SOUTH WALES IRONMEN 20 NEWCASTLE THUNDER 26
By Ian Golden at The Wern for Rugby Leaguer and League Express – www.totalrl.com
Images by Ian Lovell – www.ianlovell.com
For the second game in a row for South Wales Ironmen, only goal kicks lost them the game, as they went down 20-26 to a Newcastle Thunder outfit who remain top with a 100% record.
After Ironmen were denied an early score, Newcastle went upfield following a penalty with Vincent Rennie scoring under the sticks and Ben Hardcastle converting.
The Welsh hit back on 18 minutes. It was a good passing move that saw Paul Edwards score in the corner but Lewis Reece missed the conversion attempt.
Thunder were temporary reduced to 12 men when Derrell Olpherts saw yellow for a shoulder charge but it didn’t stop them extending their lead after Daniel Parker slipped past the Ironmen line. Hardcastle again had no problem with the boot and Newcastle were 12-4 up.
Ironmen again moved closer to Thunder’s lead with Richard Jones created his own gap in the Newcastle defence for a powerful try. Again Reece was unable to land a touchline conversion.
The home side kept going and after Bateman and Reece were both stopped short of the line, Reece finally managed to break through, going in under the sticks with Paul Emanuelli converting.
That was before a stunning team try from the home side where Andy Gay sprinted 30 metres before kicking through for Lewis Hughes for the winger to score his first senior try. Emanuelli converted again giving the Welsh a 20-12 lead at the break.
Thunder were first on the board after the break after Ironmen failed to pick up a grubber and Tyler Craig latched onto the loose ball. Hardcastle easily converted.
And from the fourth penalty they’d been awarded after half-time, a couple of them being controversial decisions, Olpherts dived over to give them the lead back and Hardcastle converted.
Not content with that, they looked to extend and forced a scrum on Ironmen’s 10 metre line. Hardcastle sold a dummy and was held up metres from the line before the Welsh regained the ball to defuse.
It was a tense final quarter with both sides refusing to give way. There were a few stoppages for injuries, the longest being 10 minutes leading to Ironmen’s Connor Parker being stretchered off.
Ironmen looked for the winner. They forced a goal-line drop-out then won a penalty before Dan Parker picked up a grubber and ran it out of his own goal area to end a nervy few minutes for Thunder.
But the final nail in the coffin for the Ironmen was when Chris Vitalini was sinbinned for an offence on his own 20 metre line. Hardcastle kicked the penalty from that infringement to seal the win.
6 Andy Gay
2 Yannic Parker
3 Paul Edwards
4 Christiaan Roets
26 Lewis Hughes
15 Shaun Owens
5 Paul Emanuelli
19 Jamie I’Anson
18 Morgan Evans
17 Zak Williams
10 Izaak Duffy
24 Connor Parker
12 Lewis Reece
16 Ashley Bateman
Subs (all used):
11 Richard Jones
13 Chris Vitalini
14 Kristian Baller
19 Jamie I’Anson
Tries: Edwards (18), Jones (28), Reece (36), Hughes (39)
Goals: Reece 0/2, Emanuelli 2/2
Sin-bin: Vitalini (77, high tackle)
1 Derrell Olpherts
2 Alistair Blair
3 Tyler Craig
4 Joseph Brown
5 Peter Fox
6 Daniel Nicklas
7 Ben Hardcastle
8 Vincent Rennie
9 Evan Simons
10 Rhys Clarke
11 Daniel Parker
12 Harry Aldous
13 Jack Aldous
Subs (all used)
14 Aaron Teroi
15 Josh Stoker
17 Matty Barron
19 Brett Walker
Tries: Rennie (5), Parker (24), Craig (49), Olpherts (55)
Goals: Hardcastle 5/5
Sin-bin: Olpherts (21, shoulder charge)
Referee: Stephen Race