10th July 2010, 14:55
2010 England Lionhearts 34 Wales Dragonhearts 30
England Lionhearts clinched an exciting Four Nations encounter
ENGLAND LIONHEARTS 34 WALES DRAGONHEARTS 30
By Ian Golden at Somerset Vikings RLFC
England Lionhearts clinched an exciting Four Nations encounter in the final seconds of a dramatic encounter that could have gone either way.
In front of a large and passionate crowd including a large three figure travelling support from South Wales, England kept their composure more than their visitors to give them only their third win out of nine against Wales at this level.
It could have been a big lead for Wales at the interval but they only had themselves to blame after squandering a number of chances and giving away penalties.
They were even on top when Craig Fox was sinbinned for a high tackle. John Saniger had three chances to score in that period but dropped or mishandled the ball on each occasion. Veteran Graham Hughes also squandered a chance to get Wales on the board.
At the other end, Daniel Gregory set up Luke Watson but he failed to take advantage, dropping the ball as he was crossing the line. Rudie Van der Merwe also went on a charge for the line but he was pushed into touch.
England took the lead on only their second real attack when Tim Stevens ran through and Nathan Walmsley converted.
With their heads up, the second try came seven minutes later when Luke Watson set up Sam Montague to score in the corner. Walmsley missed the conversion but made up for it by scoring a penalty five minutes before the break to put the hosts 12-0 up.
But Wales got back into the game at the best possible time when Troy Brockbank fed Craig Fox who wormed his way under the defence to ground. Paul Emanuelli converted well and the half-time hooter sounded two minutes later.
England started the second half well when Matt Evans retained ball from his side's kick-off leading to an immediate try that Robert Massom scored in the corner. The kick was missed.
Wales got back on the board in the 49th minute when John Saniger ran over from a scrum which Paul Emanuelli converted.
And they took the lead for the first time in the game from kick-off when Gareth Howells sped 40 metres to ground. Emanuelli's kick made it 16-18.
But the lead lasted for just three minutes after Rudie Van der Merwe picked up a pass and broke through the pack to score. Walsmley converted from in front of the posts.
Wales levelled the scores at 22-all when Kevin James forced his way over and Emanuelli's kick went wide.
And following plenty of pressure from the Welsh, they scored again when Chris Holcombe fed Dai Norman to score in the corner. Emanuelli goaled to give them a 28-22 lead.
England pulled it back again four minutes later as Daniel Gregory scored with a fine individual run to go in under the sticks. Walmsley easily converted to level the game at 28-apiece.
Both teams went for the winner. Wales' Chris Holcombe broke through but was pulled back for a forward pass.
England's Sam Montague was pulled into touch when in space and with Scott Holder in support while Daniel Gregory had a try disallowed for obstruction.
There were drop goal attempts for each side. Walmsley missed a chance to seal it for England and Emanuelli's attempt was charged down
Wales thought they'd won it after being awarded a penalty just to the left of the sticks in the final seconds which Emanuelli successfully kicked but there was still time for Sam Montague to use his strength to barge through the tiring Welsh defence. Walmsley converted to give England the tightest of victories.
1. Jack Claydon (Somerset Vikings)
2. Alex Rigby (St.Helens Titans)
3. Robert Massom (Chester Gladiators)
4. Sam Montague (Coventry Bears)
5. Rudie Van der Merwe (St.Albans Centurions)
6. Nathan Walmsley (Nottingham Outlaws)
7. Daniel Gregory (St.Helens Titans)
8. Matt Evans (Coventry Bears)
9. Scott Holder (Kippax Knights)
10. Robert Firth (Kippax Knights)
11. Tim Stevens (Hemel Hempstead)
12. Dan Reeds (Nottingham Outlaws)
13. Luke Watson (Peterlee Pumas)
14. Don Payne (Northallerton Stallions)
15. Martyn Bradshaw (St.Helens Titans)
16. Matty Smith (South London Storm)
17. Craig Sykes (Northallerton Stallions)
18. Andy Gray (Jarrow Vikings)
19. Jimmy Baldwin (Wallsend Eagles)
Tries: Stevens (19), Montague (26, 79), Massom (42), Van der Merwe (55), Gregory (64)
Goals: Walmsley 5/7
19. Scott Bessant (Newport Titans)
14. Dai Norman (Bridgend Blue Bulls)
8. Gareth Howells (Bridgend Blue Bulls)
12. Chris Holcombe (Cardiff Demons)
22. Kevin James (Valley Cougars)
6. Paul Emanuelli (Valley Cougars)
1. Kristian Hawkes (Newport Titans)
16. John Griffiths (Newport Titans)
5. Craig Fox (Bridgend Blue Bulls)
10. Troy Brockbank (Valley Cougars)
17. John Sanigar (Valley Cougars)
4. Dan Smith (Bridgend Blue Bulls)
13. Tylon Mafi (Bridgend Blue Bulls)
20. Graham Hughes (Cardiff Demons)
11. Chris Watts (Valley Cougars)
2. Nathan Hawkins (Bridgend Blue Bulls)
3. James Allen (Valley Cougars)
21. Shaun Owens (Bridgend Blue Bulls)
9. Kyle Blake (Cardiff Demons)
Tries: Fox (38), Saniger (49), Howells (52), James (60), Norman (65)
Goals: Emanuelli 5/6
Sinbinned: Fox (5, high tackle)
Men of the Match: England - Daniel Gregory, Wales - Gareth Howells
Scoring Sequence: 6-0, 10-0, 12-0, 12-6, 16-6, 16-12, 16-18, 22-18, 22-22, 22-28, 28-28, 30-28, 30-34
Gamestar: Coventry's Sam Montague may have got a brace of tries but it was Daniel Gregory who led his team from the halves.
Gamebreaker: The try in the last minute for England settled a dramatic encounter.