ALL GOLDS A 28 – 22 UNIVERSITY of GLOUCESTERSHIRE RL OLD BOYS
Christopher Wilson at St Peter’s High School, Gloucester
The All Golds just came out on top of local rivals University of Gloucestershire Old Boys in a see-saw encounter in the sweltering heat of St Peter’s thanks to some determined goal-line defence and the power and pace of their attack.
In a match where both sides battled back from two-score deficits, the decisive moment came with ten minutes left and the All Golds defending their line for all they were worth. Former All Gold – one of several in the Old Boys ranks – Paul Bolger put in a massive charge to the line but was stopped firmly by three or four defenders. The Old Boys then lost possession later in the set and did not pose a serious threat for the remaining few minutes of the match.
The Old Boys had started well and soon had two scores on the board against an All Golds side that struggled to get into the game for the first quarter despite having a try disallowed after eight minutes’ play when Napolioni Koro was penalised for a double movement.
Shortly after that scare, a call of ‘six again’ from the referee gave the Old Boys an ideal platform from which to attack and Connor Jones went over to score. Fiach Millward struck the first of his three goals from in front of the posts.
Three minutes later Luke Stephens took off from dummy half over 20 metres out and found himself in acres of space to speed unopposed to the line. Millward added the extras and the Old Boys were good value for their 12-0 lead.
However, the All Golds soon hit back. After regrouping during a water break, they were given a penalty. Quickly switching the ball wide, Will Baldwin broke a couple of tackles and finished the move by racing over to score. Rhys Evans knocked over the angled conversion.
Baldwin was instrumental in the All Golds levelling the scores three minutes later. Again, a penalty gave the home side possession and Evans sent Baldwin blasting through the Old Boys’ right edge. He found Semiti Marautaki looming up on his inside and a simple draw and pass saw the winger coast to the posts. Evans converted to level the scores.
With half an hour gone, the Old Boys blew a glorious chance to retake the lead when a neat chip through was fumbled by Louis Watson with the line open before him.
The All Golds made the visitors pay.
George Bvuma made the initial drive downfield and when the ball spread wide, Alex Cox was on hand to finish with a try, converted by Evans, to have them 18-12 ahead at the break.
The All Golds started the second half far better than they had the first and were soon further ahead. Dan Spencer-Tonks powered over after the Old Boys had been unable to gather in an interception attempt, giving the All Golds another set deep in their territory.
The sides then spent the next few minutes bashing each other before the All Golds lost concentration after an injury stoppage and lost possession cheaply. The Old Boys didn’t waste this opportunity and Stephens repeated his effort of the first half to drag the Old Boys back into the game.
When Lewis McKissick crossed four minutes later, Millward had a chance to level the scores again but dragged his conversion attempt across the face of the posts.
The All Golds extended their advantage almost immediately through Spencer-Tonks who finished an exciting set started by a superb break from Evans followed by bewildering handling from the backs with Marautaki prominent.
Evans couldn’t convert for the first time in the game leaving a converted try between the teams.
The Old Boys had a try disallowed for a forward pass as they pressed to level the scores and were pounding the line when Bolger drove unsuccessfully for glory.
The All Golds saw out the remaining minutes and came close to a clinching score themselves but lost the ball on the goalline.
ALL GOLDS: George Bvuma; Josh Llewelyn, Marcus Brown, Alex Cox, Will Baldwin; Ash Lewis (Capt), Rhys Evans; Mike Addis, Kieran Bevan, Hector Silva; Dan Spencer-Tonks, Napolioni Koro; Dale Cooper; INTERCHANGE: Kyle Broadley, Lasarusa Frazer, Semiti Marautaki, Jerome Moore, Tupou Hifo, Aseri Lewasaru, Kirk Lewis.
Tries: Baldwin (15), Marautaki (18), Cox (35), Spencer-Tonks (44, 60)
Goals: Evans 4 from 5.
OLD BOYS: Lewis McKissick; James Taylor, Charlie Tod, Josh Verity, Louis Watson; Sam Gilder, Fiach Millward; Luke de Normanville, Luke Stephens, Paul Bolger; Connor Jones, Brett Davies; Callum Bradbury; INTERCHANGE: Owen Priest, Julius Banks, Jack Simpson, Callum Oliver, Pat Childs, Gav Worrall, Mitch Stone.
Tries: Jones (10), Stephens (13, 52), McKissick (56)
Goals: Millward 3 from 4
All Golds Man of the Match: Rhys Evans
Scoring sequence: 0-6, 0-12, 6-12, 12-12, 18-12, (HT), 24-12, 24-18, 24-22, 28-22, (FT)
Penalty Count: 8-10
Referee: Will Gilder