21st August 2009, 20:03
2009 Grand Final - Blackwood 38 Bridgend 22
In the first ever rugby league match to be played at the historic...
In the first ever rugby league match to be played at the historic Virginia Park in Caerphilly, Blackwood Bulldogs produced a dominating second half performance to win the Welsh Conference Premier in only their fourth year of existence.
They suffered heartbreak in 2008 after losing to Valley Cougars in the Grand Final but made up for it this year with a seven-try haul.
They took just three minutes to take the lead as Trevor James finished off a fine passing move involving Clark Morgan, Andrew Jenkins and Gareth Dore. Gareth Price missed the conversion.
Bridgend got a try back straight away after winning a brace of scrums to take them up the field. Shaun Owens ran over from dummy half following the second and converted it himself before adding a penalty five minutes later given for holding down.
But Blackwood levelled things on 18 minutes when Jeremy Lloyd ran over from close range with Price converting to make the score 10-8.
Blackwood's Steve Richards was denied an opportunity to score a try when he was controversially pulled back by the referee for an alleged forward pass. From the penalty, Bridgend worked their way upfield with David James scoring a fine individual try. Howells converted then added a penalty for good measure to give his side a six-point gap.
The scores were level at the break as Blackwood's Steve Richards went over for a try on the hooter with Price converting.
The Bulldogs dominated the second half and were soon in the lead. Richards set up Andrew Jenkins for a try two minutes after the restart with Clark Morgan adding the extras.
Their advantage was extended to ten-points straight from kick-off after Lewis Hamer scored in the corner but Morgan missed the kick.
Bridgend missed the opportunity to get a try back when Christiaan Roets was pulled back for a knock-on.
Jeremy Lloyd added a penalty for the Bulldogs mid-way through the second half to give them a two try cushion, but Gareth Dare couldn't add to the scoring, having a try disallowed for double movement.
However Aaron Humphries went over for a score with 15 minutes remaining which looked to have sealed things
Bridgend weren't finished yet. Owens scored under the sticks and Fox converted to narrow the gap to 10. Former Crusader Lloyd O'Connor look to have followed that up with a further try but it was ruled out for a knock-on.
Gareth Price restored the balance as he forced his way over for a well-deserved try converting it himself to make the final score 38-22.
Blackwood captain Jeremy Lloyd said: "All three games against Bridgend have been hard but every time we've improved. We worked hard last year in the Grand Final but lost, but we made it this time. I'd like to thank Bridgend for what was a very tough game. We now look forward to representing Wales in the National Semi-Final."
1. Trevor James
2. Wesley Cunliffe
3. Luke Knight
4. Gareth Price
5. Gareth Dare
6. Andrew Jenkins
7. Jeremy Lloyd
8. Adam Coupe
9. Byron Williams
10. Hywel Jenkins
11. Aaron Humphries
12. Matthew Williams
13. Lewis Hamer
14. Matthew McGovern
15. Anthony Payne
21. Clark Morgan
17. Steve Richards
18. Gavin Jones
19. Andre Soroko
Tries: James (3), Lloyd (18), Richards (40), Jenkins (42), Hamer (45), Humphries (65), Price (78)
Goals: Price 3/5, Morgan 1/2, Lloyd 1/1
BRIDGEND BLUE BULLS
1. Nathan Hawkins
2. Chris McGrath
3. David James
4. Michael John
5. Michael Dal
6. Luke Hole
7. Craig Fox
8. Rhys Hawkins
9. Shaun Owens
10. William Burns
11. Gareth Howells
12. Tylan Mafi
13. Christiaan Roets
14. James Elton
15. Kyle Coulter
16. Tevita Manaseitava
17. Lloyd O'Connor
18. Matt Pritchard
19. Daniel Smith
Tries: Owens (7, 72), James (30)
Goals: Owens 2/2, Howells 2/3, Fox 1/1
Referee: Martin Edwards