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22 May 2017 / Team News

National Youth League Champions

Bridgend Athletic Youth 37 Rumney Youth 30
National Youth Play-Off Final
Centre For Sporting Excellence Ystrad Mynach
Fri  May 19th 2017
 
A five try, 5-star performance saw the winners of the Ospreys Youth League Bridgend Athletic crowned top youth side in Wales, overcoming Cardiff Blues league and Welsh Cup winners Rumney by 37 points to 30. The game was played in perfect conditions on the Centre for Excellence 4G pitch at Ystrad Mynach, with both sides providing a large crowd with a feast of rugby with 9 tries and 67 points on a sunny Friday evening.
 
Rumney with a large physical advantage took early control of the game with their large pack feeding off outside half Jake Hillman and trying to punch holes in the Athletic defence. They took an early lead with a Jake Williams penalty. Resolute Athletic defence with the back row of Ben Davies, Luke Williams and Javan Bell and hooker Cameron Thomas, playing like a third flanker, to the fore kept the Athletic try line intact.
 
The game was turned on its head in the 10th minute. Athletic centre Jon Taylor intercepted a passing move on his own 10 metre line and outsprinted the Rumney defence to cross under the posts. Luke Bevan converted. From the restart, Athletic lock Tom Davies ran out of defence from his own 22 linking with fellow lock captain Tom Seldon before releasing wing Tom James. James made good ground before passing inside to lock Tom Davies. Davies showed potential outside half skills chipping through the defence for centre Stuart Floyd- Ellis to gather and cross in the corner. Bevan ‘s touchline conversion and 40 metre penalty gave the Athletic a huge boost with a 17-3 lead, with the 17 points coming in under 5 minutes.
 
Rumney hit back with a series of forward drives resulting in flanker Lewis Hill going over for a try. A Jake Hill penalty brought the Cardiff side back to 17-11. The Athletic then showed they could also play a forward game and drives by prop Morgan Clemett and hooker Cameron Thomas caused Rumney to infringe. Bevan put the penalty close to the Rumney try line. A driving maul from the line out saw flanker Ben Davies pushed over in the corner. Bevan’s touchline conversion put the Athletic 24-11 ahead. A Ben Davies drive set up the ball for scrum half Caine Woolerton to set the backs in motion with wing Joe Patterson providing the scoring pass to Bevan to give the Athletic a deserved 29-11 half time lead.
 
Rumney started the second half strongly and a good passing move saw wing Joe Morgan cross in the corner. Luke Bevan then extended the Athletic lead to 32-16 with a penalty awarded for Rumney killing the ball on the floor. Athletic hooker Cameron Thomas was shown a yellow card for a high tackle. Rumney kicked the penalty to the corner and flanker Lewis Hall using the team’s man advantage crossed for his second try from a lineout driving maul. Jake Hill’s conversion reduced his side’s deficit to 32-23. A few minutes before Thomas could come back on the Athletic were reduced to 13 players with Luke Bevan sin binned for a high tackle.
 
Rumney tried to press home the advantage. Thomas came back on and the Athletic introduced fresh legs with backs Dan James and Eugene Richards and forwards Joe Grabham, Will Barraclough and Owain Leyshon coming on. Under pressure inside their own 22 Athletic full back Sam Richards made a brilliant break out of defence. The move was halted inside the Rumney 22, but quick recycling saw wing Tom James settle the Athletic nerves with their fifth try and seal the game with a 37-23 lead. Bevan came back on to help see out the game. The referee called final play and Rumney outside half put in a cross kick which centre Jay Jones gathered to cross under the posts. Hill converted to have the final say. However, it was the Athletic celebrating a fine victory following the conversion.
 
Head coach Lee Grabham and assistants John Doherty and Kevin Gamble along with manager Keith Hobby deserve enormous credit for introducing a winning style of play to suit the Athletics’ lack of physical presence. The team’s offloading and handling skills are a joy to watch, and their defence very solid with players punching well above their weight. The Athletic 2nd string Youth side also reached the final of the WRU Youth Bowl.

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