Ystalyera and Glantaf progress in Champion Schools
20th March 2017, 14:51
Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera’ year 8 Rugby League side have pulled off a big win in the Champion Schools competition, knocking out last year’s Wembley winners Castleford Academy.
Their 40-22 win means that they are just one game away from the national final, which could be against Welsh rivals Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf, who themselves are two games away from qualifying.
It was always going to be a difficult challenge for Ystalyfera, taking on a side that play Rugby League week in week out and having won in the year 7 showpiece at Wembley last year, showing a strong heritage in the game, this however wasn’t to be the case.
Ystalyfera were the stronger of the two sides throughout the game scoring seven tries, all from different players, with Llien Morgan kicking six goals.
Stand out players carrying strongly in the forwards included Jacob Rowlands, Ioan Hidrup and Morgan Morse, the half-backs in Staff Gibson and Tom page controlled the game well as well as Llien Morgan being a constant threat in attack.
Ystalyfera will now travel to their semi-final at a neutral venue to be played on the 17th of May against either Carlton of Wakefield or St John Fisher of Wigan.
Their coach, Ioan Bebb said: “We’re really looking forward to the semi-final, the fifth time the school have played at this stage with four different teams. I’m one very proud teacher here to be involved in the development of such talented Rugby League players.”
Glantaf’s year 8 side are a round behind Ystalyfera. They qualified for the quarter-finals after a gritty 8-0 over St Peter and Paul from Widnes.
It was an arm wrestle of a game as both sides carried hard and defended ferociously but neither were able to break the deadlock before half-time.
It took a moment of magic from Louis Rochford-Shugar as he showed great footwork and broke down the right to cross early in the second half.
Owain Chapman soon added a second try, finishing off some good hands down the left to dab the ball down over the line.
It was then backs to the wall defence for the remaining 15 minutes as Glantaf held on for the win.
Stand out player for Glantaf was Cai Green, making great metres and big hits from loose forward.
They will now have to travel away in the Quarter Final to pay Brooksbank of Halifax.
Glantaf’s year 9 pupils have still only lost one game in three seasons and they continued their run with an impressive 38-20 win over Wakefield’s Outwood Grange Academy to reach the national semi-finals for the third year in a row.
Two years ago, when in year 7, this set of Glantaf players beat Wade Deacon from Widnes 40-6 in the final at Wembley before being edged out 16-14 by the same side in the 2016 year 8 final.
And they could be playing their old foes again in this year’s semi-final with Wade Deacon set to take on Brooksbank of Halifax in the quarter-final, the winner of which having already being drawn to face Glantaf in a neutral ground semi-final on May 10th.
Glantaf proved to be much stronger than Outwood Grange as they ran in eight tries and added three conversions.
Iwan Price-Jones led the way with two tries, with Cai Marcus, Olly K Barr, Harri Griffiths, Gwilym Evans, Rhodri Thomas and Josh Atkinson also crossing.
Glantaf will now progress in to the semi-final to be played on the 10th of May at a neutral venue against either Brooksbank (Halifax) or Wade Deacon (Widnes).
However there will be no Wembley final for Wales this year after Glantaf’s year 7 side lost 32-0 to Beamont Collegiate Academy.
Injuries cost Glantaf in this game as three pivotal play-makers were forced off the field during the course of the game.
Ifan Cox was concussed within the first four minutes with Tom Meek and Tom Weekly sustaining shoulder and arm injuries respectively later in the game.
Glantaf still dug deep and were warrior like in defence against a much bigger, more physical side from Warrington.
Stand out player for Glantaf was Ellis Carpenter, he kept plugging away and carrying bravely whilst putting more than his fair share of tackles in.
Beamont travelled back to Warrington the happier side and we wish them good luck in the next round.
Glantaf’s head of PE, Rhydian Garner said: “Year 7 tried their hardest but came up against a bigger more experienced opposition. It was always going to be tough especially when we went to sleep for large parts of the game.
“Year 9 once again did us proud although a couple of players went missing in patches, we’ll need all 13 on the field firing for the quarter final.
“Finally, Year 8 ground out a great win. They worked hard and their defence was exemplary throughout to keep our opposition scoreless.”