25th April 2010 – All Golds Nines – Prince of Wales Stadium, Cheltenham England
South Wales Scorpions and Wales Students both put up a good account of themselves in the All Golds Cup in Cheltenham on Saturday, but both failed to take trophies after being outplayed in their final matches of the nine a side competition.
The Scorpions sent a development side that also contained a number of Crusaders under 18 players and produced the shock of the tournament by turning over Leeds Rhinos 20-12 in the group stages. The Rhinos sent their under 18 side but it was skippered by former Wales captain Damian Gibson, who has just taken over as assistant coach of the under 18s at Headingley.
New signing Curtis Cunningham opened the scoring for Scorpions after a fine run down the wing. Loren Quick converted. Very soon it was 10-0, Cunningham again in acres of space in the corner. Lewis Reece missed the conversion. Leeds Rhinos hit back with a try that took a lucky bounce of the posts before falling for Jamie Johnson for a try that was converted by Sean Casey.
But the Scorpions restored the balance straight away after Sam Studley scored a fine individual try. Ryan Smith then got another try back for Leeds, scoring in the corner. Casey converted after hitting the post.
Scorpions sealed it when Cunningham got his a hat-trick which Quick converted although it wasn’t enough to get them into the Final as Leeds clinched the group after beating University of Gloucestershire 24-6. The Rhinos were defeated 20-8 by Warrington in the semi-finals.
The Scorpions can only rue a couple of missed conversions in their first match against the University of Gloucestershire which cost them a place in the semi-finals on points difference.
The students took the lead through a Paul Hewitt try converted by Andy Webster but the Scorpions went in 8-6 up at half-time with two quick tries from Jamie Tibbs and Loren Quick. Both tries were unconverted which was the crucial point in the whole tournament for them. Gloucestershire sealed the game with two tries after the interval as Josh Pettifer and Jon Symons both went under, the second converted by Webster. Sam Studley did score in the final minute which Quick converted but it was too late for the Scorpions as they lost 14-16.
Wales Students opened their Cheltenham Nines account with a dominant 26-14 win over Featherstone Rovers. They had the game virtually sorted by the interval after tries from Dermott Dooley, Owain Griffiths and Harry Mostyn with Griffiths converting two of them to make the score 16-0. Rovers hit back with a Tom Carr try just after the break before Griffiths scored his second to restore the balance. The Championship side tried to make a game of it after Sam Swanton and Lassn Marrabs both got over the line but a Steve Hall try converted by Griffiths in the last minute wrapped up the points.
They were even more dominant in their second game as The Army had no answer to their skills. 10-0 up at half-time with all the points coming from the mercurial Griffiths with Mostyn adding another just after the break. Josh Davies’ try, converted by Griffiths wrapped up the game at 20-0 before the Army scored a consolation. However Wales had the last say after John Ford scored in the corner to make the final score 24-4.
The Scorpions reached the Plate Final, the competition for the second place teams in each group, after hammering Exeter University 24-4. The Welsh lads stormed to a 16-4 lead at the interval after tries from Alan Pope, Curtis Cunningham and Matt Hutchings with Quick converting twice. Cunningham scored again in the second half before a trademark length of the field run from David James topped things off.
Wales Students reached the All Golds Final with a close 16-14 win over Oldham Roughyeds. They were made to fight all the way for the win but took the lead through Dermott Dooley. Two Alistair Williams tries, the second converted by Paul Ashton made the score 10-4 in Oldham’s favour but a Harry Mostyn try converted by Griffiths levelled things at 10-10 before the interval. Oldham were first on the board in the second half after Jamie Knight grounded in the corner. The conversion was missed which proved crucial as Wales clinched things as Owain Griffiths converted his own try.
PLATE FINAL – SOUTH WALES SCORPIONS 8 FEATHERSTONE ROVERS 20
Scorpions started stronger in the Plate Final but couldn’t break through the Rovers defence.
Featherstone took the lead from their first attack after a handling error gave them possession. Darren Bryan scored the try converted by David Nurss.
Matty Johnson picked up a chip kick to go under the sticks for their second. Joe Topping easily converted to make the score 12-0 at half-time.
Lassn Marabs went over for Rovers’ third try of the game just after the interval.
Scorpions got on the board straight away after Lewis Reece sold a nice dummy and ran through.
But the balance was restored when Nurss dived over after a fine passing move.
Scorpions didn’t lie down. Matt Hutchings dived over in the corner to have the final say.
CUP FINAL – WARRINGTON WOLVES 34 WALES STUDENTS 10
Warrington Wolves took the All Golds Cup in the third annual Cheltenham Nines tournament following a 34-10 win over Wales Students in the Final on Saturday evening.
The Welsh had been a class act throughout the tournament but Warrington were just one step higher, their Super League experience proving too much for the Wales lads.
It is ironic that Man of the Tournament went to a Welshman – Rhys Evans of Warrington, who charged in for their first try of the Final in the opening minute.
Their second try soon followed. Chris Fleming picked up a chip kick to score in the corner while Alex Thompson scored a fine individual try for their third. O’Brien converted both.
A fourth, from James Laithwaite converted by O’Brien made the score 22-0 at half-time and the game was out of Wales’ Students’ reach.
Isaac Duffy got a consolation try for Wales to the delight of the crowd but a mere 10 seconds after the restart, Warrington hit back when Fleming ran over in the corner.
Two more tries quickly followed. Jordan Burke went over after being set up by Rhys Evans before Brake Broughton completed their scoring.
However Wales Students had the last say when Christian Hawkes got a consolation try converted by Owain Griffiths.
SOUTH WALES SCORPIONS: 1 Curtis Cunningham, 2 David James, 3 Jamie Tibbs, 4 Rhys Fenton, 6 Dafydd Carter, 9 Kyle Blackmore, 11 Alan Pope, 13 Jack Pring, 17 Sean Webber, 18 Matt Hutchings, 19 Lewis Reece, 21 Sam Studley, 28 Loren Quick.
WALES STUDENTS: 1 Harry Mostyn, 2 Dermott Dooley, 3 Rhys Griffiths, 4 Dave Hamilton, 5 Josh Davies, 6 Christian Hawkes, 8 Tom Gwyn Morgan, 9 Owain Griffiths, 10 Izaac Duffy, 11 Steve Hall, 12 Hugh Thomas, 13 Dale Blackmore, 14 Alex Jones, 15 John Ford, 17 Angus Nixon.
Royal Navy 14 Jamaica 20
Featherstone Rovers 14 Wales Students 26
Sheffield Eagles 0 Warrington Wolves 24
South Wales Scorpions 14 University of Gloucestershire 16
British Army 6 Featherstone Rovers 16
Oldham 18 Royal Navy 14
Leeds Rhinos 12 South Wales Scorpions 20
Sheffield Eagles 4 Exeter University 18
Jamaica 18 Oldham 22
British Army 4 Wales Students 24
Leeds Rhinos 24 University of Gloucestershire 6
Exeter University 6 Warrington Wolves 18
Plate Semi-Finals: British Army 22 Sheffield Eagles 6, Jamaica 18 University of Gloucestershire 12
Shield Semi-Finals: Royal Navy 12 Featherstone Rovers 22, Exeter University 4 South Wales Scorpions 24
Cup Semi-Finals: Wales Students 16 Oldham 14, Warrington Wolves 20 Leeds Rhinos 8
Plate Final: British Army 14 Jamaica 12
Shield Final: South Wales Scorpions 8 Featherstone Rovers 20
Cup Final: Warrington Wolves 34 Wales Students 10