Mountain Ash RFC | Youth Team 32 - 22 Neath Athletic RFC | Youth Team
Jac Tregoning
2 Conversion
1 Penalty
Elis Horgan
1 Try
Tom Crockett
1 Try
Dafydd Millard
1 Try

Match Report
08 April 2019 / Team News

Young Firm Into Champions' Semi-Final

This was a fast, open game at Llanharan RFC between two committed and skilful teams who were the champions of the Blues and Ospreys region. It was a game to determine who would play Newport HSOB Youth in the semi-final of the Champion of Champions Cup.

There were just two minutes on the clock when Mount centre Jarrod Cushion intercepted a short pass in midfield to accelerate away on a 60 metre sprint to score near the posts and also convert to put the Young Firm 7-0 up.

From the restart, Mount moved the ball into midfield where Cushion’s fellow centre Jamie Long broke through weaving his way up to the Neath Athletic 22. The Young Firm applied heavy pressure in the Neath 22 and were within metres of a second try but the Ospreys champions won a penalty and cleared.

A superbly placed 50 metre penalty kick to touch gave Neath a lineout 5 metres from the Mount line. Although the Ospreys champions looked for a way through across the field, there was none but they got a penalty 20 metres out, which was converted to make it 7-3.

A powerful burst at pace through the Neath midfield nearly beat the Neath defence but the full back saved the day with a good tackle. Mount were not to be denied though, and from a long pass by outside half Ethan Conway, centre Cushion came onto the ball at speed, and after the ball looked as if it would go forward, he regathered it and beat the full back to finish off a 35 metre run with a fine unconverted try to make it 12-3 to the Young Firm after 25 minutes.

Neath had their best spell of the half in the run-up to half time and got back in the game when some good handling and support play led to a try midway out which was converted to make it 12-10 to Mount at half time.

The Ospreys champions were the first on the attack in the second half and took play to 5 metres out, but once again there was no way through a committed Mount defence, which tackled and regrouped in impressive fashion throughout the encounter.

A kick into the Neath 22 and quick following-up saw the full back forced into touch just 5 metres out. The Young Firm made no mistake catching the lineout, and from a drive on, scrum half and captain Morgan Cartwright got the touchdown to put his side 17-10 up after 49 minutes.

Neath’s response was immediate as they won the ball from the restart and took play into the Mount 22 where several drives eventually led to a try near the posts, which was converted, to draw the score level at 17-17 after 51 minutes.

The Young Firm responded with one of the tries of the season. From a lineout on the Neath 10 metre line from the restart, second row Mitchell Barnard gave scrum half Cartwright “off the top” ball. Cartwright fired out a beautiful long pass to outside half Conway who fed centre Cushion for him to burst through the Neath midfield, side stepped the full back, and race into the corner for a superb try to put Mount 22-17 up.

The game was going back and fore. Neath responded with an attack and a chip behind the Mount defence, but good cover cleared the ball into touch 5 metres out. The Young Firm were competing for every ball and after they won it back close to their line, a long kick up to half by Cartwright and some fast following-up led to Mount going back into the Neath 22. A penalty award 25 metres out was nicely struck by Cartwright to put his team 25-17 after 63 minutes.

Neath were far from finished and once again took play up to the Mount line, but committed defence by the Young Firm kept them out, although they also suffered a yellow card. From the penalty award 5 metres out, Neath opted for a scrum and after a couple of drives, the Neath wing scampered over down the touchline from 5 metres out for an unconverted try to make it 25-22 to Mount after 66 minutes.

The Young Firm upped the tempo and an intelligent chip into space from a maul on halfway put the Neath defence under pressure. Quick following up saw the ball recovered and moved wide by Mount, and after a penalty was awarded 20 metres out, scrum half Cartwright took it quickly and tore through the Neath defence to score his second and the Young Firm’s fifth try of the match after 69 minutes, which he also converted to put Mount 32-22 up, seal the game, and put the Young Firm into the semi-final against Newport HSOB on a date and at a venue to be determined.

Well done to the Young Firm on beating a strong Neath Athletic side which had several Ospreys players in its ranks. However, the win needs to be put behind them quickly as there’s some big games coming up in the Premiership Trophy, the Blues North Cup, and the League Champions of Champions trophy.

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