A perfect morning greeted the Pontypool and Cardiff squads for these matrix league fixtures. With both teams enjoying strong support, the scene was set for some highly entertaining rugby.
Pontypool B 0 v Cardiff B 46
The match was an excellent example of Junior age grade rugby played in the true spirit of the game. The ball was regularly recycled well by the Cardiff pack allowing the backs to shine. Although the visitors looked to be in control in this hard fought and close encounter, it was not until the second half that the Cardiff side began to assert their dominance.
Harry Gale led from the front as captain, with Tyler Healan, Osian Rogers, and Jay Jones always in close support. The forwards gave a plentiful supply of ball to the backs who then ran in the majority of scores.
Tries from Dylan Rigby, Max Thomas, Callum Findley, Louis Rees Zammit, Connor Nagle and Karlin Claregd secured a well deserved victory. Jacob Hurley, Charles Griffiths and Connor Nagle all added conversions.
Although this was the first competitive15 a side outing the Cardiff players, they gelled very well following their team building weekend at Story Arms.
Well done to both teams. The coaches will be extremely pleased by the levels of commitment shown.
Man of the Match - Osian Rogers for a dogged workmanlike display in securing plenty of ball for his backs.
Pontypool A 12 v Cardiff A 12
Both teams very evenly matched in this superb game of under 11 rugby. Outstanding play from the whole Pontypool team in the first few minutes put immediate pressure on the Cardiff side, but it was a turnover, secured by the excellent Jake Hillman, that gave Cardiff their first touch of the ball allowing winger Deio Hughes to stretch his legs and thunder towards the Pontypool try line. Exceptional defence from the Pooler backs prevented a try, but the ever present Ioan Davies supported well in order to open the scoring.
The Pontypool side rallied in order to put immediate pressure on their opponents and from the resulting kick off larger pooler pack gained good possession allowing the Pooler wing to finish well.
The game settled into a war of attrition with neither side gaining an upper hand. The levels of commitment on show were excellent. With 15 minutes to play, Pooler broke the deadlock and made their way into the Cardiff 22. Despite good cover defence, one of the home side's pack burst over. The conversion bounced in off the upright to make the score 12 - 7.
Both sets of backs continued to move the ball well, but could not find the elusive try scoring pass due to excellent organisation in both defences. Alex Morgan, Josh Nolan, Nathan Crothers, James Skeen, Oscar Notley and Lewis Jameson all stood out in a fine team performance.
Although loosing at this point, Cardiff's never say die attitude then allowed them back into the game. Led well by captain and prop, Joseph Melhuish, the Cardiff forwards provided a good platform for their backs. Slick handling saw full back Thomas Bevan hit the line at pace to go in under the posts. The conversion by Sam Brinkley levelled the scores. A brilliant game of rugby and fair end result.
Man of the Match - Fergus Hodgson for his huge defensive effort in his size 8 boots!
Next game - Cardiff v Pontypridd - Thursday 7th October 2010
U13's Swansea 17 - 17 Blues West
After a couple of good training sessions the Blues u13s West travelled to Swansea with confidence that they could put up a good performance to start the season. However, Swansea began the game with greater urgency and moved the ball well to their dangerous winger on numerous occasions. This resulted in an early try for the home side and for the rest of the half the Blues hung on with some brave defence from Wil Rees at fullback and Joe Davies in the backrow. The forwards competed well throughout the first half but the backs had been put under pressure and mistakes were numerous. Tom Trotman at centre almost got away but was caught by the cover defence. After the break the pressure continued from Swansea and resulted in a second try for their pacy winger and a third from one of the other backs leaving the boys facing a 17 - 0 deficit and the possibility of a heavy defeat. However, from this point onwards their was only one side in it as first Trotman, showing extreme pace to round the defence and score, and then second row Aled Ward, with two excellent tries down the blindside, levelled the score at 17 - 17. Unfortunately time ran out but all the boys left the field buoyant after this remarkable turnaround. All the forwards played very well, especially Ben Jones, Jake Thomas, Sion Jones and Aled Ward, whilst Tom Lucas and Morgan Louch performed well at scrumhalf in either half. Callum Bricknell captained the side well and looked good at outside-half, with Tom Trotman always looking dangerous in space. The coaches were pleased with this performance because it showed tremendous character and gives us something to build on for the next game in a couple of weeks. Well done everyone!
Great Start for Blues West under 12's
Friday 24th September saw the Cardiff Blues Under 12's (West) travel away to Swansea and District at Uplands RFC, for their first district game of the season and pull off a closely fought first victory.
With a late arrival and kick off due to heavy traffic on the way to the venue, the blues boys took a little time to settle in, as both sides sized each other up in the opening salvers. It was the blues however, who struck first after 12 minutes, when good back play off a solid forward platform, saw left wing Will Gale released into space and out sprint his opposite number to score under the posts. With a conversion by outside half Cai Evans, the blues took an early 7-0 lead.
With the territorial battle swaying back and fore and the evening light fading towards the latter part of the first half, Swansea and District fought their way back into the game with strong running from their forwards, who managed to turn over possession from the blues on several occasions to make good territorial gains. With the pressure increasing, Swansea took a quick penalty 20 metres out to run the ball in and score an equalling try. With a missed conversion, the score went into half time at 7 - 5 to the blues.
After a 10 minutes interval, the second half saw the boys kicking off under floodlights on a neighbouring pitch. Starting the half with a determination which saw the forwards driving hard into the opposing half, good play led to a wonderful run by full back James Holder who side step his way past 4 Swansea defenders from 30 meters out, to score under the posts. With a second conversion by Cai Evans, the blues took a 14 -5 lead which they held until 6 minutes from the end when Swansea pulled a try back from a short tap penalty.
With great pressure being soaked up by the boys and a try saving tackle by flanker Duncan Ace, it was the blues who managed to hold on during a nail biting last few minutes, to record their first victory of the season with a score of 14 -10.
Many thanks to our hosts at Uplands RFC and Swansea and Distrct RFC for a closely fought game.
Cardiff Blues (West) under 12's squad V Swansea: Joe Short (C), Charles de Grey, Charlie Morris, Sean Boffy, Owain Thomas -Jenkings, Charlie Rhys-Jones, Daniel Bunny, Duncan Ace, Morgan Rees, Cai Evans, Spencer Robinson, Dafydd Smith, Rhys Beynon, Will Gale, James Holder, david owen, Joe Nott, Thomas Pitman, Sean davies, Rhys McFarlane, Ben Rose, Mitchel Smyth, Harry Morgan-Grant, Osian John.