Rhondda Schools under birthday boy Chris Jones claimed their third Dewar shield title in three years (6 in Total) after beating a determined Pontypridd side at Llandovery.
Dewar Shield Cup Final Llandovery RFC 12th April 2008 Rhondda U15 37 v Pontypridd U15 10 Both sets of coaches had prepared their respective teams for a spirited match in what was to be the biggest game of their lives to date. Both teams started nervously making a number of unforced handling errors but the nerves soon settled and both teams tried to play some rugby. Pontypridd with a slight breeze behind them in the first half gained some good field positions with intelligent kicking from the half backs but turned the ball over once too often in vital areas and the momentum was lost. Rhondda full back Garin Rodderick was solid under the high ball and returned the ball well with some strong counter attacking. Pontypridd's resolve and discipline was tested as Rhondda upped the pressure as they began to show their intent by opting to kick to touch rather than take easy three points. Rhondda's pressure built and it wasn't long before flanker Thomas Davies (Ferndale) crashed over for the first try. This lifted Rhondda and they began to control the loose and make good gains through the forwards. But it was not all about the pack; outside half Williams began to put the ball behind Ponty, into the corners. From a resulting lineout Rhondda hooker Jack Dando (Porth County) managed to burst onto a loose Ponty tap back to claim the games second try. The try was impressively converted against the breeze by Lewis Williams(Tonyrefial). (12-0) Rhondda may have thought they had done enough and the flood gates would open but Pontypridd responded superbly and had other plans. Led by Jon Ellery (Hawthorn High) and impressive No8 Ellis Jenkins (Bryncelynog) they began to carry the ball and make Rhondda defend. Pontypridd efforts were rewarded when Ieuan Parsons (Hawthorn High) emerged from underneath a pile of bodies to claim Ponty's first try. A successful conversion by Ellis Jenkins followed (12-7). The tempo of the game took another level as both teams wanted to finish the half the stronger. Ponty built up some good phases and were rewarded with a penalty on the stroke of half time which Jenkins converted superbly to go into the break. (12-10) HT 12-10 Pontypridd started the second half as they ended the first with their tales up knowing a score would put them in front for the first time. But Rhondda had been here before and settled back into the game and managed to get their hands back on the ball and put pressure back on Ponty. Spurred on by their supporters it wasn't long before Rhondda were on the front foot again as outside half Williams took advantage of the wind and kicked well into the corners. In difficult conditions for the hookers both sets of forwards put pressure on each other lineouts but it was Rhondda who demonstrated excellent lineout ability and retained the ball for long periods and began to take control of the second half. Rhondda extended their lead through a well worked try by their impressive back row - Callum Thomas (Tonyrefail) claiming the try - try unconverted. (17-10) Realising they needed to be the next on the scoreboard Ponty hammered away at the Rhonnda defence trying to get the ball wide with every opportunity, much to the delight of the travelling support. However Rhondda defended well which resulted in a penalty at the breakdown under the posts which resulted in a three pointer for Williams. Benefiting from a dominant scrum and lineout Rhondda began to turn the screw and Williams kept Ponty pinned back with some excellent kicking - Ponty had no option but try and run back at them but tired legs and minds at this point lead to mistakes and another penalty was awarded. From the resulting lineout Rhondda drove Ponty over the line for their next try - flanker Thomas Davies (Ferndale) emerging with the ball for this second of the game. Try unconverted. Ponty wanted to end the game on a high and tried to get the ball to well marked Centre Thomas Pascoe (Cardinal Newman)but once again tired fingers prevented Ponty from retaining possession and centre Ryan Evans(Tonyrefail) pounced onto a loose pass to scamper under the post for a converted try. The game now in its last minutes Rhondda produced the try of the game; moving the ball superbly, outside half Williams made the half break and linked up with his centre who sent full back Garin Roderrick(YGG Y Cymer) diving over for a fine try in the corner. Try unconverted (37-10) A competitive match that saw both teams trying to play rugby and perhaps a score line that doesn't truly reflect Ponty's efforts or contribution to the game. Overall a great advert for U15 Dewar shield and valleys rugby. FT 37-10
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