Our thanks to Andrew Ferguson for his 2014 piece recounting the story of Edward Larkin, who among ot...
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EAST WALES 14 - WEST WALES 12
On a cold and wet night, almost 400 crammed into the Brewery Field to see a hard-hitting competitive game of rugby league.
East Wales had the first chance to score after only ten minutes but Miles Davies was held up over the line.
But they scored just four minutes later. An excellent set of passes ended with Earl Palmer setting up his Newport team-mate Kirk Johnson to ground in the corner.
Davies could have added to the tally moments later but was frustrated again, the referee failing to notice a high tackle causing him to drop the ball as he crossed the line.
Wests had their spell of attacking in the first half. Their only real chance came from Gareth David?s grubber kick near the line but was picked up by East?s Adrian Owen.
Conditions brightened up a bit at half-time and West Wales started out the stronger of the two sides. Grant Epton?s try after ten minutes of the second half was disallowed for a forward pass but three minutes later, Gareth David at last put West on the scoresheet, converting his own try.
East?s Gareth Holtham was sinbinned for high tackle not long after for an illegal tackle on Mark Burke. However West Wales failed to take advantage of the extra man.
West?s Nathan Strong was held up over the line but it was 12-man East Wales who were next on the scoresheet, Owen Jones scoring under the posts and Earl Palmer converting.
The lead changed hands once again with just ten minutes left on the clock. A Craig Fox try, converted by Gareth David gave West a 12-10 lead.
But East weren?t finished yet and pulled out all the stops for a grandstand finish. After Lenny Woodard was penalised for an offside, Owen Jones gave the ball a quick tap and set up Mark Wheeler who grounded in the corner for the winning try.
In a thrilling curtain raiser, East Wales Under-15 won 28-20 thus beating their West counterparts for the second year in a row.
East?s tries were scored by Michael Bendon, Dean Roberts, Gary Williams, Nathan Watkins, Craig Atwell and Ashley Rowley. Williams and Danny Ellis also scored a conversion each.
A hat-trick from Rory Pitman and tries from Craig Tennant and Josef Morgan was the reply from West.
MATCH FACTS EAST WALES: Neil Sloan (Valley Cougars), Damien Smith (Torfaen Tigers), Earl Palmer (Newport Titans), Adrian Owen (Valley Cougars), Kirk Johnson (Newport Titans), Owen Jones (Newport Titans), Gareth Jones (Cardiff Demons), Steve Mailey (Torfaen Tigers), Miles Davies (Cardiff Demons), John Griffiths (Newport Titans), Damien Hudd (Torfaen Tigers), Matt Entwhistle (Torfaen Tigers), Gareth Holtham (Cardiff Demons). Subs: Mukeshli Jones (Valley Cougars), Tyrone Mahoney (Newport Titans), Mark Wheeler (Newport Titans), Ben Morris (Newport Titans).
Tries: Johnson (14), O.Jones (59), Wheeler (78) Goals: Jones 0/1, Palmer 1/2 Sin-bin: Gareth Holtham (dangerous play)
WEST WALES: Neil Dixon (Bridgend Blue Bulls), Grant Epton (Bridgend Blue Bulls), Dai Owen (Bridgend Blue Bulls), Lenny Woodard (Bridgend Blue Bulls), Richard Johnson (Aberavon Fighting Irish), Gareth David (Bridgend Blue Bulls), Craig Fox (Bridgend Blue Bulls), Dai Hawkins (Swansea Valley Miners), Mark Burke (Aberavon Fighting Irish), Matthew Wareham (Bridgend Blue Bulls), Nathan Strong (Bridgend Blue Bulls), Chris Beck (Swansea Valley Miners), Marcus Sainsbury (Bridgend Blue Bulls). Subs: Lloyd O?Connor (Bridgend Blue Bulls), Jon Purnell (Bridgend Blue Bulls), Hywel Davies (Aberavon Fighting Irish), Stuart Coles (Aberavon Fighting Irish).
Tries: David (53), Fox (70) Goals: David 2/2
Gamebreaker: Lenny Woodard being penalised for offside with just three minutes left on the clock allowing East Wales to get the winning try.
Gamestar: The Newport Titans players may have scored all the points but it was Torfaen?s Steve Mailey who was the inspiration in East?s attack, never giving up and playing a full 80 minutes to boot.
Men of the Match: East: Steve Mailey, West: Nathan Strong
Referee: Colin Neale (Rhonnda) Half-time: 4-0