By Ian Golden at Glamorgan Wanderers
Valley Cougars remain unbeaten and top the WRL Premier League table, but it wasn’t without a scare and a tough battle from Cardiff Blue Dragons in a game that finished 32-18 on Wednesday evening.
Cardiff fielded six players from their under 17 squad, all of whom gave a good account of themselves against more experienced opposition.
The home side were looking to avenge their defeat to the Cougars a few days earlier and they made the best possible start when a Duane Iles try gave them an early 4-0 lead.
Cougars levelled straight away. Liam Watton going over in the corner to make it 4-4 before a Kane Harris try, again unconverted, gave Cardiff the lead back.
Lee Goddard scored at the other end to make it 8-8 then a Craig Lewis try gave the Cougars the lead for the first time.
Shane Lee then increased their lead by scoring under the sticks with Mike Hurley landing his first goal of the evening. Lewis quickly followed him over for his second of the game with Hurley again converting.
Cardiff got back into the game just before the interval through an unconverted Kyle Rose try bringing the score back to 24-12 to the Cougars.
Defences were up in the first half of the second half with neither side giving way and exchanging a number of penalties. Finally, just before the hour mark, Dan Davies found a gap to increase Cougars’ lead.
Cardiff weren’t finished yet. Josh Palmer picked up a rebound to dive over. Kyle Rose kicked the goal to bring the score back to 28-18.
But the Cougars cemented the game when Liam Watton broke through for another unconverted Cougars try.
Both sides now have home games on Saturday, with Valley Cougars hosting Torfaen Tigers in a top of the table clash at Treharris RFC (kick-off 2.30pm) and Cardiff Blue Dragons back at Glamorgan Wanderers where Rhondda Outlaws are the visitors (kick-off 2pm).
Cougars captain Scott Britton knows that his side are in for a tough game against the Tigers especially after being tested so well against Cardiff.
He said: “Because we’re playing two games a week for the rest of the season, we’re getting into a new routine and I think we’ll cope well. We’re looking forward to facing everyone at home and every game’s a must-win for us, we don’t see it any other way.”
Cardiff coach Ben Thomas said: “I’m proud of how we performed on Wednesday especially as we had so many young players. We may have lost at home for the first time this season against the Cougars, but we want to make Memorial Ground our fortress again. We’re positive about the visit of Rhondda Outlaws on Saturday.”
The final Premier League game on Saturday sees West Wales Raiders take on Bridgend Blue Bulls at Trimsaren RFC where both teams will be desperate for the points to be able to finish in the top four semi-final positions. Kick-off is 2pm with an under 13 game between the two sides preceding it.
PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE P W L D PF PA DIFF BNS PTS
1 Valley Cougars 6 6 0 0 280 74 206 0 12
2 Torfaen Tigers 7 4 3 0 238 214 24 0 8
3 Bridgend Blue Bulls 7 4 3 0 242 252 -10 0 6
4 Cardiff Blue Dragons 7 2 5 0 174 274 -100 0 4
5 West Wales Raiders 4 2 2 0 136 110 26 0 2
6 Rhondda Outlaws 5 0 5 0 114 260 -146 0 0
-2: West Wales Raiders (Fielding unregistered player)
-2: Bridgend Blue Bulls (Fielding unregistered player)
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