25th September 2016, 15:20
WALES PRESIDENTS XIII 52 WEST OF ENGLAND LIONHEART
In the first game of a brand new Welsh representative side, created to bridge the gap between the full international side and the Wales Dragonhearts, the Wales Presidents XIII eventually eased to a win over West of England Lionhearts, but
WALES PRESIDENTS XIII 52 WEST OF ENGLAND LIONHEARTS 14
By Ian Golden at Glan-yr-Afon Park, Blackwood. Picture by www.ianlovell.com
In the first game of a brand new Welsh representative side, created to bridge the gap between the full international side and the Wales Dragonhearts, the Wales Presidents XIII eventually eased to a win over West of England Lionhearts, but not without the odd scare over the 80 minutes.
The Welsh players came from all over the nation, from North Wales Crusaders to South Wales Ironmen and a number of the top community clubs, all wearing the shorts and socks of their club side, and they took on an equally broadly representative side from England’s South-West’s community clubs.
And it was the English who took the lead despite some early pressure for the Welsh, Joe Uren going over in the corner, but Jamie Deal failed to land the conversion.
Wales soon hit back, Rhys Gant, fresh from winning a trophy at the South Wales Scorpions’ awards night hours early, made a clean break and scored under the sticks.
Mike Hurley easily converted to make the score 6-4, and following a short break due to an injury, Wales further increased their lead. Dean Higgs going over from dummy half and Hurley making it 12-4.
And with his first touch of the ball after coming on as a sub, Harry Boots was sent in under the sticks for Wales’ third try. Hurley’s kick made it 18-4.
West of England hit back following an error in the Wales backline. The former Cardiff Demons centre and Malta international Paul Bartlett took advantage by scoring just short of the left corner. A great kick brought the score back to 18-10.
But the Welsh addressed the balance before the interval when Lewis Hughes was sent over in the corner. Hurley sliced the kick wide but the Welsh had a healthy two try lead.
West of England took first blood in the second half with Kyle Phillips scoring in the corner and Deal missing the kick, the score being brought back to 22-14.
The Welsh hit back straight away with Ethan Coombes using his strength to score on the right centre. Hurley’s conversion attempt hit the post and went in, to give his side a 14-point lead.
A try under the sticks for Shane Lee, converted by Hurley extended the advantage further. Morgan Jeffries scored the next but it was a touch of class from Gant and Josh Stafford-Smith that gave him the try near to the sticks and the Hurley goal bringing the score up to 40-14.
Jeffries soon went over again for a good individual effort with Hurley nicely placing the goal through the black dot, but his West Wales Raiders team-mate couldn’t join him in a brace, Boots fumbled whilst under pressure when diving for the line.
They reached the 50 with the last play of the game. Lee Goddard setting up Dean Higgs to go under the posts and Gant adding the final points with the conversion.
WALES PRESIDENTS XIII
1 Rhys Gant (Aber Valley Wolves / South Wales Ironmen)
2 Lewis Hughes (Bridgend Blue Bulls / South Wales Ironmen)
3 Ben Jones (Valley Cougars / South Wales Ironmen)
4 Mike Hurley (Valley Cougars)
5 Tom Davies (North Wales Crusaders)
19 Shane Lee (Valley Cougars / South Wales Ironmen)
7 Lee Goddard (Valley Cougars)
8 Jake Thomas (Aber Valley Wolves / South Wales Ironmen)
9 Dean Higgs (Valley Cougars)
10 Ethan Coombes (Valley Cougars / South Wales Ironmen)
11 Mike Edwards (Torfaen Tigers / South Wales Ironmen)
12 Morgan Jefferies (West Wales Raiders)
13 Zak Williams (South Wales Ironmen)
14 Huw Parkes (Bath & Wiltshire Romans / South Wales Ironmen)
15 Josh Stafford-Smith (South Wales Ironmen)
16 Harry Boots (West Wales Raiders)
17 John Lloyd (Bridgend Blue Bulls)
18 Luke O'Driscoll (Bridgend Blue Bulls)
6 Rob Davies (Torfaen Tigers)
Tries: Gant (13), Higgs (17, 80), Boots (20), Hughes (39), Coombes (49), Lee (53), Jeffries (62, 71)
Goals: Hurley 7/8, Gant 1/1
WEST OF ENGLAND LIONHEARTS
1. Mike McGrath (Southampton Spitfires)
2. Joe Uren (Bristol Sonics)
3. Paul Bartlett (Cheltenham Phoenix)
4. Curtis 'Chuckle P' Barnes (Portsmouth Seahawks)
5. Kai Phillips (Gloucestershire Warriors)
6. Jamie Spurway (Somerset Vikings)
17. Jamie Deal (Swindon St George)
8. George Lenton-Hall (Oxford Cavaliers)
9. Matthew Bodey (Bath & Wiltshire Romans)
10. Dan Jamieson (Oxford Cavaliers)
15. Tom Bradley (Forest of Dean Bulldogs)
12. George Day (Somerset Vikings)
13. Ross Webb (Forest of Dean Bulldogs)
7. James Slatter (Swindon St George)
15. Rob Wilson (Oxford Cavaliers)
11. Ronan Melvin Treble (Somerset Vikings)
17. James Collings (Somerset Vikings)
8. Dan Brooker (Oxford Cavaliers)
Tries: Uren (10), Bartlett (24), Phillips (46)
Goals: Deal 1/3
Referee: Ian Curzon