Preseli Under 16s win national title

By County Echo Reporter in Rugby

YSGOL y Preseli, Crymych lifted the U16s Cup in a thrilling final at Parc y Scarlets, having qualified along with STP as one of the two top teams from Pembrokeshire.

Knockout wins over Pencoed 43-12, Ysgol y Strade 27-7, and Glantaf 29-24 set up a final showdown with Ystalyfera, and the Preseli lads triumphed 31-5 in Llanelli.

Since 2006, Preseli have reached four national rugby cup final finals with different teams at Under 14, 16, and 18s level, but had never previously won one the title.

Ystalyfera put Preseli under pressure from the kick-off, but after some solid defensive work, they fought back to earn territory into the opposition’s quarter.

An excellent scrum by Preseli forced pressure on the defending half backs, and a dropped pass by the outside half was picked by Preseli captain and open side flanker Joey Mathias, who to side-stepped his way over the line for the opening try.

The second try came from the restart as Preseli spread the ball, winning five phases in quick succession, before full back and man of the match Callum Williams, ran 50 metres for the first of his three tries.

Preseli’s third try was a team effort, and a patient build up was finished off by loose head prop Josh Bridge, followed by a successful conversion by Ilan Phillips.

Just before the interval, a fantastic individual effort saw Callum Williams race 80 metres to score the try of the match, and Phillips converted for a 24-0 interval lead.

Preseli kept playing with width and pace in the second half, and were rewarded with a third try for Williams, which Phillips converted for a 31-0 advantage.

Ystalyfera never gave in and came back with a well worked try in the corner, but Preseli dominated possession and territory to emerge as well-deserved winners.

Forwards Iwan Twigg, Josh Bridge, and Dafydd Gibby carried effectively and half-backs Stephen Varney and Ilan Phillips controlled the game with maturity.

One player who was unfortunately unable to play for Preseli in the final was full back Dean James, who was, however, selected for the initial Welsh U16s squad.

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