True to their shared tradition of open rugby, the College and the “Accies” made light of the ice cold conditions to put on a grand display of cut and thrust ambition on Tredegar Close writes Huw S Thomas (pic – Noah Potter who played scrum half for the Accies against Llandovery College)
There was little to choose between the Lilywhites and the scratch team, composed of players from schools in all parts of Wales.
Lock Sean Magee from Ysgol Bodedern, Anglesey had even made the 300 mile round trip to turn out for the famous invitation side, formed in 1927 and still going strong at junior and senior levels.
The Accies also included Coleg Sir Gar centre Twm Davies – son of former Wales hooker Mefin Davies – and Maes Gwendraeth scrum half Noah Potter – son of Drovers coach Gareth Potter.
Llandovery may have been missing some of their star players from the side that had won the Welsh Schools and Colleges Cup back in December but their teamwork was sound and commitment unquestioned against quality opposition.
Players that caught the eye behind the scrum were centre Dylan Rowe and wing Owen Francis who used his pace to good effect whilst prop Elliot Harwood’s work in tight and loose was always in evidence.
The Accies had the better of a very tight first half in which Whitchurch HS flanker Theo Lewis was a leading light for the visitors who held a 7-0 interval lead.
The only try was an early well crafted touchdown by Ysgol Ystalyfera wing Callum Davies, after good work from Christ College’s Lewis Howells and it was well converted from wide out by fly half Rhun Davies (Coleg Sir Gar).
Centres Dylan Rowe and Owen Richards had been threatening for the College and it was Rowe that produced the break that brought him a try, brilliantly converted in the difficult wind by fly half Osian Jones.
The strong running Roan Smith (Pembs College) regained the lead for the invitation side to make it 12-7 but just when it looked as if the Accies would hang on, the Lilywhites found an extra gear.
Flanker Owain Scholey led from the front to get his forwards upping the tempo and replacement full back Callum Ferguson tied the scores out on the left.
Jones again converted from wide for a 14-12 lead and with their tails up the College got the decisive score when a line out take by Ollie Lewis fashioned a try for replacement hooker George Nelson.
Accies Fixture Secretary – the former Cambridge University, London Welsh and Wales centre Keith Hughes – paid warm tribute to both teams
“Both sides were ready to attack and counter attack at will” said Hughes “and it made for a very entertaining spectacle to show that outside the regions there are plenty of excellent players performing at a high level.”
“We expect some of these young players to move up into our senior team and play in our plum fixture against Cambridge University in the not too distant future.”
** Wales’s other famous invitation side Crawshay’s are the visitors to Tredegar Close on Wednesday 24 January (KO 2 30 pm)