Wales Rugby League



Syme denies Falcons of final place

4th August 2012, 21:13

Syme denies Falcons of final place

4th August 2012, 21:13

Syme denies Falcons of final place

By Ryan Gould


Flintshire Falcons came within minutes of what would have been famous victory to take them to the Grand Final of the North Wales Conference, leading favourites Prestatyn and Rhyl Panthers 38-34 going into the closing stages. But Ben Syme stole the game from them at the death.


And at last there was a fixture that was played in conditions that you’d associate with ‘summer rugby league’ – and this made for an exciting game.


Infact, the game had everything that you would want in a play-off tie – the ambition for victory was clear to see, the backs took a risk-taking approach, and the forwards ran hard and challenged with real intesntiy, making it a very tough and draining encounter for both sides.


The Panthers have been known for their physical approach this year, and haven’t really been tested. But the Falcons’ physicality matched that of the home side, and that allowed them to push their opponents all the way.


Lewys Weaver picked up a hat trick, and he opened the scoring down the right hand side. Wil Davies soon replied though, reaching out in the corner to level the scores.


Weaver was at it again soon after, collecting a Callum Bennet chip over the defence and grounding next to the posts. Jack Hughes increased their lead soon after that, but then Prestatyn’s discipline cost them dearly.


Firstly, they had Callum Bennett sent to the sin bin for a late challenge off the ball, and then immediately after Anthony Tilley was also given ten minutes for dissent.


It looked as though the hosts were going to run away with it, but the two-man advantage rejuvenated the visitors, and Ollie Hughes went over for a quick double just minutes after the sin binning.


Jamie Elder made the most of space of space down the right flank to touch down, despite scrambing defence from the Panthers, and Wil Davies also went over down the left for his second – that score taking his side into the break 28-16 infront.


Jonathan Burgess’ side made a major improvement in the second half, recording three tries in the first half an hour to take them into a two-point lead.


Collinge and Bennett both crashed through the Falcons defence, and Lewys Weaver produced a weaving run to score underneath the posts for his hat trick try.


It was make or break for the Falcons, and they found a reply through Mitchell Martin, which they thought was enough to book a trip to Colwyn Bay RFC for the Grand Final.


However, Ben Syme had different ideas and produced a superb dashing run to break free of several tacklers, and score underneath the posts. This completely flattened the Falcons' hopes, leaving them with no time to recover the defecit. 


This was a great advert for the amateur game of rugby league in general, but especially for the North Wales region. It was heartbreak for the Falcons, but they will take a lot of pride out of a performance that wasn’t really expected, and for a side only months old, it was quite remarkable.


Prestatyn will face the Conwy Celts in the Grand Final in two weeks after beating Dee Valley 28-18, and a victory like this one, in which they had to graft for, will be invaluable, and they can take a lot from this much-needed test.


Falcons coach Matt Pritchard was not only delighted with his sides performance, but with the game as a whole. "What a great day for rugby league, it was a fantastic advert for the sport", he said. 


Reflecting on the game, he said: "We are obviously disappointed that we didn't win the game, but we won't let our heads go down. We could have done that in the game at points, but we didn't, and we showed that with how accomplished we were."


"Everyone at the club is proud of our performance this season, and we're both proud and thankful to those players that have made the club what it is today."