10 December 2017 / Team News


Last year, as a young first year youth team, Newbridge came up against a much bigger and older Pencoed team on The Welfare on a Friday night early in November.  The result was a deserved 29-19 win for the visitors.

Fast forward 13 months and the teams met in the last 16 of the Welsh Youth Cup on Saturday.  The setting was Bridgend’s Brewery Field where the facilities harped back to the halcyon days before regional rugby and Bridgend was a “first class team”.  Pencoed themselves sit 4th in the Ospreys Youth League “A” Division and, but for a couple of extremely close losses, could easily be sitting in the top two.

With 18 players available to the team at the top of the Dragons League “A” Division some will be forgiven for thinking that the Youth would be struggling.  In the first few minutes Newbridge looked good for their early arrival and preparation.  After Pencoed cleared their lines, full back Luke Shore linked up with Ioan Lloyd, who put in a grubber for speedster Elliot Haines to chase. It could not be gathered by the defence and Haines won the race to touchdown. Haines is having a great time in his first season in Youth being the only play to have a 100% appearance record and having crossed the line 5 times already.

Credit to Pencoed they played a percentage game and in the freezing conditions Newbridge could not make the ball stick and a number of fine breaks out of their half saw chances go begging.  The territorial graph was almost all red, white and blue but Newbridges strong defence was only breached once and at half time the teams were tied at 5-5.

From the second half kick off the ball was fumbled and Pencoed’s No.8 did well from the scrum to get over from the 10 metre line.  The conversion made the score 12-5 to Pencoed.

Newbridge wasted no time in getting back into the game. Winning the ball from the kick off, they went through numerous phases, consistently making the gain line and were finally rewarded for their efforts from a driving lineout with a first try of the season for Zac Hewlett.  If Hewlett had not crossed a penalty try would probably have been awarded as a yellow card was shown to the Pencoed 7.  So began a run of 31 unanswered points for the Men of Gwent.

After some fantastic play to get back up the field, Newbridge took advantage of the man advantage. Another 5 metre lineout, but this time on the opposite side of the field, led to the exact same result as Hewlett crossed for his brace. With this, Newbridge retook a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Everything was sticking in the second half an once again great hands, by not only the midfield of Ethan Chess and Robbie Turley (pictured above top and bottom of ruck), but also tight five forward Callum Cottle, again got the Bridge within 5 metres of the line, this time with a scrum. After a deceitful set play by the backs, Hewlett and No.8 Jack Littlejohns combined to force Littlejohns over next to the uprights and make it a two score game.

Towards the end, the power of the front row of Nathan Evans, Hewlett and Taylor Hansen that had battered their opponents relentlessly throughout the game, won the scrum against the head and No.8 Littlejohns was gone in the same instant that the ball reached his feet.  Straight down the blind from just out the 22 to feed scrum half Cole Jones to dive in at the corner.

Robbie Turley kicked the cracking touchline conversion to add to two earlier successful efforts.

Despite the increasingly lopsided score line, Newbridge were determined to finish with a flourish and after some ferocious defence, Taylor Hansen won a turnover which he tapped and came within a metre. Some simple hands to Shore and his pace meant he squeezed his way between two defenders to reach and crown a resounding win.

Final score 36-12.

The Youth now move into the quarter finals of the country’s premier youth competition.  11 wins in a row also sees them in the quarter finals of the Dragons Cup, the Caerphilly Cups and sitting 5 points clear at the top of the league.

Next week Nathan Evans, Zac Hewlett, Dylan Bartlett, Iwan Burgwin and Garin Price will all attend Wales Under 18s training and all at the Youth wish the Bryns the very best of luck.

(Thanks to Euan Lewis for majority of write up)

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