DC Thomas Final 17th May 2008-05-19 Bridgend and District Schools 0 Cardiff and District Schools 5 Both Bridgend and Cardiff were worthy finalists in the DC Thomas/Western Mail Cup Final played at the Millennium Stadium as a curtain raiser to Shanes game and the Konica Minolta Trophy on the weekend.
DC Thomas Final 17th May 2008-05-19 Bridgend and District Schools 0 Cardiff and District Schools 5 Both Bridgend and Cardiff were worthy finalists in the DC Thomas/Western Mail Cup Final played at the Millennium Stadium as a curtain raiser to Shanes game and the Konica Minolta Trophy on the weekend. Bridgend had defeated Siroedd y Gogledd, Dinefwr and Cynon Valley to reach the semi final stage where they met and defeated an extremely well drilled Pontypool side 12 -0. Cardiff had no easy run to the final with all of their matches being close encounters. They defeated Pontypridd 10 7, Llanelli 15 12, and Rhymney Valley 12 points to 7, all exhilarating games to claim their final spot. With the stadium roof open, both teams locked horns early on and showed their intent to run the ball at every opportunity. The distribution from Bridgend outside half Ashley Baker (Llangewydd) and angles of running from Bridgend centre Owen Watkin (Bro Ogrw) were simply inspiring. A number of attacks were thwarted due to last ditch tackles by the cover defence of the Cardiff side. Once the initial exchanges had passed, both sides looked to seek the upper hand with some decisive forward play. The Cardiff front row of Sam Brinkworth (Llanishen Fach), William Haines (Cathedral) and Michael Thomas (Llanishen Fach) were dynamic in the ruck area and instrumental in securing clean ball for scrum half Liam Free (Glyncoed). Bridgend however, were not to be outdone with prop forwards Reben Tooze (Maes Yr Haul), Sam Matthews (Bryncethin), hooker Jac Briggs (Cefn Cribwr) and flanker Rhys Brownsell (Pil) displaying superb skills in securing and distributing their fair share of the ball. Bridgend wingers Jak Robbins (West Park) and Daniel Lockyer (Bryncethin) both made excellent use of a plentiful supply of ball and made the most of their chances. The Cardiff pairing however of Connor Martin (St. Johns College) and Jerry Casserly (Roath Park) were equal to the challenge, both in attack and defence. Bridgend started to take the upper hand and make space for their backs to make further searching runs into the Cardiff 22. Bridgend scrum half Tom McArdle (Tremains) was a constant threat and kept the momentum of play moving forward. A sweeping movement saw the Cardiff defence outnumber and with the line beckoning Bridgend were unable to ground the ball over the line. Once again it was the Cardiff defence that proved decisive. From the ensuing scrum, Cardiff outside half Breandan Nap (Cathedral), cleared his line under immense pressure from Bridgends Megan Raikes (Cefn Cribwr) and Adam Lang (Penybont). Bridgend full back Ben Jones (Bro Ogwr) took the ball cleanly, but was bundled backwards by the powerful tackle of Cardiffs Teri Morgan Gee (Rumney). Some other huge tackles from the Cardiff pack, in particular William Brinkley (Cathedral) and Thomas Hayward (Radyr), started to set the precedent. The pattern of play then shifted with Cardiff moving through the phases and gain a slight territorial advantage. Following a scrum on the Bridgend 10 yard line, Liam Free fed his number 8 Cameron James (Rumney) who ran in a full 40 yards on the blind side to score the first points of the game. Half Time Bridgend 0 Cardiff 5 At the restart Bridgend came straight back into the match. With the lion share of the ball they began to hammer away at the Cardiff defence. On a number of occasions they came close to scoring, but the elusive try scoring pass evaded them. Bridgends Tomos Pritchard (Trelales) and his opposite number Jessie Lipetz-Robic (Ysgol Mynydd Bychan) enjoyed a wonderful battle in the centre of the field as did the full backs Joel Croker (Baden Powell) and Bridgends Jones. The Bridgend second row partnership of Christian Long (Nottage) and Morgan Jefferies (Afon-y-Felin) tirelessly battled long and hard for possession with Cardiffs Tom Candlin (Rhiwbina) and Hayward. All replacements were used in the game (Bridgend - Josh Thomas, Lewis Brennan, Craig Lewis, Jordan Fox, Alex Thomas, Liam Bowen and Matthew Bennett. Cardiff Sam Scanlon, Elliot Rees, John Hunt, Lloyd Hopkin, Jacob John, Megan Jones and Luke Fish) and the teams grew in stature as a result, displaying the tremendous strength in depth of both squads. Quite simply the standard of play was outstanding and such a superb advert for district under 11s rugby. A draw would definitely have been a fair result due to the huge levels of commitment and passion on show, but on the day it was Cardiff who took the spoils with inspirational skipper Sydney Blackmore (Llandaff) lifting the DC Thomas Cup. Sincere thanks to all involved and for the wonderful levels of support from the WRU, sponsors, teachers, coaches, referee (Sean Brickell), and of course parents and families for making this a day to remember.