SOUTH WALES IRONMEN 28 GLOUCESTERSHIRE ALL GOLDS 20
By Ian Golden at Parc Stebonheath
South Wales Ironmen claimed their first victory over Gloucestershire All Golds in four years in a dramatic encounter at their new Llanelli home.
It was all the Welshmen deserved. The 17 on show were outstanding and coach Phil Carleton must be congratulated for bringing this team together after losing so many players over the course of the year, some of whom were playing for the All Golds in this match!
The Ironmen made the news last week when they signed ten new players. Four of them made their debut in this game – try scorers Shaun Tennant and Curtis Ford starting, with Archie Snook and Henry Davies on the bench.
Davies arrived from Cheltenham Phoenix and the fact he played against a side that hadn’t picked him up would have made victory sweeter, with the other three coming in from new owners West Wales Raiders.
All Golds’ new signing from the Ironmen, Ross Price, started on the bench. He was one of six former South Wales players in the All Golds side.
Kade Breen, playing his best game since joining the club, was close to giving the Ironmen an eighth minute lead but was stopped centimetres from the line in the final tackle of a well-worked set.
All Golds took the lead in the 13th minute when England student international Brad Kislingbury, in his first game back after the World Cup, crashed over in the corner. Courtney Davies’ kick hit the post.
Ironmen were soon level. A slick passing move led to debutant Ford diving well to score in the corner. Ben Jones’ conversion attempt swept wide.
Then they quickly took the lead after Andy Gay’s tricky high bomb was fluffed by Phil Cowburn. Ironmen’s Welsh international, one of three on each side, reaped the reward from the resulting set by twisting under the sticks after Archie Snook was close. Jones converted.
All Golds got a try back via the man who always scores against his old club, skipper Steven Parry. Again Davies couldn’t add the extras.
Morgan Jeffries forced a goal-line drop-out but the opportunity was wasted after a knock-on from the resulting kick.
10-8 at half-time and it looked like that a vital opportunity was lost for Ironmen to extend their lead when Jones sent a penalty kick wide. But from the restart, Morgan Evans fooled the All Golds defence to dive over for Ironmen’s third try. Jones’ goal extended their lead to eight points.
Kade Breen went from villain to hero in under a minute, dropping the ball near to the try-line when he had the chance to increase Ironmen’s lead, before forcing Parry to do the same at the other end of the pitch.
Desperate to get a try back, the All Golds kept pressing and were rewarded with a Cowburn try under the sticks that Ben Stead, deputising Davies who went off with an injured arm, converted.
The Welshmen on each side were really making a concerted effort to prove themselves ahead of the forthcoming World Cup. All Golds’ Lewis Reece, their man of the match, made an outstanding break and laid off well to Chris Worrall, but Gay was back to defend and forced the Gloucester forward into touch.
But from their next attack, Cowburn fed Joe McLean who scored in the corner. Stead converting well to give them a 20-16 lead.
They weren’t leading for long. Jones, another man who played his best game for the club so far, dived over from dummy half to level things before converting himself to make it 22-20 with 10 minutes remaining.
Then another debutant, Shaun Tennant picked up a chip kick and extended the lead to 26-20. Jones made his best kick of the day to extended the lead to eight points with five minutes to go and despite the All Golds being awarded a couple of penalties in the last two minutes, South Wales had done enough.