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Cougars seal play-off spot: Tigers back in the mix

24th July 2016, 11:05

Cougars seal play-off spot: Tigers back in the mix

Valley Cougars went back into second place in Conference League South on Saturday after a hard fought 42-34 win over West Wales Raiders.

CONFERENCE LEAGUE SOUTH

 

WEST WALES RAIDERS 34 VALLEY COUGARS 42

By Peter Tiffin at Parc Stebonheath

 

Valley Cougars went back into second place in Conference League South on Saturday after a hard fought 42-34 win over West Wales Raiders.

 

Cougars are now guaranteed a semi-final place along with Nottingham Outlaws and London Chargers, with Raiders, Torfaen Tigers and the second strings from All Golds and Coventry battling it out for the last available spot with still a month to go in the regular season.

 

Raiders were given a set-back before the game when playmaker and pivot Luke Williams was injured late in the warm up and had to pull out of the game, and with captain Nath Beck, wingers Curtis Ford, Math Davies and Lee Evans also getting injured during the week, it left the back line very light.

 

However it was Raiders who scored first on the four minute mark with Morgan Jefferies going in under the posts, Daf Daniels converted.

 

Cougars then regrouped and assaulted the Raiders line and with referee’s decisions and their own silly mistakes going against them, the Cougars managed to get over the line after completing six sets of six in defence, second rower Ethan Coombes went over for the first and Mike Hurley added the two.

 

Minutes later, a knock on deep in Raiders’ own half allowed Adam Morgan to go over very near to the sticks. Hurley added again before a penalty infringement at the ruck saw Ross Price score under the posts, again Hurley converted.

 

As the Cougars gained both more confidence, and the rub of the decisions, Rhys Davies managed to break through some poor defence, scoring Cougars’ fourth converted try of the half.

 

With the scores at 24-6 the game looked to be sliding away from the Raiders, however power house captain Alan Pope smashed over for a try converted by Daniels and the half finished with a kick to the corner from Daniels stolen in mid-flight by winger Ben Rees to score in the corner. Daniels slotted over a superb touch line conversion leaving the half time score West Wales Raiders 18 Valley Cougars 24.

 

With a very tight first ten minutes between both, it was the Cougars who managed to break the deadlock with centre Liam Watton going in under the posts, conversion added again.

 

A mistake from the kick gave the Cougars head and field at the scrum in a deep position allowing Ethan Coombes to end a good set, sending himself through to dive over and add a further six points.

 

The Raiders then fought back with hooker Daf Phillips scoring under the posts only for the referee to have judged it a knock on. Even though this was disheartening the Raiders continued to apply the pressure and send winger Andrew Rees-Spowart in at the corner.

 

The conversion was missed this time, but again the Raiders applied the correct pressure, took their time and sent debutant prop Steff Jones over for his first try. Daniels added the two points.

 

With the clock ticking down and time against them stalwart captain Alan Pope smashed through the Cougars defence to score his second try, Shane Edwards converted.

 

As the Raiders found themselves back in a very strong position over eagerness from some passing saw an interception from Mike Connor who ran 60 metres down the field to secure the win.

 

 

TORFAEN TIGERS 52 ALL GOLDS CLS 16

By Chris Wilson at Cwmbran RFC

 

Torfaen Tigers grabbed their third win of the season as they fought back from an early 10-0 deficit to overcome a depleted young All Golds side.

 

It was a double sin-binning that tweaked the Tigers’ tail as they had started sluggishly and barely seen the ball until Callum Bradbury and Gareth Drew came to blows. After that, they were galvanised and scored on their first possession before taking a lead into the interval.

 

They extended it at regular intervals as the All Golds played most of the game with a bare 13 players following a nasty eye injury to debutant Tom Chipchase.

 

The All Golds’ first two tries were superbly constructed, well-taken and promised much for a profitable day in the Welsh sunshine.

 

The scoring started with barely a minute gone. Archie Gibbs’ kick off eluded the defence and from the goal-line dropout, Bradbury put Connor Jones through a gap to score.

 

Gibbs added the goal but could not improve the All Golds’ second try scored by Sam Hodge who ran a great line off Gibbs’ pass to run in unopposed from 40 metres out.

 

The Tigers had not had the ball in hand when tempers flared and the sides were temporarily reduced to 12 men each. They were awarded the penalty and Micki Witts forced his way over for the first of his three tries for the day at the end of their first set of tackles.

 

The Tigers were almost immediately reduced to 11 men when Tom Matthews was penalised for leading with the elbow on Chipchase causing the eye injury that ended his involvement.

 

From then, the All Golds battled hard on a hot day with the bare 13 players. The visitors had a chance to extend their lead but Dieter Thomas’ pass to Hector Silva was ruled forward.

 

They never gave up but the Tigers simply had too much in the tank. Former All Gold triallist Dan Davies was proving a handful on the left and only desperate last ditch defence from Paris Thomas and then Hodge prevented further Tigers’ scores.

 

From the second, Hodge was sinbinned for going too high on the elusive Tiger.

 

He was off the field when Jarad Hinnem pulled the scores level with a try but the sides were back to full strength when Mike Edwards went over to give the Tigers a lead they never looked like surrendering.

 

Playing down the slope in the second half, the Tigers soon set about building their lead and Witts scored twice in the opening four minutes to effectively seal the result.

 

Cummins and Hinnem added further scores before Mitchell Dent powered over for a consolation try after Dai Thomas had been fortunate not to be shown a card for leading with a forearm.

 

However, Tom Matthews scored after the All Golds made a mess of the restart and could have extended their lead but Ben Williams knocked on in trying to touch down a kick to the corner.

 

There was no further scoring as the sapping heat took its toll until the final couple of minutes when Louie Pengelly wrestled his way over to score, Cummins adding his eighth and final goal of the day.