ALL GOLDS 27 – 20 TORFAEN TIGERS
Chris Wilson at St Peter’s
An outstanding first half performance set the platform for the All Golds’ first win of the season. They had to survive a late rally by the Tigers but were good value for the victory.
Their start was reminiscent of last weekend’s opening against Valley Cougars but the intensity on defence was on an altogether different level.
The All Golds, resplendent in their new blue main kit and playing in front of several of the sponsors whose names adorn it, ripped into their opponents driving the Welshmen backwards in the tackle and confidently moving forward when in possession led by the Uren brothers at halfback.
The sheer physical and mental effort of their effort in the first 40 minutes told towards the end of the game as three late tries from the Tigers set alarm bells ringing.
However, they had enough points on the board to survive and record a fine win.
The home side were spurred on by an early try as their first visit to the Tigers line brought its rewards.
Luke Stephens’ reverse pass to Ash Lewis sent the captain crashing over the line by the posts. Lewis added the simple extras for the perfect start.
It wasn’t all plain sailing as twice the All Golds conceded penalties when in possession and made handling errors but their awesome defensive efforts ensured the Tigers couldn’t benefit from the opportunities they were handed.
Unlike last week, it was the All Golds who took their chances and after back-to-back sets, Stephens twisted over to score on a last tackle play close to the line. Dean Cooper missed the simple extras.
The two-score lead was extended by two further tries just before the interval. Smooth handling featuring Dale Cooper and Lewis gave Aedan Coleman space to coast round the defence and over the line.
On their next attack, Kieran Webb chipped over the line on the last tackle, Kaine Dimech kicked the ball on further and regathered possession before feeding Webb back on the inside for the All Golds’ fourth try of the half.
Lewis converted both and the home side went into the break with a thoroughly deserved 22-0 lead.
The second half would test how secure this lead would be and the All Golds were immediately put on the back foot by a Tigers side looking for a foothold in the match.
They dominated possession in the opening minutes of the period and finally opened their account as Kurtis Haile at last found a chink in the All Golds’ previously impregnable defence to score.
However, that score was swiftly countered as Stephens’ impeccably timed pass sent Lewis powering through a hole from halfway and the All Golds’ captain touched down for his second try of the game.
The next twenty minutes saw no change to the scoreboard, though Webb had a try disallowed for an off the ball tackle after Stephens’ kick had taken a wicked bounce.
There was some confusion after Sean Roberts had propelled the ball over the crossbar until the referee awarded the drop goal. The extra point was a valuable insurance policy as the Tigers fought back late in the game to get within two scores of the All Golds.
Joe Langbridge finished a neat move to score before Dai Thomas went over, though there were loud All Golds protests over a forward pass in the build-up to the score.
The lead was now down to two scores but the All Golds defence scrambled for its very life and though Jarad Hinnem forced his way over from close range, Thomas missed the kick and the Tigers ran out of time to win the game and preserve their unbeaten record.
The All Golds have set the performance benchmark by their first half efforts and will be looking to maintain that level next week as they face a tricky trip to Cardiff Blue Dragons.
ALL GOLDS: Aedan Coleman; Brandon Lamb, Kaine Dimech, Jorge Cabral, Mason Robbins; Jack Uren, Joe Uren; Mike Addis, Luke Stephens, Ash Lewis (Capt.); Sam Jones, Dean Cooper; Dale Cooper; INTERCHANGE: Sean Roberts, Kieran Webb, Hector Silva, Joe Collins.
Tries: Lewis (3, 50), Stephens (24), Coleman (34), Webb (37)
Goals: Lewis 3 from 4, Dean Cooper 0 from 1
Drop Goals: Roberts (67)
TIGERS: Nathan Touhig; Joe Langbridge, Eauan Morris, Kurtis Haile, Liam Silver; Rob Davies, Ieuan Beale; Joshua Symonds, Grant Harrington, Darrel Moyle; Kyle Scrivens, Jarad Hinnem; Byron Edwards; INTERCHANGE: Lewis Handley, Dai Thomas, Mike Bagnell, Morgan Knight.
Tries: Haile (45), Langbridge (69), Thomas (74), Hinnem (79)
Goals: Thomas 2 from 3, Beale 0 from 1
All Golds Man of the Match: Joe Uren
Scoring sequence: 6-0, 10-0, 16-0, 22-0, (HT), 22-4, 26-4, 27-4, 27-10, 27-16, 27-20, (FT)
Penalty Count: 7-13
Referee: Stuart Orton