Schools' rich fly-half traditions are going strong
GOWERTON School's 1st XV fell to a 20-8 home defeat to Ysgol Bro Myrddin in their first home game of the Welsh Schools' Senior League.
Both schools have a strong tradition of producing talented fly-halves, with Gowerton old boys including Ospreys stars Dan Biggar and Sam Davies, while Stephen Jones and Rhys Priestland both graduated from the Carmarthen school.
The spotlight fell on the two fly-halves on show and neither disappointed, with Bro Myrddin's Steffan Dafydd showing his talent as an elusive runner, while Gowerton's Matthew Protheroe gave plenty of evidence that his passing and vision were of the highest order.
Gowerton kicked off in conditions well suited to open, running rugby and it was the visitors, led by powerful prop Steffan Phillips, who were first to threaten.
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With fly-half Dafydd orchestrating play well, they were quickly on the scoreboard in the fourth minute when full-back Josh Watson burst away from the cover and crossed in the corner for the opening try.
Gowerton were well served at scrum-half by Jonny Lloyd and his excellent kicking from the base of the contact area enabled the hosts to establish an attacking platform.
When Bro Myrddin were penalised for offside in their 22 in the 12th minute, centre Sam Evans stepped up to convert the penalty.
Bro Myrddin's pack began to get the upper hand in the contact area and it was no surprise when captain Phillips powered over from short range in the 16th minute.
The fact they didn't increase that lead before half-time was down to the excellent defence of the hosts, for whom full-back Ross Young, wing Rob James, lock Will Bromham and prop Sam Grunhut were all to the fore.
Early in the second half, Bro Myrddin crossed for a third time when fly-half Dafydd scored beneath the posts for a try he converted himself.
But Gowerton showed real character and, with the back row of Rhys Cherry, Morgan Curtis and Sam Pridgeon all prominent, they took the game to the visitors.
Centres Evans and Luke Jenkins and full-back Young were all denied a try by last-ditch tackles before they scored the best try of the match.
Clean line-out ball was won on halfway and Protheroe's long pass allowed centre Jenkins to get outside his opposite number. His speed took him clear of the cover and he committed the last defender before giving wing James a clear run to the corner.
Bro Myrddin had the final say when centre Edward Evans crossed in the corner and, although Gowerton pushed for another score, it was the visitors who ended as deserving winners.
The hosts, however, could take a lot of credit for the quality of their performance.
Gowerton's next game is against Australian tourists Mater Maria Catholic College from Sydney.
The game kicks off at Gowerton RFC at 5pm on Monday.