Dolgellau Under 16s 14
Aylesford Bulls 17
REPORT by RHYS LLYWELYN
A highly competitive encounter was served on Y Marian on Saturday with Dolgellau U16 hosting Aylesford Bulls.
The visitors were a large and physical side with many of their ranks representing Saracens Academy.
Dolgellau didn’t show too much respect to their visitors however and the game started at quite a pace, the visitors attacks being thwarted by some fierce tackling, an aspect of Dolgellau’s game which has come to the fore during the season.
However, it was the Bulls who broke the deadlock with a cleverly worked try in the corner, the conversion was missed.
The home team kept going though and after being awarded a penalty for holding on, Morgs Yorke found a good touch.
The resulting lineout saw Elis Williams leap and deliver a clean ball.
Morgs, playing scrum half saw half a gap and sidestepped his way over for a classy score, dotting the ball down at the foot of the posts. He converted his own try: Dolgellau 7-5 Aylesford Bulls was the score at the half.
A squad of 27 players had travelled from Kent and after the restart they made the most of introducing fresh legs to the fray.
This soon paid dividends as they scored their second try which was converted to make it 7-12.
The sharp breeze favoured Dolgellau in the second half and the Goats made the most of it with some tactical kicking.
Nick Slaney used his tremendous speed to steal a try under the noses of the defenders after a penetrating kick.
An excellent touchline conversion made it Dolgellau 14-12 Aylesford Bulls.
It was nip and tuck now with Dolgellau kicking to gain ground and the Bulls using their strong runners to counter.
It’s obvious that the fitness work in training is bearing fruit as Dolgellau persisted with strong tackling and some excellent jackling.
Notable with big hits were Emlyn, Rhodri, Danny and Brandon, the phenomenal Aaron competing for every crumb of loose ball.
The improvement in fitness in players such as Ifan, Cooper and Rob must be applauded.
The size of the opposition was causing some problems for the smaller Dolgellau players but what players such as Dafydd and Tomos lack in size, they more than make up for in heart.
The fierceness of the defensive effort surprised the visitors.
After Danny suffered concussion, Ashley introduced some speed to the game, and Dolgellau almost broke through on a few occasions, Kayden and Ifan’s effective carrying, Emlyn’s abrasiveness and Finn’s direct lines coupled with Morgs and Moc’s effective game management was a great example of total rugby.
But with only three minutes left on the clock, the home side’s hearts were broken, Aylesford scraped over the line after a long period of pressure.
The battle ended Dolgellau 14-17 Aylsford Bulls but it was clear the cheering at the end from the visiting players and supporters was one of relief more than jubilation as they knew they had got a lucky escape.
There was no shame whatsoever in the defeat, the coaches were immensely proud of the efforts of the team.
Five of the squad are still in the U15 age group, a fact which shocked the opposition having witnessed the quality on show.
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