19th August 2007, 17:02
2007 Wales A 39 England A 8
Wales A regained their Cheltenham Regency Trophy title
Wales A regained their Cheltenham Regency Trophy title after beating their English counterparts 39-18 in a classic match in Blackwood on Sunday afternoon.
This is Wales' fifth Home Nations title in six years and continues their dominance at this level of rugby league.
The teams were evenly matched for a lot of the game but Wales' fitness showed through in the end as they broke away in the latter stages of the game.
In an end to end first half, England's Andy Addison had an early try ruled out for a forward pass.
But Wales took a 15th minute lead when Daniel Blethyn went over in the corner. Gareth David kicked the tricky conversion.
England leveled things five minutes later when Nick Mercer dived over and former Cardiff Demons' fullback Matt Jackson converted.
To make matters worse for the Welsh, the found themselves down to 12 men just before the conversion was kicked as Mark Wheeler was sinbinned for fighting.
England defended well to keep out a strong Wales attack with Neil Dixon, Daniel Blethyn and John Bowd all pressing for the line.
But England took the lead on 25 minutes when Dan Reeds took advantage of a loose ball that Wales failed to scoop out of the goal area with Jackson converting.
Wales leveled things again just after the half-hour when John Bowd finished off a passing move by grounding in the corner and David again did well to convert.
With the scores level at half-time, Wales drew first blood in the second period when the prolific Gareth Jones found a gap and ran through to ground under the sticks. David converted again.
England pulled another converted try back to level again - Tom Sibley going through in the corner with Jackson converting.
Wales had a good chance to take the lead when Gareth David made a 70 metre run but with no-one around to support him, the chance was lost.
However the did score again on 58 minutes when 43-year old Mark Wheeler barged through the England defensive line. David's conversion made the score 24-18.
They had the chance to extend the lead after they were awarded a penalty of England's 30 metre line but David's attempt slipped past the post.
But local lad David James, who had worked his way through Blackwood's junior ranks, raced through a further Wales try on 68 minutes which David converted.
Paul Emmanueli kicked a drop-goal to put Wales further ahead while Lee Williams set up James to go over for his second in injury time to seal things for the home side.
David converted then, as Wales were awarded a penalty in front of the posts, kicked a further goal as the hooter sounded.
It was Wales' coach Wayne Williams' last match in charge and he was pleased to be going out on a high.
"It's been a very emotional day," he said. "I thought we edged it today, the penalty count was ridiculously against us but we dug in there and we played really well. This title is testament to our hard work all season, not just from the boys who played day but those who have turned out all season. We didn't just turn up and play, a lot of hard work has gone into winning back this title and I thought that showed a lot near to the end today."
Wales: 1. Neil Dixon (Bridgend Blue Bulls), 2. Daniel Blethyn (NPT Steelers), 3. Lee Williams (Valley Cougars), 4. David James (Blackwood Bulldogs), 5. Paul Morgan (Bridgend Blue Bulls), 6. Gareth David (Bridgend Blue Bulls), 7. Gareth Jones (Cardiff Demons), 8. Karl Hocking (Bridgend Blue Bulls), 9. Dan Williams (Bridgend Blue Bulls), 10. Mark Wheeler (Newport Titans), 11. Dean Scully (NPT Steelers), 12. John Bowd (Newport Titans), 13. Matt Entwhistle (Torfaen Tigers), 14. Joey Davies (Cardiff Demons), 15. Steve Mayley (Torfaen Tigers), 16. John Trickey (Cardiff Demons), 17. Paul Emmanueli (Blackwood Bulldogs).
Tries: Blethyn (15), Bowd (31), Jones (43), Wheeler (58), James (68, 79)
Goals: David 7/8
England: 1. Matt Jackson (Devon Sharks), 2. Richard Whitehouse (Telford Raiders), 3. Matt Stringer (South Humberside Rabbitohs), 4. Andy Addison (Warrington Wizards), 5. Darren Forshaw (Liverpool Buccaneers), 6. Stu Smith (Bridlington Bulls), 7. Matt Tichias (Plymouth Titans), 8. Steve Woodburn (Blackpool Sea Eagles), 9. Chris Spiers (Blackpool Sea Eagles), 10. Dan Reeds (Lincoln City Knights), 11. Carl Leach (Huddersfield Underbank Rangers), 12. Nick Mercer (Bridlington Bulls), 13. Tom Sibley (Blackpool Sea Eagles), 14. Richard Lofthouse (Huddersfield Underbank Rangers), 19. Olly Fountain (St Albans Centurions), 16. Pete Le Maryland (Ipswich Rhinos), 17. Martin Brown (Plymouth Titans).
Tries: Mercer (20), Reeds (25), Sibley (46)
Goals: Jackson 3/3
Referee: Steve Davis (Australia)
Scoring sequence: 6-0, 6-6, 6-12, 12-12, 18-12, 18-18, 24-18, 30-18, 31-18, 37-18, 39-18
Men of the Match: Wales - Bowd, England - Jackson
Gamebreaker: David James' first try on 68 minutes stamped Wales' dominance on the second half and England never looked like coming back.
Gamestar: John Bowd who played a fantastic game and scored one try.
article by Ian Golden
19 August 2007