2010 Grand Final - Valley Cougars 46 Bridgend 44
21st August 2010, 15:58
Valley Cougars won their second Co-operative Welsh Conference Premier title on Saturday afternoon after edging out Bridgend Blue Bulls 46-44 in an outstanding match at Caerphilly RFC.
It was the culmination of a three-match finals day which was all played in front of a very large crowd with all games going down to the wire.
In this Grand Final, it was anyone's game - eight tries apiece with the Cougars only taking the title by a solitary goal, which is credit to the two sides who finished joint top of the final league table.
Bridgend, who showed that they had a strong squad, attacked from the off and scored from their first set when Tylan Mafi stormed over under the sticks. Matthew Hutchings, who is also in the South Wales Scorpions squad, converted.
Their fellow Wales Dragonhearts international Dave Norman raced half the length of the pitch from kick-off to get Bridgend's second which Hutchings easily goaled.
Cougars fought back and Troy Brockbank was first over the line, storming over from short range. Paul Emanuelli converted.
And following back to back penalties, Cougars took the lead through two similar Rhodri Morris tries with Emanuelli keeping up his 100% kicking record.
They extended their lead eight minutes before the interval. Bridgend's Chris McGrath hesitated when covering a chip kick forward, Mark Powell beat him to the ball and set up Emanuelli who was in space to run home, converting his own try.
Bridgend hit back again when, following a penalty, Dan Smith grounded under the sticks and Hutchings goaled.
But Cougars scored two quick tries before the break scored by Liam Williams and James Allen with Emanuelli converting the first to make the half-time score 34-18.
In a repeat of the first half, Bridgend scored the first two tries in the second period, both from former Scorpions Shaun Owens, both goaled by Hutchings.
Chris McGrath quickly followed him over but Hutchings missed the kick and the scores were level at 34-all.
A Mark Powell try in the corner converted by Emanuelli gave Cougars the lead back again.
Bridgend brought the score back to 40-38 when Huw Rosser scored in the corner and they took the lead four minutes later as Tylan Mafi grounded and Hutchings converted.
Cougars looked to come back but Ryan Saddler was pushed into touch.
And from the next play, James Allen went over and Emanuelli converted to give Cougars the two point advantage which they wouldn't give up despite being pounded by the Bridgend side who didn't give up.
Cougars coach Steve Parry, who is currently South Wales Scorpions' top try scorer, said: "It was an outstanding game today. I'm ecstatic that we won but credit to the Blue Bulls who pushed us all the way today. No-one knew which way this game was going to go."
1. Steve Williams
2. Mark Powell
3. Mathew Williams
4. James Allen
5. Kevin James
6. Paul Emanuelli (capt)
7. Mike Herbert
8. Mark Jones
9. Rhodri Morris
10. Ryan Saddler
11. Steve Bray
12. Troy Brockbank
13. John Sanigar
20. Liam Williams
18. Lee Jenkins
14. Liam Jones
15. Chris Smith
Tries: Brockbank (10), Morris (21, 24), Emanuelli (32), Williams (37), Allen (40, 71), Powell (54)
Goals: Emanuelli 7/8
BRIDGEND BLUE BULLS
15. Huw Rosser
2. Dave Norman
11. Seviti Tusetolu
4. Lee Smith
5. Chris McGrath
6. Matthew Hutchings
7. Shaun Owens
22. Charles Stevenson
20. Craig Fox (capt.)
8. Rhys Hawkins
18. Dan Farrell
12. Dan Smith
9. Tylon Mafi
14. Connor McDonald
10. Mark Orpin
19. Lloyd O'Connor
1. Tevita Manaseitava
Tries: Mafi (2, 67), Norman (5), Smith (35), Owens (43, 46), McGrath (48), Rosser (63)
Goals: Hutchings 6/8
Referee: Ian Curzon
Scoring Sequence: 0-6, 0-12, 6-12, 12-12, 18-12, 24-12, 24-18, 30-18, 34-18, 34-24, 34-30, 34-34, 40-34, 40-38, 40-44, 46-44