YEAR 10 FINAL / NATIONAL SEMI-FINAL – YSTALYFERA 42 CWM RHYMNI 18
Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Ystalyfera have become the first ever Welsh speaking side to reach a National Rugby League Final after beating fellow Welsh speaking school Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni 42-18 in the semi-final of the Year 10 Champions Schools competition at The Gnoll in Neath.
They will take on Outwood Grange School from Wakefield at a new venue, Bradford Bulls’ Odsal Stadium, on Thursday 23rd August, moved from London due to clashes with the Olympics.
The match also doubled up as the Welsh Final, which has been postponed due to rain a few weeks before and it gave this Ystalyfera side their second successive title after beating the same Cwm Rhymni side 30-28 in last year’s Year 9 Welsh Final, a game that became famous for being the first ever Rugby League game to feature 100% Welsh speakers.
Ystalyfera now become only the fourth Welsh side in history to reach a National Champions Schools Final.
The scoring in this exciting encounter was tit for tat in the opening stages of the game until the Swansea valley school let rip just before half-time and continued to express their dominance after the interval.
Ystalyfera opened the scoring on five minutes with a try in the corner by Curtis Davies.
But Cwm Rhymni struck back as Lewis Alexander scored under the sticks converting it himself to give them a 6-4 lead.
A mistake from kick-off let Ystalyfera a scrum and they made no mistake as a result with Keiron Williams going over. Luc Williams converted to put them 10-6 up.
The lead changed hands again when Alexander twisted his way past the defence for his second which Alexander goaled to make the score 12-10.
But that was the last time Cwm Rhymni had the lead. Conor Davies went under the sticks following a fine passing move which Williams converted, then Curtis Davies ran down the wing for an excellent try which Luc Williams converted to make the score 22-12 at half-time.
They extended their lead further at the start of the second half when Keiron Williams scored in the corner from the very first set. Luc Williams converted to make the score 28-12.
Alex Malgat forced his way over for Ystalyfera’s sixth try before Dafydd Rees got a try back for Cwm Rhymni with Alexander converting to make the score 32-18.
But man of the match Keiron Williams completed his hat-trick which Luc Williams converted before Conor Davies ripped through the defence to complete the scoring.
The Welsh schools final trophy was presented to them by Laurence Harris from Daioni, one of Wales Rugby League’s leading sponsors and manufacturers of the UK’s best tasting and the UK’s first and only organic flavoured milk drink.
Ystalyfera coach Ioan Bebb, a former Wales Rugby League Student International said: “We’re absolutely delighted to get through to the national final. We’re all really proud of the boys for getting this far and we can’t wait for August and to play on the famous Bradford Bulls stadium.”
YEAR 7 FINAL – YSTALYFERA 28 CWM RHYMNI 14
The Year 7 Final between the same two schools had the same outcome, a win for Ystalyfera.
Tiaan Jones led the way with a first half hat-trick. That, plus one for Ben Lukes gave them an early 16-0 lead before a try back for Cwm Rhymni came from Matthew Bradbury who scored in the corner to make the score 16-4.
Eli Shuffley sprinted his way through for Cwm Rhymni’s second try which Ben Jones converted to make the score 16-10 at half-time.
Ystalyfera were first of the board in the second half when Jones scored his fourth from close range and captain Iwan Shenton converted to make the score 22-10.
Steffan Lupton quickly followed him over and Shenton converted to build a 16-point lead.
But straight out of the textbook, Cwm Rhymni had the last say as Morgan Jones caught a cross-filed kick to make the final score 28-14.
YEAR 8 FINAL – PENCOED 32 ST JOSEPH’S (NEWPORT) 14
Pencoed were made to work for their win against a spirited St Joseph’s side to become Year 8 Welsh Champions.
They took the lead in the second minute after Josh Raikes caught an excellent cross-field kick. Brendon Thrasher converted well from the touchline.
Raikes quickly ran through for the second try three minutes later win Thrasher converting to make the score 12-0.
St Joseph’s hit back on 20 minutes when Christian Mbongopasi sprinted his way through the defence and Liam Derrick converted to make the half-time score 12-6.
