WRL PREMIER LEAGUE GRAND FINAL
VALLEY COUGARS 32 TORFAEN TIGERS 18
By Ian Golden at Glamorgan Wanderers, Photo courtesy of Ian Lovell
Almost a thousand people went through the gates on finals day at Glamorgan Wanderers RU in Cardiff where the headline game saw Valley Cougars beat Torfaen Tigers 32-18 to win the 2017 WRL Premier League Grand Final.
The Cougars shook off the disappointment of losing the last two Conference South finals but it was bad news for the Tigers as for the second year in a row they reached three Welsh finals only again to lose all three.
Valley Cougars took the lead in the WPL Final on 15 minutes when Jack Watkins scored under the sticks and Mike Hurley converted.
They increased their advantage eight minutes later when Dafydd Hellard slipped through and Hurley converted again.
The five minutes before the break, Macauley Harris was sent out wide for their third try that went unconverted.
Torfaen struck back two minutes into the second half. Jarad Hinem ran past the Cougars’ backline and Fraser Stroud converted.
They got another one back five minutes later when Tom Matthews scored near to the corner and Stroud brilliantly converted.
But Cougars increased their lead on 55 minutes through Hellard’s second of the day that Hurley converted.
Then five minutes later, Cougars all but sealed the win when Dean Higgs crashed over from dummy half and Hurley converted.
Hellard soon dived in the corner for his hat-trick before Torfaen got another try back through Kurtis Haile that Stroud converted, but Cougars had done enough to hold on for the win.
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VALLEY COUGARS: Cobi Green, Yousif Suliman, Dafydd Hellard, Liam Watton, Mike Hurley, Shane Lee, Rhys Davies, Dean Higgs, Scott Giles, Craig Giles, Craig Lewis, Jack Watkins, Ethan Coombes. Subs: Liam Price, Gethin King, Dan Blakemore, Macauley Harris.
Tries: Watkins (15), Hellard (23, 55, 67), Harris (35), Higgs (60)
Goals: Hurley 4/6
TORFAEN TIGERS: Geoff Hick, Euaun Morris, Kurtis Haile, Liam Silver, Jon Wells, Matt Cummins, Fraser Stroud, Louie Pengelly, Dave Brunnock, Morgan Knight, Darrel Moyle, Jarad Hinnem, Dewi Billingham. Subs: Josh Bymons, Mike Bagnall, Jon Daniels, Tom Matthews.
Tries: Hinem (42), Matthews (47), Haile (73)
Goals: Stroud 3/3
UNDER 17 FINAL – CARDIFF BLUE DRAGONS 38 TORFAEN TIGERS 4
A very strong Cardiff side, half of whom had already played first team, beat an understrength Torfaen outfit to win the under 17 final.
Luke Jenkins scored the opening try on ten minutes just left of the sticks, which was converted by Jac Powell. Owain Harvey quickly followed him over to make it 10-0. Josh Palmer’s try left of the sticks was improved by Powell before Harvey’s second gave Cardiff a 20-0 lead at the break.
Owen Jenkins was first over in the second half, scoring under the posts and Powell converting.
Matt Roberts scored a consolation try in the corner for Torfaen but Cardiff cemented their win with further tries from Owen Jenkins, converted by Jac Powell, and two more from Palmer to complete his hat-trick.
UNDER 15 FINAL – WEST WALES RAIDERS 42 TORFAEN TIGERS 6
West Wales Raiders, playing in their last ever game as a community club, always looked in control against Torfaen Tigers in the under 15 final and took a fifth minute lead through Ciaran Comeford.
They extended it seven minutes later via a try from Ieaun Badham, who along with brother Ewan has just signed with City of Hull Academy, which Joe Hawkins converted.
Morgan Chell followed him over with an unconverted try before Iestyn Hopkins and Ieaun Badham added to the lead, both of those tries converted by Hawkins.
Torfaen finally hit back a minute before half-time when Joel Doughty went in under the sticks and converted himself to bring the score back to 26-6.
Kieron Lewis’ unconverted try early in the second half extended West Wales’ lead to 30-6 before Badham notched his hat-trick try which Hawkins improved. Comeford added the final try, Hawkins converting again.
UNDER 13 FINAL – BRIDGEND BLUE BULLS 18 WEST WALES RAIDERS 14
Bridgend Blue Bulls won a classic under 13 final against a West Wales Raiders side who were pressing for the winner right up until the final whistle.
Will Fyfe went over in the corner to give Bridgend a seventh minute lead. Luca Giannini levelled things with a similar try ten minutes later but straight from kick-off, Shea Duggan’s try out wide gave Bridgend an 8-4 lead.
Then two quick tries before the break made it 18-4. First Llewellyn Hawkes’ scored in the other corner then a strong run from Ethan Scourfield where he placed the ball under the sticks, allowed Gus Patterson to kick his first conversion of the day.
Giannini’s early second try back for Raiders early in the second half brought the score back to 18-8 then Kian-William Jones dived over for another Raiders score that Harrison Garland-Griffiths converted to make it 18-14. Raiders attacked right up to the end but only good Bridgend defence, coupled by a dropped ball from the final play the ball, gave the Blue Bulls the trophy.