Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
Pontypridd?s Valley Cougars have qualified for their first ever major final after beating Cardiff Demons on Sunday. The Cougars will face Newport Titans in next Sunday?s Welsh Shield Final at the Brewery Field.
Cougars took the lead after six minutes. Following a penalty, Karl Thomas powered over on the second tackle. Cummins converted.
Demons hit back just four minutes. Oliver Hughes sold a beautiful dummy sending the Cougars defence the wrong way and set up and excellent passing move that was eventually finished by Neil Thomas grounding.
Matthew Cripps could have given the advantage back to the Cougars but knocked on as he was diving for the line but they eventually did ground again as Ceri Cummins scored a great opportunist try on the final tackle.
Cardiff hit back again. Hughes created the gap once more, leaving Lewis Francis to break through the defence, running 20 metres to score.
Mike Regan was sinbinned for backchatting just before half-time and Cougars took advantage of the extra man, scoring through James Allen.
Daz White got a try back for the Demons, scoring in the corner eight minutes after half-time. Francis could have added another just minutes later but knocked on as he was grounding.
Cougars extended their lead in the 56th minute through a Robert Jones try.
Demons? John Byers was sent off for fighting five minutes later ensuring that the pendulum totally swung the Cougars way.
Cummins kicked a penalty to extend the Cougars lead to 14 before Christian Wills, Adrian Owen, Karl Thomas and former Demon Jon Breakingbury, who signed from Sheffield Eagles this week, all added long-ranged tries in the last ten minutes to make the final score a flattering 48-12.
COUGARS: 1. Neil Sloane, 2. Delme King, 3. Mark Addis, 18. Christian Wills, 5. Neil Edwards, 6. Ceri Cummins, 7. Karl Thomas, 8. Mark Jones, 9. Rhodri Morris, 10. Gavin Jones, 11. Robert Jones, 12. Richard Andrews, 13. Adrian Owen. Subs: 14. James Allen, 15. Lee Goddard, 16. Matthew Cripps, 19. Jon Breakingbury.
Tries: Thomas (6, 77), Cummins (24), Allen (40), R.Jones (56), Wills (73), Owen (75), Breakingbury (80)
Goals: Cummins 8/9
DEMONS: 1. Jamie Iles, 2. Adam King, 3. John Darcy, 4. Neil Thomas, 5. Andy Daniel, 6. Lewis Francis, 7. Oliver Hughes, 8. Pat Howell, 9. Andy Howard, 10. Andy Jones, 11. Mike Regan, 18. John Byers, 13. Daz White. Subs: 14. Pete Gooding, 15. Dave Roberson, 16. Kyle Blake, 17. Andrew Bradshaw.
Tries: Thomas (10), Francis (35), White (48) Goals: White 0/2, Hughes 0/1
Gamestar: Ceri Cummins who had a hand in a few of the tries, scoring one himself.
Gamebreaker: The sending off of Demons? John Byers with 20 minutes remaining. Although the Cougars were slightly on top throughout the whole game, they made the extra man count to record a solid victory.
Referee: Peter Brooks (Yorkshire)