Pencoed struck first after the interval, extended their lead to 18-6 after Daniel Jakeway dived under the posts and Thrasher converted.
It was 24-6 when man of the match Liam Walters twisted his way over an outstanding fourth. Thrasher kept up his 100% record.
But St Joseph’s weren’t giving in and struck back through an excellent run from Derrick. The conversion was missed.
They scored again from kick-off when Joel Curtis ran over but in went unconverted and St Josephs were still 10 points behind.
But Pencoed sealed the game as Callum Palmer scored from close range in the final minutes. The kick just fell short.
And they still had time to go over again through Matthew Wilmott to make the final score 32-14.
YEAR 9 FINAL – ST JOSEPH’S (NEWPORT) 32 DYFFRYN TAF (WHITLAND) 20
St Joseph’s Year 9 side retained the Welsh Champions Schools Rugby League title that they won when they were in Year 8 last year, beating Dyffryn Taf 32-18 at Blackwood RFC.
In was the last Welsh Final of the year, the Menayese twins ran the show, like they did throughout 2011 when they charged to the national Champions Schools Final.
They were the only players on the St Joseph’s scoresheet, each bagging a hat-trick of tries with Rollin converting four of them.
However Dyffryn Taf of Whitland in Pembrokeshire gave the Newport school a run for their money as they were made to work for their win.
St Joseph’s took the lead in the second minute when Rollin Menayese ran through. The kick was missed.
The lead was extended on six minutes when Elvis Menayese leapt on a loose ball when to ground when it looked like the chance had been lost. Rollin converted to make the score 10-0.
But on nine minutes Ross Scrivens broke through the tackle and grounded under the sticks. Geraint Jones converted.
Then on 13 minutes, Kieran Haycocks scored in the corner. It went unconverted and the score was tied at 10-10.
It wasn’t level for long. Rollin ran 50 metres for St Joseph’s third try three minutes later converting himself to make the score 16-10.
Rollin was stopped short of the line in his attempt for an early hat-trick, while from the next tackle, Elvis attempted to ground from dummy half but excellent Dyffryn defence again forced him to drop the ball when diving for the line.
But Elvis did get over the line two minutes into the second half when he caught a high bomb to ground under the sticks. Rollin converted to lift the score to 22-10
Dyffryn hit back again after some strong attacking play with Max Lewis scored in the corner before Rollin addressed the balance by scoring in a similar position at the other end of the ground.
Dyffryn refused to give up and Nickita Neary rolled over in the corner for their fourth try which Jones converted.
Elvis went over for the final try which Rollin converted to put the game out of Whitland’s reach but it was only two try saving tackles from Elvis that prevented Lewis from scoring twice more before the final whistle.
Attack and defence from both teams must be congratulated but it was St Joseph’s who held out to make sure that another trophy went to the excellent Newport-based Rugby League school.
YEAR 11 FINAL – MONMOUTH 42 MAESYDDERWEN 16
Monmouth inflicted revenge on Maesydderwen in the Year 11 Welsh Carnegie Champions School Final after winning 42-16 in Caerphilly on Tuesday afternoon.
It was a repeat of the 2011 Year 10 Final where the West Wales side won 42-36 in a thriller.
But this time around, Monmouth were always in control despite going down to an early Maesydderwen try with Adam Green going over for the first of his hat-trick.
A mistake soon allowed Joe Light in to level the scores at 4-4 before a Dan Musselbrook try in the corner gave them an 8-4 lead.
Green soon scored his second to level the scores, but after that Monmouth pulled away.
They regained the lead on 20 minutes when Jamie Ridgeway dived under the sticks and Max Senior converted.
Jake Williams went over in the corner for their next try with Dan Dunmore following him over to make the score 24-8 at the interval.
Maesydderwen were first over the line in the second half when Green completed his hat-trick by scoring in the corner.
But Monmouth increased their lead further when Joe Light went over with Senior kicking well.
Senior scored a try of his own under the sticks and easily converted before Zac Williams, then Jake Williams added further tries, Jake picking up the ball well from a crossfield kick.
Senior dropped the ball over the goal for the final conversion, and move of the game to complete the scoring.