Penallta Youth celebrate thier Welsh Youth Cup victory over Gilfach Goch at the Millennium Stadium.
Jack Condy, captain of a very skilful Penallta Youth team, was presented with the WRU Youth Cup by Wales internationals Andrew Coombs and Alex Cuthbert, as his team became custodians of the trophy for the first time with a 27-18 victory over Gilfach Goch Youth at the Millennium Stadium last night.
Before a sizeable crowd that offered raucous vocal support for both teams, Penallta Youth won a very physical battle against a well coached and very determined Gilfach Goch team.
Penallta Youth took an early lead with full back Ryan Davies striding over the Gilfach try-line after impressive work from the Penallta backs, well orchestrated by half backs Matthew Flanagan and Joseph Scrivens. The try was converted by wing Arwel Robson.
After a good drive by the Gilfach Goch forwards, with captain Lee Davies to the fore, Conor Davies kicked a penalty to put the Taff Rhondda team on the scoreboard.Penallta extended their lead with a second try by Ryan Davies before another penalty for Conor Davies pegged back the Penallta lead.
A further Penallta try on the half hour gave the Ystrad Mynach based team a comfortable 17-6 lead at half time.
With a Penallta try from Arwel Robson quickly after the restart Penallta appeared to be heading for a sizeable win. Gilfach Goch however had other thoughts.
With their big pack ever prominent Gilfach struck back with an unconverted try by fly half Josh Williams. During the next period of the match the Penallta defence was very disciplined to repel several strong attacks from an emboldened Gilfach Goch team.
With their defence holding strong Penallta re-established control. The Penallta forwards came into their own with some rampaging runs particularly from second row Max George. Penallta scored their fifth try, the second for wing Robson after a magical piece of play by Penallta's playmaker, No 10 Joseph Scrivens.
When it appeared that this excellent try had sealed the victory for Penallta, Gilfach Goch really showed their mettle. They stormed into Penallta territory and prop Kieran Belmont claimed a deserved try which was converted by Josh Williams to bring Gilfach back to witin nine points of Penallta.
Penallta maintained that lead to the final whistle until 18-year-old referee, Richard Deacey, who had officiated in an excellent manner throughout, blew for full time.
Whilst Penallta deservedly won the silverware enormous credit must go to Gilfach Goch for making this sporting contest a very worthy example of Youth rugby in Wales.
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.