Image – All Golds’ enter the arena
Swindon St George 14 All Golds 36
by Gloucester Roundhead
Greenbridge Road, Swindon, Wiltshire
Talent aplenty laced both line-ups with current, former and aspiring professional players on view to entertain the crowd. The opening exchanges between these old foes were evenly balanced. However it was the visitors who struck first. Good approach work from Kaine Dimech and Mike Addis set up the position for Sean Roberts to dive over from dummy half. Rhys Evans added the extras.
The locals responded within two minutes when after a handling error by Dale Cooper the impressive Jack Daynes powered through the All Golds’ defence. His centre partner Greig O’Brien was on hand to touch down. Connor Tomley missed with the conversion attempt. Shortly thereafter Rhys Evans, playing against his former club, forced a goal line drop out and repeat set. A resultant penalty was not wasted by the Gloucester side and swift handling between Luke Stephens and Addis sent Alasdair Anderson over close to the sticks. Evans converted and the score stood at 4 – 12.
The pendulum again swung the way of St George and Daynes instigated another threatening move which fizzled out when a well intentioned kick to the corner went dead. The All Golds were having to defend resolutely and that they did culminating in George Bvuma forcing Simon Addis into touch. The match was full of incident and the Swindon hooker Jacques Danford was shown a yellow card by the match official who then disallowed an All Golds’ try to Jack Uren for obstruction. Despite being reduced to twelve men the men from Wiltshire ensured they did not concede any further points. Indeed they added to their own total when after a powerful run by Todd Johnson, half back and number 7 Will Grant darted over and converted his own score. Unfortunately from the resultant kick off St George made a handling error enabling the All Golds to launch a final assault before the interval and first rate passing between Stephens and Joe Uren ensured Anderson completed his double. As Evans’ conversion sailed between the sticks the referee blew the whistle to end a rip roaring opening stanza.
The resumption saw the Golden Fern seize the ascendancy early on and a well placed kick by Marcus Brown to the corner was complemented by an excellent Tom Gaffney chase as – with the help of colleagues – he was able to bundle the St George defender into the ingoal area for another repeat set of six tackles. This fine work was spurned as the All Golds made a further unforced error from the drop out. Sam Danford made an excellent clearing run which was cemented by another excellent piece of skill featuring Grant and Tomley but Myles Everitt was not in a position to capitalise. Nonetheless the blueprint had been established as very quickly the St George half backs repeated the move and this time Jack Daynes made no such mistake. Grant’s kick from wide out hit the upright and bounced out much to the despair of the home supporters. With seven minutes of the period played it was now 14 – 18 with the eventual outcome very much in the balance.
An unusual incident was then the focus as the referee Darren Hayes fell to the turf with a leg injury. The response of the All Golds’ medical staff – ably assisted by their Swindon counterpart – was swift and successful. The provision of skilful taping and strapping made sure proceedings were soon back on track.
The All Golds finished off the set with a clever bomb over the St George line which was not defused properly. The defender fumbled and Evans followed up to score. He again tacked on the extras. The helter skelter pattern continued and it was only a top class “ball and all” tackle by Bvuma that kept the All Golds’ line in tact. 24 minutes into the half saw the pendulum swing again the way of the men from Gloucester and a high quality handling move featuring Stephens, Jack Uren and Addis was capped off with the latter touching down. Ash Lewis moved the score to 14 – 30. Brandon Lamb was unable to finish off an incisive Stephens’ break with a certain try in the offing but this was a preamble to a glorious moment that “iced” the contest for the All Golds as Bvuma cut through the tiring home defence to score under the posts from deep inside his own half. This was despite a memorable chase back and despairing lunge from Tom Jenkins. Lewis goaled again and at 14 – 36 the away team could start to breathe more easily despite Dean Cooper being sin binned.
The encounter concluded with Swindon battering the All Golds line seeking a further score but the blue shirts remained steadfast.
This was a tremendous clash played in a good spirit and was yet another worthy local derby between the sides.
The final score does scant justice to the even nature of the contest. The All Golds’ ability to finish off their moves allied to a well rehearsed tactical kicking game proved the difference in the end. Swindon St George – donning their brand new strip – are a threat to any side in the competition.
Swindon St George:
0 – 6,4 – 6,4 – 12,10 – 12,10 – 18,14 – 18,14 – 24,14 – 30,14 – 36.
Penalties – Swindon – 8; All Golds – 8.
Swindon St George – 1 Simon Addis, 2 Jordan Roberts, 3 Greig O’Brien, 4 Jack Daynes, 5 Myles Everitt, 6 Connor Tomley, 7 Will Grant, 8 Simon Price, 9 Jacques Danford, 10 Matt Young, 11 Stu Doughty, 12 Sam Danford, 13 Todd Johnson, 14 Tom Jenkins, 15 Ashley Brown,16 Matthew Huggins, 17 Isoa Raione.
All Golds – 1 Jack Uren, 2 Tom Gaffney, 3 Joe Uren, 4 Luke Kell, 5 James Royle , 6 Rhys Evans, 7 Luke Stephens, 8 Mike Addis, 9 Sean Roberts, 10 Kaine Dimech, 11 Dean Cooper, 12 Alasdair Anderson, 13 Dale Cooper, 14 George Bvuma, 15 Brandon Lamb, 16 Marcus Brown, 17 Ash Lewis.
Weather – cloudy, sunny, warm, light breeze.
Photograph – courtesy of Lewis Mitchell Photography.