8th January 2016, 16:35
Glantaf Triumph in Epic Semi-Final Win
St John's just lose out in great contest
The East v Central Campion Schools semi-final saw an epic see-saw battle with St John’s and Glantaf desperately trying to outdo each other to claim the place in next week’s Welsh final against Ystalyfera.With Wednesday’s game having to be rescheduled to today (Friday 8th January) and a change in venue to the Cardiff University 3G Pitch, the game was guaranteed to be end to end, with some fast flowing rugby on display.
With the game planned at 25 minutes each way, it was a strong start from St John’s that saw them take an early 18-6 lead having ran in 4 tries (1 converted), strong forward play form the St John’s pack gave them the strong foot hold they deserved. As the half drew to an end Glantaf crossed for two more tries (1 converted) to make the half time score 18-16 in St John’s favour.
The second half would be much more of a tit-for-tat affair with both sides exchanging tries throughout the 25 minute period. As the final 3 minutes approached St John’s held onto a 32-30 lead and were looking to close the game out. An error down the right flank allowed Glantaf’s lively half back to step in and out of the defence to steal the lead and with the conversion added, Glantaf took the lead by 4 points.
What followed was breath-taking, as St John’s attacked the Glantaf line, wave after wave of attackers couldn’t break the blue defence so St John’s turned to Leeds Rhinos style tactics and offloaded time after time to try and break the defence. As the last few seconds ticked away St John’s managed to keep the final play alive by offloading 8 time in contact before finding numbers on the left to cross out wide and draw the game level. With the kick looming to win the game, the kick dropped just short and ensured extra time.
With an extra 5 minutes each way to play, both sides attacked with weary legs and defended their hearts out for all they were worth. It took a moment of pure magic from the Glantaf half back to break down the right once again and dance and weave his way through 4-5 would be tacklers to cross. With the kick going just wide Glantaf took a slight 4 point lead into the half time.
The final period saw a knock to the head for St John’s talismanic centre Tye Lewis and with it, all hopes of regaining the lead. Wave after wave of attack from both sides could not breach each team’s defence and the single Glantaf score in the first period of extra time would be enough to see them into the final as the whistle went.
An epic performance from both sides in their 1st year of playing rugby league, the future looks bright for both teams.
Stand out performers from both sides were Caleb Griffiths (Glantaf), the diminutive blonde winger tackled everything that was thrown at him and gave his side confidence in defence every time St John’s attacked the left. For St John’s, Tye Lewis showed what a bright prospect he is for the future, his ability to accelerate through gaps for such a big strong centre is excellent.
Glantaf will now progress to next week’s Year 7 Welsh Final to play Ysgol Ystalyfera in an all Welsh speaking final. The game will be played next Friday (15th January) at 1pm, planned for Cardiff University’s 3G in Llanrumney again.