Report by Jonny Sutton
LLANGWM Youth travelled North to Dolgellau in the Quarter Finals of WRU National Bowl Competition on Saturday (Mar 4) and emerged victorious from an epic clash with an equally talented Dolgellau side, taking the spoils by a score of 15-11 in a tense and cagey affair.
A quick start by the home side saw a series of forward drives rewarded when the Dolgellau 10 slotted a penalty from 30 metres after a Llangwm forward had been penalised for handling in the ruck.
The home side continued to dominate the early exchanges but great defence from the Llangwm pack and Centres Fletcher Picton and Ieuan Grey saw them repel attacks but on 20 minutes a series of penalties and continued forward attacks saw Dolgellau crash over out wide from a short range drive. The talented No. 10 missing the difficult touchline conversion.
8 nil down and after starting slowly, suddenly Llangwm seemed to gain some ascendancy, especially in the scrums where their powerful pack, led by Captain Arwyn O’Loughlin, started to dominate.
On 28 minutes sustained pressure and great forward drives meant a snipe left from Iwan Hawkridge-Jones resulted in the ball popping out to winger Iwan Davies who dived over in the corner. Another difficult conversion narrowly missed, this time from Llangwm kicker Fletcher Picton.
Right on half time, Llangwm won a penalty and kicked deep into Dolgellau territory, the resulting line out was lost but a great turnover by hooker Seb McIntosh won the ball and after a few drives The Wasps won another penalty.
With everyone expecting Picton to step up and spot the penalty and level the scores, scrum half Hawkridge-Jones took a quick tap and sniped over by the posts. The simple conversion from Picton ensured Llangwm led 12-8 at the break.
Another quick start by Dolgellau after the half time team talk saw them bring the scores to 11-12 within 5 minutes of the whistle.
For 15 minutes the tense game pinged back and forth with forward battles and both teams looking to spread the ball and attack but superb defence from both teams meant chances where at a premium.
A high tackle penalty on 60 minutes gave a chance for Picton to extend the Llangwm lead but he struck the left hand post and a point remained the difference.
With 15 to go a great break from Llangwm and a superb offload from Ieuan Grey almost put Llangwm in to score but superb defence meant Dolgellau escaped.
Huge pressure from the resulting scrum meant a kick under pressure was returned with interest from substitute Harry Makepeace and an ensuring penalty was confidently struck home by Fletcher for a 15-11 lead.
Dolgellau were now throwing everything at Llangwm but superb defence from the likes of Don Asson, Aled Rogers, Sam Rickwood and Joe Phillips enabled Llangwm to repel everything that Dolgellau could offer.
With two minutes to go and Dolgellau on the attack a massive tackle in centre field by Hawkridge-Jones caused the Dolgellau Centre to spill the ball, if ever there was a match winning tackle this was it.
From the scrum Fletcher Picton kicked deep and into the in goal area where the Dolgellau Winger inexplicably knocked the ball on.
With time running out Llangwm sensed they could find a killer score but despite sustained pressure and some huge scrums they couldn’t get over the line. Little did they care though as the referee blew for full time much to the delight of the huge army of travelling fans.
The young Wasps will now eagerly await the semi-final draw.