23rd June 2013, 11:46
TORFAEN AND VALLEY IN RACE FOR FINAL
... BUT BRONCOS WARN 'WE WILL WIN THE CUP AGAIN - WITHOUT DOUBT'!
By Gary Baker. Wales Rugby League Communications Manager
TORFAEN Tigers are well in the hunt for a South Wales Conference Grand Final place following a second key victory inside a week.
The Tigers are now locked head-to-head with Valley Cougars at the top of the table after the Cougars beat Newport Titans for the second successive week.
Torfaen beat Conference high-flyers Cardiff Demons 34-30 in the Welsh capital last Monday in a real battle that went down to the wire.
And they needed to be on top form against reigning champions Bonymaen Broncos at Cwmbran RFC's Kings Head Ground although the West Walians were depleted with numbers due to having several players away on holiday.
However, the Broncos fought extremely hard despite being on the wrong end of a 58-18 defeat, Tigers' half-back Mike Davies scored 24 points in his side's total via two tries and eight conversions while hooker Shaun Watkins got two touchdowns as did loose forward Liam Davies.
Ryan Bates, David Thomas, Matt Davies and Connor Goode got the other four Tigers' tries, while powerful Ben Davies scored two of Bonymaen's four touchdowns, with Finn Ralph and Jarrod Jones getting one each.
It was 30-14 at the break as Torfaen played well to create the openings that saw them run-in five tries in that opening period.
Liam Davies got the ball rolling when a drive by Gareth Drew put him over. Watkins got the second under the posts before Ben Davies bulldozed his way through a Torfaen gap in the 25 to pull one back for the battling Broncos.
But the try of the match came when home full-back Ryan Evans picked up possession inside his own 25 and ran over halfway before passing side to Mike Davies.
And when hooker Shaun Watkins rounded off pressure inside the Broncos 25 to put his side twenty points ahead, it seemed like Torfaen would have an easy day of it.
Bravely, though, Bonymaen fought back with Ben Davies getting his second and Ralph adding the third either side of Bates' touchdown for the Tigers that made it 30-14 at half-time.
Four tries in twenty minutes took the Tigers way beyond reach and a final touchdown from Connor Goode seconds from the end, after Jones had scored Bonymaen's fourth try, secured the points for the home side.
Tigers team manager Rob Davies admitted, though, that the return fixture in West Wales will be far closer than this encounter.
He said: “It was nice to get another win and get on a roll. That is not the side we will play in Bonymaen in a fortnight but you can only play what is in front of you.
“We are back in the mix now with Cardiff, Valley Cougars and Bonymaen and it was nice to give a match to a few more boys. It was good to keep our structures and throw the ball around a bit.”
Broncos' Rhys Davies added: “We had 18 boys away on tour and we had a lot of boys drop out today. But credit to the boys. We stuck at it but in two weeks it will be a different game.
And he said Bonymaen were confident of defending their title. “We are going to win the cup back, there is no doubt. Every other game will see us going in there at full strength and that will push us on to perform to our full potential now.”
Meanwhile, Welsh internationals Martyn Luckwell and Daniel Davies scored two tries each in the Cougars' 60-10 victory over Newport Titans. It followed a 40-4 win for the Valley side in the reverse fixture in Gwent last Saturday.
Again the Titans could not match the Cougars who were strong up front and had key players behind to finish things off. Player-coach Paul Emmanuelli scored one of the other 11 tries and booted eight conversions in the win.
Rhys Hendley and Dwayne Bailey both scored Titans' tries with Bailey adding the goal. And, on a positive note, loose forward Dale Tucker impressed enough to earn a call-up into the Wales Dragonhearts squad for this summer's internationals which start with a clash against England at The Gnoll on July 14.
Titans coach Rob Dodgson said: “They had a good start. We struggled again to match them up front and we were not doing the basics. Every half break they finished it off.
“There were some good individual performances and Dale Tucker had a very good game. He was very strong in the tackle and caused their defence a lot of problems.”
Both matches in North Wales – Rhyl and Prestatyn Panthers v Conwy Celts and Flinshire Falcons v Dee Valley Dragons – were called off.