw the scores level.

As the game went into its final 5 minutes and with the game very much in the balance, a superbly weighted kick from Elis Bird and fantastic chase from Adam Keagle resulted in a lineout 5 metres from Porthcawl’s try line. Tremendous driving play particularly by Kieran Pritchard and Dylan Edwards punched holes in the defence and as the ball emerged, Jack Hanbury showed great strength to stretch out to score what would prove to be the crucial score. Coby Rodgers landed a brilliant conversion from wide out that gave Nantyffyllon a 19-12 lead.

Nantyffyllon showed a lot of composure, maturity and resolve in managing the game through to its conclusion.  When hooker Ben Barlow kicked the ball off the field, the Nantyffyllon contingency both on and off the field erupted at the sound of the referee’s final whistle.

There were emotional scenes at the end of the game with a guard of honour led by Nantyffyllon’s U14s being particularly thoughtful and considerate. This gesture really accentuated to the boys that they were representing a very proud club with a community wholeheartedly behind them.

Elis Bird was named man of the match, but it was very much a team effort to secure the cup against superb opposition in a game that was a brilliant advert for junior rugby.

This team spirit was evident throughout another fantastic season for this extremely talented set of young players. The previous week, Nantyffyllon u12s had also won the prestigious Cwmgors tournament cementing their reputation as one of the strongest sides in Wales at this year group.

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