15th September 2002, 17:38
2002 Wales A 28 England A 18
Wayne Williams' Wales Dragons have upset the odds to bring home the Amateur Four Nations trophy with a thrilling 28-18 win over England in Cheltenham.
England led 12-4 at the break after tries from Gareth Martin and Gavin Molloy. The Welsh had enjoyed plenty of first half possession but kept losing the ball in English territory and had only a 28th minute try from Gareth Honor to show for their efforts.
But the second half was a different story. The close-knit Welsh side, which featured several players from Cardiff Demons and UWIC supplemented by Welshmen who play for leading conference clubs Hemel, Teesside and champions Coventry, were fired up by Williams's half-time talk and had levelled the scores at 12-12 within 10 minutes of the restart. Tries from Wes Palmer and Rhodri Thomas were followed by a Rich Pepperell touchdown on 61 minutes and when David Jenkins went in after catching a high kick five yards out Wales were 22-12 up with 17 minutes to play.
Although England came back with a Dave Wattam try, the Dragons weren't to be denied. Rich Singleton nearly scored with a fine solo effort but was held up over the line. When Matt Cannon went in at the corner on the next series, it was all over and a Singleton penalty sealed a great night for amateur rugby league in Wales.
These are exciting times for the Welsh game, with the Kiwis coming in November and the Challenge Cup Final next year. Tonight's result provides cast-iron evidence that the sport is also thriving in the principality at amateur level.
ENGLAND: 1 Graham BATTY, 2 Scott ROBERTS, 3 Gareth MARTIN, 4 Callum IRVING, 5 Gavin MOLLOY, 6 Barry MULHOLLAND, 7 Danny ATHERTON, 8 Ward JONES, 9 Richard SMITH, 10 Daryl JACKSON, 11 Chris RICHARDS, 12 Ronnie HAYNES, 13 Dave WATTAM. Subs 14 Rob NORTH, 15 Jimmy DAINES, 16 Mark MAUDSLEY, 17 John DUDLEY.
WALES: 1 Matt CANNON, 2 Richard PEPPERELL, 3 Sion WILLIAMS, 4 Rhodri THOMAS, 5 Ben KERR, 6 Aled JAMES, 7 Grant HATHERWAY, 8 Graham HUGHES, 9 Gareth HONOR, 10 Anthony LOXTON, 11 Gareth MORGAN, 12 John BYERS, 13 Rich SINGLETON. Subs 14 Mark DANDO (capt), 15 Wes PALMER, 16 David JENKINS, 17 Pete MOORE.
REFEREE Chris NICHOLES
VENUE: Prince of Wales Stadium, Cheltenham.
WEATHER: Warm and Dry.
FIRST HALF: 8 mins - Gareth Martin (ENG) try (4-0), 14 mins - Gavin Molloy (ENG) try, converted by Danny Atherton (10-0), 28 mins - Gareth Honor (WAL) try (10-4), 32 mins Danny Atherton (ENG) goal (12-4).
SECOND HALF: 44 mins - Wes Palmer (WAL) try (12-8), 50 mins Rhodri Thomas (WAL) try (12-12), 61 mins - Rich Pepperill (WAL) try converted by Aled James (12-18), 63 mins - David Jenkins (WAL) try (12-22), 66 mins - Dave Wattam (ENG) try converted by Danny Atherton (18-22), 76 mins Matt Cannon (WAL) try (18-26), 80 mins Rich Singleton (WAL) goal (18-28).
MAN OF THE MATCH: Ben Kerr (WALES)
Article by Simon Davies
15 Sep 2002