Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
MINERS CRY OFF WHILE ABERAVON SECURE SECOND SPOT
The Bridgend Blue Bulls look to have secured top spot in the Welsh Conference table and a guaranteed place in the Welsh Rugby League Final but not the way they would have liked.
With less than 20 minutes before K.O the Swansea Valley Miners informed the Bulls that they did not have enough players available to fulfil the fixture and the game was cancelled. With little time left to re-organise the fixture the likelihood is that the Miners will forfeit the points and Bridgend awarded the victory.
There was better news at Pontypool where Aberavon Fighting Irish secured second spot by defeating Torfaen Tigers 48-20.
Teenager Gareth Moore and Robert (the Tonmawr Bomber) Hill began the scoring for the Fighting Irish while Gareth Lewis again starred with a hat-trick of tries and six successful conversions.
Burly prop Nick Blake hit back twice for Torfaen with Nathan Daniel also scoring but the visitors held a 22-12 lead at half time.
Torfaen crawled their way back into the game early in the second half with tries from Dale Nash and Jessie Farthing but four more scores from the Irish sealed the Tigers fate.
David Felton and the Tongan duo Nio Aiono and Taumaholo Taufanema (2) all scored in the second half while Adam Dawe, Sean Kelly, David Dyer and Richard Lewis were all outstanding.
But the M.O.T.M award went to teenage centre Lee Williams who was at the forefront of most of the Aberavon moves and was brilliant in defence.
Sunday sees a local derby between the Valley Cougars and Cardiff Demons at Sardis Road. A Cardiff win will see them stretch their lead from bottom club Miners while a win for the Cougars will keep them in contention for third spot and a play-off with Aberavon for the right to face the Blue Bulls in the Grand Final.
TORFAEN TIGERS SCORERS:
TRIES: Nick Blake (2) Nathan Daniel Dale Nash Jessie Farthing
ABERAVON FIGHTING IRISH SCORERS:
TRIES: Gareth Moore Robert Hill Gareth Lewis (3) David Felton Nio Aiono Taumaholo Taufanema (2)
GOALS: Gareth Lewis (6)
VALLEY COUGARS OUTGUN DEMONS IN DERBY MATCH by Simon Davies
Rugby League - Welsh Conference: VALLEY COUGARS 51 CARDIFF DEMONS 12
What a difference a year makes for Mark Rowley's Valley Cougars - last season beaten home and away by Cardiff Demons but today completing a double over their neighbours from Taffs Well to ensure at least a fifth place finish in the Welsh Conference.
Cardiff scored the opening try of the game through John Byers and were unlucky not to extend their early advantage to 7-0 when Darren White's drop goal attempt hit the upright and bounced to a Cougar hand. But Karl Thomas struck back for Valley on ten minutes, and after Cardiff's Pat Howell were held up just short on 22 minutes, the Cougars took control.
After a period of concerted pressure, Danny King touched down to give the Cougars the lead on 26 minutes and five minutes later Ceri Cummings, who was outstanding with the boot landed a drop goal from 30 metres out to make it 13-6. Cummings then added a try just before the break to leave the Cougars leading by eleven as the teams changed round.
The Cougars took two great steps to make the game safe with another Cummings short range try and a Matthew Phillips effort on 48 and 52 minutes. The Demons gave their fans some hope four minutes later when substitute Mike Regan went over under the posts for his first Cardiff try, bringing the score back to 29-12. Darren White though he had closed the gap even further but was held up over the line as Cardiff pressed.
But the last ten minutes saw the Demons wilt in the sun and it was time for the Cougars to prosper, with four long range tries from Christian Wills, Steve Jones, Mark Addis and Neil Sloane. While Cardiff must look to rebuild at home to Newport next week, the Cougars can celebrate the dizzy heights of fourth place and the prospect of a late run for the championship playoffs.
Venue: Sardis Road, Pontypridd, KO 2.30pm 17th July 2005. Referee: Mr I Lancaster (Widnes) Valley Cougars: N Sloane, N Edwards, D King, M Addis, C Cumming, R Jones, K Thomas, M Jones, R Morris, M Phillips, S Jones, P Haines, R Andrews. Subs C Wills, G Jones, D Murphy.
Cardiff Demons: J Iles, A King, J Darcy, N Thomas, A Daniel, L Frances, O Hughes, C James, A Howard, A Jones, P Howell, J Byers, D White. Subs P Gooding, M Reagan, M Bailey, J Vigors.