All Golds Topple Favourites
Venue – Talywain RFC
Weather – Blustery and Sunny
The beautiful tree lined venue nestled beneath the stunning mountain scenery demanded an encounter to match the setting. This Anglo-Welsh clash duly obliged providing all the thrills and spills that Rugby League produces on a regular basis: skills, thunderous defence and athleticism. It was the home side that started well. An All Golds’ error after 2 minutes was seized upon by the Torfaen left edge and excellent handling saw Lewys Willacott finish off in splendid fashion to touch down in the corner. 6 minutes later more impressive build up was concluded in a fruitful manner by Eauan Morris who surged in under the sticks. Matthew Cummings converted. Torfaen now led 10 – 0 in as many minutes. The sizeable local crowd quite rightly anticipated a big Tigers triumph. However the visitors began to gain confidence from resolute defence that saw repeated Tigers’ attacks repulsed.
Indeed the Bristol side secured field position in ‘good ball’ and this produced dividends after 15 minutes when an astute dink into the home side’s in-goal was iced by Bristol custodian Darren Forde. The remainder of the first stanza kept the crowd enthralled and at the break Torfaen led 10 – 4. A scoreline even the most optimistic Bristol supporter found remarkable after the blistering Welsh opening to proceedings.
The play resumed with the match in the balance. However this time it was the All Golds who struck first. An 80 metres passage of play highlighted by surging runs by Darren Forde and Michael Harrison brought play to within striking distance of the home try line. Local Bristol boy Jake Musgrove  concluded matters with a dummy half dart to score his first try for the club on his debut. Darrion Ball locked the scores up at 10 each with the conversion. 5 minutes later Mason Ball finished off a delightful back line handling movement to move the All Golds in to the lead for the first time: 10 – 14.
Torfaen is a fine side and the pendulum again swung and only top class Bristol scramble defence kept them at bay with Tom Gaffney very much in the vanguard.
The next score would prove crucial. Impressive Greg Hamilton grubbered into the Torfaen in-goal and the resultant handling error allowed another Bristol local player to pounce and secure the 4 pointer. The scorer was teenager Connor Massey – his first for the All Golds, on his debut and with his first touch of the ball!
At 10 – 18 Bristol was on the verge of a famous victory on Welsh soil. At the 30 minute mark impressive middle unit Luke Panting produced a deft off load to the supporting Darrion Ball who dummied his way over. He tacked on the extras and the visitors led 10 – 24.
Torfaen continued to threaten with the skills of Jarad Hinnem and Darrel Moyle being very much to the fore. In the last play of a superb advert for the Southern Conference League the Tigers touched down out wide courtesy of Rob Davies.
The match was officiated to a high professional standard by Kristoff Young of the Rugby Football League.
Simon Martin the All Golds’ Head of Rugby was full of praise for his charges:
“A fantastic win for the club. I thought the effort and determination in defence was outstanding. In attack we showed flashes of brilliance and scored a couple of cracking team tries.
We will gain confidence from this performance and look forward to our next fixture at home against the Devon Sharks next Saturday.”
● Scoring sequence:
4 – 0, 10 – 0, 10 – 4 ( HT) 10 – 10, 10 – 14, 10 – 18, 10 – 24, 14 – 24.
● Penalties:
Torfaen 9 Bristol 10.
● Teams:
•Torfaen Tigers ~
1 Nathan Touhig, 2 Sam Taylor, 3 Eauan Morris, 4 Sam Baker, 5 Lewys Willacott, 6 Ben Jones, 13 Matt Cummins, 10 Darrel Moyle, 9 Dean Higgs, 20 Laurence Donnelly, 11 Craig Lewis, 14 Rob Davies, 7 Jarad Hinnem.  Bench – 15 Tom Matthews, 12 Ben Taylor, 16 Mike Bagnall, 17 Laurie Pengelly.
• Bristol All Golds ~
1 Darren Forde, 2 Tom Gaffney, 3 Dom Williams,  4 Brandon Lamb, 5 Mason Robbins, 6 Greg Hamilton, 7 Darrion Ball, 8 Ed Tait, 9 Jake Musgrove, 10 Luke Panting, 15 Tom Austin, 19 Alex Williams, 13 Mike Harrison. Bench – 14 Mason Ball, 15 Connor Massey, 18 Dylan Thomas, 20 Kieran Harvey.
● Caption: Celebrating Darren Forde’s opening Bristol try.
 Photo courtesy of Lewis Mitchell Photography.