venue: Racecourse Ground, Wrexham
13th November 2011
Full Match Report
Wales under 18 earned a dramatic 29-28 win over England Community Lions under 18 in Wrexham on Sunday after the away side forfeited a 15-point half-time advantage. It was the perfect start to a day of Rugby League in Wrexham as Wales dominated for much of the game, the win being deserved for how well they came back after the interval. It means that in three years of competition between these two sides, Wales still remain unbeaten having won two years ago in Leeds and the two teams drawing last year in Caerphilly.
Wales started brightly and almost scored in the first five minutes but Rhodri Lloyd was held up over the line. But they took the lead on seven minutes. Olly Olds made the break after intercepting and laid off to Jack Pring who grounded just right of the sticks. Courtney Davies converted. England tried to fight back but Wales were tough in defence, forcing them into touch on two successive occasions before Jack Jones finally went over with an individual effort in the corner. Kieran Ford missed the kick.
Wales tried to score a second. Lloyd broke through with an offload aiming for Rhys Watkins but it was intercepted. England took the lead when Marcus O’Brien stormed through in the corner taking half of the Welsh defence with him. Again Ford couldn’t convert. After winning back to back sets, Wales should have regained the lead. Bradley Hill ran well and played the ball off to TJ Collin, but with Ben Burgess in space and with a metre to go, Collin was forced into touch.
England took advantage and following the scrum they won back to back sets of their own leading to Adam Jefferson scoring from close range. Ford goaled this time and England were 14-6 up. The away side were in full swing. From the next set, Sam Forester barged over and Ford converted again. Still the luck didn’t go Wales’ way. Pring had a potential second try ruled out just before the interval for a forward pass. And there was still time before the half-time hooter for England to land a drop goal through Jones to give them a 21-6 lead.
Just like in the first half, and a similar time, Wales struck first after the break with a short-range try from Lloyd that Davies converted. England regained the balance on 55 minutes after a spell of Welsh pressure when Forrester was given space to dive under the sticks for his second. Ford converted. But Wales hit back again when Jacob Morgan released David Palmer to go in under the sticks. Davies easily goaled and Wales were back to being nine points down.
And from kick-off and a penalty, Lloyd scored his second and Wales’ fourth try in the corner. Davies missed the tricky kick. Jack Molloy looked to have scored another try back for Wales but the referee ruled it out, declaring it a knock-on. But Molloy made no mistake from the next attack, the London Broncos product scoring with a fine individual run with Davies not feeling the pressure at all and converting from the touchline to give Wales a one-point lead. Wales’ Olly Olds added a drop-goal with six minutes remaining while Karl Dixon added one in reply three minutes later but it wasn’t enough for the English as Wales held on.
Wales coach Stuart Williams, who has coached all but one of the team with the Crusaders Academy over the last two years, said: “Credit to the boys for their resolve, they did really well out there today. We dominated for large periods of the game and our win was well deserved. It’s been a very tough year for us and this win today is a credit for the hard work that everyone has put in all year.”
Jacob Morgan, Chris Leyshon, TJ Collin, Ben Burgess, Courtney Davies, Rhys Pugsley, Dale Evans, Rhys Watkins, David Palmer, Efan Ellis, Dan Mock, Osian Phillips (Crusaders), Olly Olds (Leeds Rhinos), Jack Pring, Bradley Hill, Rhodri Lloyd (South Wales Scorpions, capt.), Jack Molloy (London Broncos)
ENGLAND COMMUNITY LIONS U18
Tom Whittle, Kieran Ford (Wigan St Judes), Jamie Tracey, Nathan Skupski, Leon Tatlock, Jack Jones (Thatto Heath Crusaders), Leon Crellin (Egremont Rangers), Karl Dixon (Wath Brow Hornets), Sam Forester (Maryport), Adam Jefferson (Bradford Dudley Hill), Marcus O’Brien, Ethan Kelly (Millom), Chris Tomlinson (Glasson Rangers), Perry Singleton (Barrow Island), Lewis Sheridan (Wigan St Cuthberts), Jack Green (Latchford Albion), Reece Needham (Nottingham Outlaws)