PARKHOUSE RECRUITMENT RUGBY LEAGUE CONFERENCE FOUR NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP SCOTLAND 26 WALES 34 Following their crushing victory over Ireland in May, Wales are now top of the Parkhouse Recruitment Rugby League Conference Four Nations Championship table after a hard fought 34-26 win over Scotland at Hamilton RFC writes Ian Golden. Wales took an early 12 point lead through tries from Aberavon hooker Dai Hawkins and Cardiff stand-off Pete Moore. With the Bravehearts not able to cross the line in the first period, their only points coming from three Barry Edgar penalties, it was the Dragons who had a healthy 22-6 lead at the interval after Hawkins bagged his second of the day and Newport's Owen Jones added another just before the hooter. After narrowly losing to England last month, the Bravehearts were determined to make their mark in the Championship. They put down a statement of intent bringing the score back to 22-16 soon after the break with tries from Mark Webster and Dougie Flockhard, the latter a 30 metre run chipping past the full-back before grounding. However, Wales kept their noses well in front when former Liverpool Football Club trialist, Dai Hawkins went in for his hat-trick set up by Man of the Match Damien Hudd. Scotland fought back with a fine individual effort from Andy Brown before a second Jones try sealed the win. Winners of the Championship for the past two seasons, Wales are favourites to complete a hat-trick when they take on the England Lionhearts in Coventry on Sunday September 12th. England, however have the chance to join Wales at the top of the table when they face Ireland in Dublin next Saturday. TOTAL RL.COM WELSH RUGBY LEAGUE CONFERENCE
COUGARS FIGHT PAST THE IRISH
VALLEY COUGARS 32 ABERAVON FIGHTING IRISH 29
Valley Cougars sent shockwaves around the Total RL.com Welsh Rugby League Conference as they pulled off a shock, beating second place Aberavon Fighting Irish 32-29 in a classic at Sardis Road writes Ian Golden. The home side took the lead in the seventh minute through a 20 metre break by Richard Andrews, Matthew Crips converting. They doubled their lead on the quarter hour as Mukeseli Jones pounced on his own chip through the Irish defence.
Geraint George hit back for the Irish straight from kick-off while Lee Williams added a field goal to his conversion a minute later to make sure the visitors kept possession.
The tactic worked as Aberavon took the lead for the only time in the game after 25 minutes through a mazy run by Craig Thomas before Steven Brey ran a try in to give the Cougars a 16-13 half-time lead.
Following a knock-on, Neil Edwards picked up the ball on his own 10-metre line, ran the full length of the field before laying off to Jones who grounded for his second, the try of the match. Rhodri Morris added another before Richard Lewis replied for Aberavon.
Jones then added another try to increase Cougars' lead to 13.
Aberavon were determined not to lose without a fight and prop Mark Jones led the visitors' pack with two tries in three minutes to bring the Irish to within a point.
But the home side sealed their first win of the season with a penalty goal from Crips in the final minute.
NEWPORT GO THIRD WITH SECOND HALF BLITZ
CARDIFF DEMONS 30 NEWPORT TITANS 66 by Simon Davies
Cardiff went into today?s Welsh Conference fixture on the back of some good performances and were determined to avenge an earlier defeat at the hands of their local rivals, but it was Newport who overcame a half time deficit to move up to third in the Welsh Conference.
The first half was a well contested affair with the Demons winning the try count four to three. After Lewis Francis had scampered in for the first, Demons? man-of-the-match Neil Thomas finished off a eight man handling movement for a memorable second Cardiff try. Newport gave a hint of what was to come in the second half when they scored three quick tries from second row Craig Drew, winger Kirk Johnson, and second row Marc Wheeler to give the Titans a 16-12 lead. But it was Cardiff who went into the break with their tails up after a second Lewis Francis try and a debut score for Adrian Chiffy put the Demons into a 24-16 lead.
But the second half was a different story as the Titans came out in unstoppable form. As early as the third minute Earl Palmer intercepted a long pass 10 metres inside his own half and raced 60 metres to score. Three minutes later John Griffiths scored a short range try to put Newport back in the lead, and from then on it was one way traffic as the Titans crossed for seven more. Kirk Johnson, who played for Keighley and Hunslet before returning to his native South Wales was proving unstoppable on the wing and ran through three tackles for the next, then Ben Morris, Earl Palmer, John Griffiths, Jon Dingle, Gavin Carruthers all added tries. Former Demon Dan Clements ran onto Ross Palmer?s kick for their ninth of the half as Newport reached fifty points without reply in the second period.
Showing great character amid this onslaught, the Demons kept attacking and were rewarded in the last minute with a try on his first appearance for substitute Tom Young. All in all though the day belonged to the Titans who move up to third in the league and have proved beyond doubt their superiority over the Demons this season.
?It?s been a great first season for the Titans ? said coach Scott Hirene ?And I have a feeling that next year could be even better.?
TRIES: Cardiff: Francis (2), Chiffy, N Thomas, Young. Newport: Johnson (2), Griffiths (2), Wheeler, Drew, Palmer (2), Morris, Dingle, Carruthers, Clements GOALS: Cardiff: G Jones (3). R Palmer (9).
Next week's fixtures.... Wednesday 7th July (7.15pm) Bridgend Blue Bulls v Valley Cougars (Bridgend Town FC) Saturday 10th July (2.30pm) Aberavon Fighting Irish v Torfaen Tigers (Aberavon Greenstars RFC) Newport Titans v Valley Cougars (Pill Harriers RFC) Swansea Valley Miners v Cardiff Demons (Ystalyfera RFC)