Golden win for U19s, who slay the Scorpions
South Wales Scorpions U19s 19 – 26 University of Gloucestershire All Golds U19s
Article written by James Gray, All Golds Media Intern.
Photos taken by Lewis Mitchell, All Golds Photography Intern.
The South Wales Scorpions U19s had previously put up some impressive performances this season, notably scoring over 50 points against both the Coventry Bears and Oxford. However, in the curtain raiser for the Kingstone Press Championship One duel, they faced an All Golds U19s side that are beginning to gel as a group, with a number of classy individuals amongst their ranks, such as Francis Foster who made his debut for the professional side last Sunday at just 18 years old.
The Scorpions had shown some attacking flair in their previous encounters, and it was certainly this offensive ability that showed in the first period. An early penalty gave the home side good territory and Paul Edwards capitalised on the position by opening the scoring; the centre showed a real will to get over the line and couldn’t be stopped.
The All Golds hadn’t really settled into the fixture when Brandon Lamb scored. James Mason’s high kick to right wing caused all sorts of problems, and Lamb jumped well to clutch the ball from the air and get his side back into the match.
Both teams needed to start showing more discipline with the majority of either side’s attacks, coming from penalties. This theme was highlighted when the Scorpions took advantage of an All Golds knock on, and it introduced the raw pace of winger James Taylor who quickened smartly to score in the corner.
They were only four points behind, but the visitors had yet to show any of their ability yet, with very limited possession and chances to attack it was clear the All Golds were facing a confident Scorpions team who were beginning to control the game. With this added pressure Taylor was again free on the left wing, which seemed to be a successful outlet for the home side, and the speedy number five ran clear once more to extend the Scorpions advantage.
There was a possibility of the All Golds being left behind, however they finally had the ball in hand and showed some good spirit for Terence Babarinsa to score under the posts, and after James Mason’s conversion meant they were only four points adrift.
Babarinsa’s try seemed a real turning point for the away side, as not only did they have more frequent possession but they were really growing into the game, looking dangerous in the attack but just as importantly handling the Welsh side’s attack more comfortably.
But the All Golds improved defence couldn’t prevent the strange decision to kick a drop goal from the Scorpions, now taking the score to 15-10.
It was pleasing to see the game becoming more of a contest, and Connor Davies’ try wasn’t too hard on the eyes either. The second rower broke clear and showed a fantastic change in the gears to sprint clear and beat the final man, not only ending the All Golds comeback but to give his side a nine point advantage going into the second half.
From a half that showed some really good attacking aptitude, the second half was much scrappier. Again the Scorpions were assertive but not enough to get over the try line, as the only thing to boil over were players’ tempers, as a number of small unpleasant exchanges took place. However, the rugby itself wasn’t quite up to the standard of the first half with neither side doing enough to change the half time scores.
With the opining 25 minutes being rather lacklustre, it took a moment of brilliance from earlier All Golds scorer Babarinsa to reignite the half. It was a smart move from the visitors and as the ball came gradually right and gaps appeared, Babarinsa prized through the space and sprinted clear to score and reawaken the game.
The try brought both teams back up to the quality the crowd witnessed in the first 40 minutes, and now there seemed more urgency in the play and a desire to win. The game now entered such a crucial period, and with only three points the difference, one team needed to force an outcome, and luckily the All Golds could again rely on some outstanding individual play. Daniel Spencer-Tonks first broke clear down the wing before being well tackled by the full back, however the big number 11 wasn’t willing to stop at one effort, as one play later he forced himself through the Scorpions barrier to give the All Golds the lead for the first time.
Spencer-Tonks had brought the crowd alive after his last try, but now with seconds on the clock, it was his next effort that brought onlookers into uproar. With just a single point separating the two sides, Spencer-Tonks carried the ball three times in one play, bringing his side from within their own half to within scoring distance, and it was him again they called on to get over the line and seal a terrific victory for the visitors. Mason’s conversion confirmed the All Golds would take a fantastic win back to Gloucestershire, as the U19s pulled off an incredible comeback to see off the Scorpions 19-26.
Man of the match:
All Golds U19s:
1. Josh Stafford Smith
2. Josh Williams
3. Terence Babarinsa
4. Kaine Dimech
5. Brandon Lamb
6. James Simons
7. Liam Rice-Wilson
8. Doug Simpson
9. Connor Jones
10. Conrad Jones
11. Dan Spencer-Tonks
12. Francis Foster
13. James Mason
1. Matt Jones
2. Archie Gibbs
3. Mike Addis
4. Brad Kislingbury