Swans Win South West Division U17 Shield
Swans U17s travelled to Trowbridge for the final of the South West Division U17 Shield after an outstanding performance two weeks ago when they
overcome a good Exmouth side to win the Semi Final. Today they were up against a well supported St Austell squad who'd made the long journey from Cornwall with high expectations. However, Swans proved yet again what a good side they are, producing a gutsy and committed performance to secure victory and qualify for the National Semi Final against the London and South East Division Shield winners in two weeks time. One more victory and the side could compete for the National U17s shield in the Final at the A J Bell stadium, which is the home of the premiership side Sale Sharks.
Swans started the stronger and played some excellent rugby in the opening exchanges and were quickly rewarded with a penalty which Stephen Woolley converted to go 3 points up. St Austell were quick to level the score with their own penalty. Swans again upped the tempo and after some good surges from the forwards Steve Woolley was quick to spot a gap around the side of a ruck and went over from around 15 metres out for a well taken try. The conversion was narrowly missed. St Austell pressed Swans line for most of the remainder of the first half and despite good defence eventually scored through a well organised driving maul. The scores were level at eight points each at half time and whilst St Austell were beginning to look more dangerous the wind would now be at Swans back and this proved to be a big factor as St Austell could not exert any sustained pressure on the Swans line.
As they did in the first half Swans started the second half looking the stronger side and Steve Woolley slotted another penalty to take an 11 - 8 lead. About midway through the second half Finn Watkins ran a superb line outside Swans fly half Barnaby Knibb to go over untouched. Woolley added the conversion to extend the lead to 18 points to 8. St Austell threw everything at Swans, but the Purbeck boys showed how resilient they are with some fantastic defence to keep a clean sheet in the second half.
This was an outstanding effort from every one of the 15 man squad of Swans who had been depleted by some late call offs. The commitment from all was impressive and in particular the work rate of the Swans back row trio of Finn Watkins, Arthur Cordwell and George Parr who generated numerous turnovers. Special mention also to all the U16s who stepped up an age group and put in performances they can be proud of.
Swans: Miles Ferguson, Lewis Allen, Will Aspinal, Charlie Joynt, Finn Hall, Arthur Cordwell, George Parr, Stephen Woolley, Barnaby Knibb, Callum Smith, Tom Berry, Charlie Lush, Conrad Phillips, Jacob Cumming
Tries: Stephen Woolley, Finn Watkins
Penalties: Stephen Woolley 2
Conversions: Stephen Woolley