14th August 2011, 17:49
2011 Grand Final - Bridgend 48 Valley Cougars 24
Blue Bulls win first title since 2007 after 48-24 win.
Bridgend Blue Bulls were crowned Welsh Conference champions after a fiery 48-24 win over Valley Cougars ‘A' at Caerphilly.
The Bulls had two men sent to the sin bin, with the ‘A' team having one disciplined by way of yellow card, but those events failing to tarnish Nathan Trowbridge's five-try performance for the Bulls.
Grant Epton gave Bridgend the perfect start, going over after good work from Gareth David - Wales Dragonhearts captain Gareth Howells adding the extras.
Trowbridge got his first shortly after. The Bulls exploited an overlap down the left hand side to send the winger clear. Howells again converting to give the Bulls a 12-0 lead.
James Allen hit back for the Cougars following a turnover caused by a big hit from Ryan Sadler. Hooker Rhodri Morris' delayed pass finding Allen; who burrowed his way over from close range. Carl Thomas converting.
Having found a way back into the game, the ‘A' team then gifted Trowbridge his second. A wide pass from Aled Richards was intercepted and the wing raced in to score. Howells made no mistake from in front to put the Bulls 18-6 up.
Then came the first skirmish, which saw Nathan Hawkins of Bridgend and Darren Baker of the Cougars both receive a 10-minute deterrent.
Both teams used the extra space on the pitch to hit quickfire tries; Mikey Rowe extended the Bulls' lead before Ieuan Richards went over to cut the deficit.
Yet the Bulls were to have the final say of the half as the Bulls moved the ball down the right before Epton beat full back Karl Jones to go over for his second try in the corner.
Jamie Lorimer was the second Blue Bull to enter the sin bin before the Cougars hit back through Steve Bray.
A strong carry from Craig Allen set up the attacking platform before Morris found the prop to go over underneath the posts. Thomas converting to make it 28-16.
Trowbridge's hat-trick was next to come as he brilliantly collected a high bomb on the last tackle to go over.
It was a kick that then created the Cougars' next score. Carl Thomas chipping and collecting in midfield attracted defenders before the ball was spread wide to wing Lee Goddard to touch down.
The Cougars found it difficult completing sets after scoring, and after a knock on at the play-the-ball, David put Chris McGrath over to score. Howells converting from in front to make it 38-20.
Trowbridge collected tries four and five in quick succession to shelve any faint hopes of a comeback, although Ieuan Simms' late try provided the ‘A' team with a moment of consolation.
The win secured the Blue Bulls' first title since 2007 after an unbeaten league campaign.