All Golds 36 – 24 Swindon St George
SGS Stoke Gifford Stadium Bristol.
Ground conditions: good, Weather: sunny, light breeze.
Two fine sides bristling with local talent displayed the many qualities that make Rugby League the superb entertainment that it is. This splendid clash of local rivals unfolded in a stadium with facilities of the highest order. Moreover the playing surface is amongst the best in British sport.Great praise is due to the management of South Gloucestershire and Stroud College. The whole concept proved to be the perfect recruitment poster for all males and females wishing to pursue Higher Education in Bristol in Autumn 2022 and pursue a career on and off the field in Rugby League.
The All Golds soon found themselves in arrears within three minutes when the athletic and impressive Eric White stormed over for the opening try of the Rugby League Conference season. Connor Tomley tacked on the extras.
Nonetheless the home side – resplendent in a stunning new strip displaying in flamboyant fashion the heritage colours of the city of Bristol – forced a drop out from the kick off. The opportunity was exploited to the full and Luis Smith sent debutant Tomasz Pozniak sprinting over by the sticks. Callum Merrett converted and the scores were tied at 6 each after 10 minutes.
Supporters barely had time to regain their seats in the stands when White completed his brace and Tomley took St George to a 6 – 12 lead.
The first quarter was about to conclude when the All Golds contrived the best move of the match. A sweeping seven man handling movement culminated in Luke Kell touching down.This proved to be the harbinger of an accomplished last 20 minutes of the half. Bristol born man of the match Jack Uren darted over after another fine Aedan Coleman foray. As the hooter sounded to end the half he repeated the dose in identical manner for his second 4 pointer. Merrett goaled and the stanza ended with the Golden Fern in front by 20 – 12.
Within 5 minutes a skilfully executed chip and chase by Callum Merrett on the half way line seemed destined for a wonderful try before an equally outstanding tackle by Swindon full back and number 1 Robbie Dalgleish foiled it.
Soon thereafter the irrepressible Jack Uren got his third in trademark Bristol ‘fashion’. Merrett goaled.
The visitors have not been regional champions in the past without good reason and again responded positively with the excellent Connor Tomley gliding over for a ‘meat pie’ which he converted himself. The game was again evenly poised with the final outcome in the balance. Swindon were camped on the All Golds’ line when a long pass was plucked out of the air by Callum Merrett. His 95 metre dash to the posts left defenders in his wake as he glided past a valiant last ditch attempt by the St George’ custodian. The conversion was missed but the locals now led 30 – 18.
The pulsating nature of the encounter continued with Jack Daynes and Nathan Hayes to the fore for Swindon and George Bvuma and Manueli Tuisavatu for the All Golds. With 15 minutes to go All Gold Darrion Ball was sinbinned but this spurred the home side on to a final sally. A short side raid by Uren and off load to Aedan Coleman saw the latter fend off defenders on a diagonal run behind the posts. Merrett goaled. The All Golds now led 36 – 18.
A flare up in the course of this try led to Coleman and Matthew Huggins being sent to the sinbin.
The dying embers of a memorable day in the city of Bristol were reignited with a powerful surge from Swindon middle unit Josh Palmer.
Tomley goaled and an entertaining, fiery and skilful game ended 36 – 24.
Darrion Ball; Kieran Webb, Aedan Coleman, Luke Kell, George Bvuma; Callum Merrett, Luis Smith; Ali Chapman, Jack Uren, Luke Dilley; Kane Evans, Tomasz Pozniak; Michael Harrison.
Kieran Harvey, Dan Roberts, Manueli Tuisavatu, Paul Romaniuk.
Tries: Uren 3, Pozniak, Merrett, Coleman, Kell.
Goals: Merrett 4 from 6 Ball 0 from 1.
Swindon St George:
Robbie Dalgleish; Liam Rowe, Chris Rule, Sammy Dee, Matthew Huggins ;
Connor Tomley, Alex Wharton; Harry Daynes, Chris Kent, Josh Palmer;
Eric White, Jack Daynes; Jacques Danford.
Brandon Aviet, Carl Gillespie, Jordan Roberts, Nathan Hayes.
Tries: White 2, Tomley, Palmer.
Goals: Tomley 4 from 4.
0 – 6, 6 – 6, 6 – 12, 10 – 12, 14 – 12, 20 – 12, (Half Time) 26 – 12, 26 – 18, 30 – 18, 36 – 18, 36 – 24 (Full Time).
Penalty Count: 10 – 16
Match Official: Malcolm Holmes.
Tomasz Pozniak – Debut try.
Jack Uren – Try hat trick and man of the match.
Images courtesy of Lewis Mitchell Photography.