Wattstown beat Rhondda rivals Penygraig in Worthington’s Cup final

Written by on 20th May 2024

Wattstown bagged the Rhondda derby bragging rights as they defeated 14-man Penygraig to lift the Worthington’s Mid District Division Three Cup at Sardis Road.

Penygraig had won both league meetings between the rival clubs in Division Three East Central this season, but this time it was the Ducks who came out on top.

Hooker Corey Jones, number eight Mackenzie Williams, inside centre Danny Connolly and skipper Matthew Lewis scored the tries.

Lewis added three conversions and five penalties for a 26-point personal haul.

However the final scoreline might have been closer had it not been for a red card shown to Graig prop Llew Coleman just two minutes into the final.

The win for Wattstown was the perfect send off for coach Ian Swannack, with this set to be his final season as he steps down to spend more time with the family.

Swannack led the Ducks to promotion from Division Four East Central last season and has overseen a sixth placed finish in the division above this term. Opponents Penygraig finished in fourth spot.

“Before the game, I said to the boys I genuinely believed I felt we were capable of it,” said Swannack talking about his side’s margin of victory in the final.

“We’re a much better side than we’ve shown at this season, we’ve been really unlucky with injuries, but every team can say that.

“To be honest I was a little bit disappointed with the two results in the league games; the last game at home was literally the last play of the game, so I think we definitely owed them.

“I believed in the boys – and they proved me right.

“It’s our first season in Division Three and we were comfortable so we’ve got to be happy. We had some really big results this season and we’ve topped it off with a final win and a cup.”

Swannack though did concede that the early sending off for their opponents changed the game.

In what was a full bloodied start from both sides, they came to blows after a coming together with the game less than three minutes old and Wattstown on the attack. After the resulting melee, Graig tighthead Coleman was sent off, while Wattstown lock David Smith received a yellow card.

A flurry of further sin-binnings followed in what was a breathless first half. Three successful penalty goal attempts from Lewis against one from opposite number Owain Davies put Wattstown 9-3 in front – before they took full control of the final.

Jones, Mackenzie Williams and Connolly all crossed the whitewash in the first half for Wattstown, who led 31-6 at the break with Lewis adding two conversions and another penalty. Davies kicked a second penalty for Graig.

Penygraig pulled a score back through blindside flanker Alex Williams in the second half, converted by Davies, but it was ultimately scant consolation – as Lewis put the crowning glory for the win for Wattstown when he ran through for their fourth try.

He also converted before sending over his fifth penalty.

“The boys have worked so hard the last few weeks and this win is massive,” added Wattstown team manager Jamie Langmead.

“It was our day and you can see from the crowd just how good the support is that we’ve got. Hopefully this will kick us on now into next season.”

The match is part of a revamped format this season, with the old Worthington’s Mid District Cup and Bowl finals replaced by five new Worthington’s Mid District Cup divisional finals. The matches are being played over two ‘Worthy Weekends’ at Sardis Road, home of Pontypridd RFC – incorporating two Friday nights and two Saturdays – rather than in midweek as was the case previously.

Sold as a ‘festival of community rugby’, the two weekends also feature women’s and junior matches.

Mid District Cup Final – Div 3
Penygraig RFC v Wattstown RFC
Mandatory Credit ©ReplayImages/Mike Jones

Talking about the new concept introduced this year, Mid District Rugby Union president Gareth Davies said: “We held discussions, pre-season, with Dylan Jones, former coach of Ystrad Rhondda and Colin Smith of Molson Coors, to explore and refresh the Mid District Cup and Bowl competitions.

“We came up with a solution that’s a cross between the WRU ‘Road to Principality’ and results of league fixtures between the Mid District’s clubs within their respective divisions.”

Martin Anderson, Molson Coors’ Regional Director, added:

“We are delighted to see how the committee has grasped the need for change, securing the future of the prestigious Mid District Cups and applaud them for their resolute hard work and dedication.

“The new format this season has generated renewed interest in the competition, giving an opportunity for all clubs to compete at an equal level within their division.”

Mid District Cup Final – Div 3
Penygraig RFC v Wattstown RFC
Mandatory Credit ©ReplayImages/Mike Jones

Written by Carl Field. 

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