IMAGE: Callum Merrett (left) and Joe Uren try to tie down Telford’s James Derry (image courtesy Lewis Mitchell)
ALL GOLDS 64 – 20 TELFORD RAIDERS
Chris Wilson at St Peter’s Sports Ground
The All Golds dug themselves out of a big hole in the sunshine at St Peter’s. In a terrific contest, they had to fight back from a 16-0 deficit to eventually run out winners and book a place in the final of the Harry Jepson Trophy next Sunday against Hammersmith Hills Hoists who defeated North Herts Crusaders 44-0 in their semi final.
For the first quarter of the game, the All Golds played poorly. Their discipline and ball control was poor, while Telford controlled the ruck, banged out their sets, kicked well and were rewarded with three good tries.
However, once Callum Merrett ghosted over in typical fashion, the All Golds settled. They began to make yards upfield, control the ball much better and play at a pace a tiring Raiders side struggled to cope with.
They built on their 22-16 interval lead and though the Raiders rallied towards the end, the All Golds always had too much pace for them.
The visitors began solidly and opened the scoring after two minutes when Nathan Parker was first to a cross kick to grab the ball from Josh Llewelyn and touch down.
He got a second ten minutes later, barging over from close range and with Ben Lewis adding both goals a major shock looked on the cards.
For the first time this season, the All Golds found themselves two scores behind and it was soon three as a shocking pass deep in the home side’s half ended with Telford grabbing possession and Adam Edwards scrambling over despite Michael Holden’s attentions.
The All Golds’ pleas for a double movement were dismissed by the officials and the home side found themselves 16 points in arrears with as many minutes gone.
Merrett finally got the home side on the board with a quarter of the game gone and suddenly the whole complexion of the game changed.
Holes began to appear in the Raiders’ ranks and the All Golds forward began to make yards. Mitch Dent steamed over for an unconverted try from fellow front row Patrick Crummay’s pass before Jack Uren left defenders grasping air as he evaded them to score. Michael Holden levelled the scores with the conversion and it was game on again with ten minutes to go to the interval.
The All Golds got their noses in front as Sean Roberts weaved over from ten metres out after a quick play- the-ball and Crummay had a score disallowed for a forward pass in the build-up just before the break but the All Golds had almost got out of jail.
Three minutes into the second half, Crummay showed great strength to force his way over near the posts after good work from Kieran Webb and the scores began to arrive at regular intervals.
Josh Foster claimed his first try of the season, Roberts sending the big prop bulldozing over from close range before Sam Hodge ran 80 metres to score following Hector Silva’s well-executed offload.
Merrett then grabbed his second, finding the gap from near the halfway line before Telford got up from the canvas and had a few minutes of possession and territory near the All Golds’ posts.
Nick Belshaw scored an easy try straight from a tap penalty but that was their last hurrah as Ben Lewis hit the post with the conversion attempt.
As tiredness kicked in from the warm and muggy conditions, the game began to get loose, which was just the way the All Golds liked it.
The home side’s final flurry of tries began when Tom Gaffney got a boot to a crossfield kick and led the chase downfield hacking the ball on twice more before gathering and touching down after a lung-busting 90-metre run.
Webb then seized on a Raiders mistake to step into space and coast to the posts. Gaffney had another kick and chase which this time was covered by the defence before Aedan Coleman fended off three defenders in an angled run to the posts.
Holden added his tenth goal of the game to confirm the All Golds’ place in the Final and a chance to finish a sensational summer with a second trophy.
ALL GOLDS: Aedan Coleman; Josh Llewelyn, Sam Hodge, Joe Uren, Michael Holden; Jack Uren, Callum Merrett; Mitch Dent, Sean Roberts, Patrick Crummay; Ryan Tanner, Ash Lewis (Capt.); Charles Lichtenstein; INTERCHANGE: Tom Gaffney, Kieran Webb, Hector Silva, Jordan Smith, Josh Foster, Alasdair Anderson.
Tries: Merrett (21, 63), Dent (28), Jack Uren (31), Roberts (35), Crummay (43), Foster (52), Hodge (58), Gaffney (72), Webb (75), Coleman (79)
Goals: Holden 10 from 11
RAIDERS: James Derry; Adam Edwards, James Denning, Nathan Parker, David Finney; Ben Lewis, Ben West; Ben Foskett, Craig Williams, Matt Evans; Ales Robertson, Denham Samuels; Nick Belshaw; INTERCHANGE: Russ Fletcher, David Cain, Tom Carbell
Tries: Parker (2, 12), Edwards (17), Belshaw (67)
Goals: Ben Lewis 2 from 4
Man of the Match: Patrick Crummay
Scoring sequence: 0-6, 0-12, 0-16, 6-16, 10-16, 16-16, 22-16, (HT), 28-16, 34-16, 40-16, 46-16, 46-20, 52-20, 58-20, 64-20, (FT)
Referee: Malcolm Holmes
9 September: Harry Jepson Trophy Final (Hemel Stags RLFC)
All Golds vs Hammersmith Hills Hoists