Gower College Swansea start with a win but NPTC and Bridgend College suffer heavy defeats
The WRU Wednesday Under 18 league restarted yesterday and there were mixed fortunes for the three Ospreylian Colleges who were all on the road for their opening games.
Gower College Swansea started their campaign with an away trip to Cowbridge and after a tough season last year they got off to a dream start, beating the Vale of Glamorgan side 28 - 22.
There were no such victories for the colleges from the East however as they both lost heavily in their first games.
Neath Port Talbot College travelled to Coleg Sir Gar, the overall winners of the last two campaigns. A tough game was guaranteed and the Carmarthenshire College didn't disappoint. Both teams started well and there was a fast paced and exciting first half for the supporters to watch. Sir Gar dominated but the visitors kept themselves into the game going into half time with just 10 points between them, Coleg Sir Gar leading 24 - 14.
It was the second half when the home side came into their own though, their powerful running and wide gaps in the NPTC defence saw them slip over for the first of four second half tries with just two minutes played.
The Sir Gar defence was like a constant brick wall for the visitors, they were consistently held back, just passing the ball back and forth across field. In stark contrast, every time Sir Gar had the ball vital yards up field were made with every single move. Several interceptions by the NPTC team looked promising, but it was the power play from the home team that saw them crossing the line again 11 minutes into the second half.
Just minutes later the Carmarthenshire side again showed why they are competition favourites. Impressive handling skills and real pace had them at the try line quickly and after NPTC were penalised they were quick to take advantage and cross the line again.
The solid Sir Gar defence continued to cause problems for the visitors, the only time they made any headway was when Sir Gar were penalised. Handling errors from the Carmarthenshire side causing them to miss more opportunities than the Neath Port Talbot defence. An exceptional break by the home side saw them almost at the try line before a knock on stopped their attack. However they easily over powered NPTC in the resulting scrum and with no further answer in defence, they scored their final try.
Neath Port Talbot must be credited with a never give up attitude however and they were eventually rewarded just minutes before the final whistle. Two fantastic interceptions saw them make valuable ground with Iwan Evans running half the length of the pitch before James Roberts completed the move to score right between the posts. The conversion added another 2 points but it was too little too late for the visiting team.
Full time: Coleg Sir Gar 59 - 20 Neath Port Talbot College
Max Howells, Head Coach at NPTC commented on his teams loss;
"Very disappointed, we weren't physical enough which is disappointing as we knew what was going to come down here. They are a well organised side and always a very strong team. We have to work harder and do the basics right, it's as simple as that. We need to get the basics sorted and implement those systems next Wednesday. We only have three sessions before we face Cowbridge at home next week so it's up to the boys now."
There was another heavy defeat for the final Ospreylian side in the competition, Bridgend College. They travelled to last year's semi finalists Gwent College and couldn't compete with the home sides strong and fast paced play. Poor discipline also cost the visitors as they were penalised throughout the game, handing their hosts the ball and yards.
From the off Gwent were dominant, they consistently had men over and took advantage of this time after time. After just three minutes Gwent had crossed the line for the first time. Gaps in their defence also cost Bridgend as Gwent exploited them throughout the first half to cross another four times. Only an Owen Watkin race down the wing to the try line putting any points on the board for Bridgend as they went into half time trailing 27 - 5.
With more powerful runs in the second half, that Bridgend were just unable to stop, Gwent managed to add another two tries to their tally before the final whistle. Again the visitors may be commended for never giving up. With some key replacements Bridgend did up their game, especially Connor Tantum who proved to be a nuisance to the Gwent defence. He deservedly crossed for Bridgend's second try of the game, slipping through the impressive home defence.
Despite a stronger defence from Bridgend as the game progressed, Gwent continued to exploit the large gaps and with just minutes left added a 7th and final try.
Full time: Gwent College 44 - 12 Bridgend College