Merthyr Schools Under 15 squad captured the Welsh Schools Morgan Griffiths Trophy for the first time in their history by overcoming a quality Bridgend Schools side in a thrilling encounter at Ystradgynlais RFC.
Bridgend made the early running and deservedly took a 5-0 lead with a try for flanker Ben Howe. Strong defence by Merthyr back row players Matthew Soames, Giancarlo Howfield and Ryan Taylor prevented further Bridgend scores. But after 15 minutes Bridgend increased their lead with a flowing move finished off by wing Jason Jones.
Merthyr half backs Josh Mahoney and Darryl Jenkins kept them in good field position with incisive kicking, this was combined with powerful forward surges, with Luke Price and Mark Jones at the forefront. After 25 minutes continued Merthyr pressure led to hooker Chris House crossing the line to reduce the deficit.
The second half saw the Merthyr forwards exert their dominance in the set piece areas, but a penalty from Bridgend outside-half Jamie Murphy saw their lead stretched. with time running out second row Luke Price collected the ball from a line-out and was driven over to set a dramatic finish. With both sides going for the win, centres James Howe and captain Lewis Hughes kept Merthyr moving forward with tackle breaking runs. With 5 minutes left on the clock a mazy run from Merthyr wing Craig Gibbons took them deep into the Bridgend 22m, good support from Liam Jenkins saw No.8 Howfield to cross the line in the corner to score. With Merthyr two points to the good Captain Hughes slotted the touchline conversion.
Bridgend attacked from the re-start and only for a try saving tackles from Lloyd Hynes and Rhydian Burke prevented Bridgend from taking the game. The final whistle brought relieved celebrations from the complete squad and supporters.
Merthyr Schools 17 Bridgend Schools 13
Coaches Darren Bool and Matt Jacklin would like to pay particular thanks to the playing squad, parents and Merthyr Rugby Development officer Nigel Way.
Merthyr Schools Under 15s 2005
Lloyd Hynes, Craig Gibbons, Alex Scobby, Nathan Watkins, Lewis Hughes, James Howe, Rhydian Burke, Josh Mahoney, Darryl Jenkins, Chris Davies, Michael Philips, Ben Cullen, Liam Jenkins, Chris House, Mark Jones, Scott Jones, Adam Prosser, David Barton, Bleddyn Rees, Rhys Price, Luke Price, Matthew Soames, Thomas Daley, Giancarlo Howfield, Ryan Taylor.
If you are interested in sponsoring Merthyr Schools Rugby please contact Matt Jacklin 0n 01685 721726.