Dragons League Cup Final

Monmouth Druids 28 Bedwas Barbarians 31

MONMOUTH RFC's 2nd XV - the Druids - came agonisingly close to winning the Dragons League Cup in thefinal at Rodney Parade, Newport, against Bedwas Barbarians, reports STUART PATERSON.

The Druids boys did the town immensely proud as they pushed their Championship opponents’ second string all the way.  

A slow start saw the Druids fall behind to two tries in the first 12 minutes and it was looking ominous, but then a thumping tackle by Adam Roberts led to Bedwas dropping the ball, which was scooped up by winger Joe Parks who sprinted from halfway to dive spectacularly into the corner for the opening score.

Wing Joe Parks stoops to dive in for his and the Druids opening try. Photo: Stuart Paterson.
Wing Joe Parks stoops to dive in for his and the Druids opening try. Photo: Stuart Paterson. (Stuart Paterson)

A penalty from fly-half Rhys Evans followed and then he was the creator of an excellent try for his inside centre Joe Impey.

Following a 'show and go' Evans darted through a gap before drawing a defender and offloading to his supporting colleague.

Impey still had work to do after being tackled five metres out, but used his strength to drag himself across the line at the posts for Evans to convert.

The Druids were now in the ascendency and following a further transgression, Evans kicked his second penalty to give the Druids an 18-12 lead.

However the Monmouth side couldn't hang on, and following a series of penalties, Bedwas crossed at the posts for a converted try to take a slender one-point lead into the break.

Bob Prewett had encouraging words for his Druids team
Bob Prewett had encouraging words for his Druids team. Photo: Stuart Paterson (Stuart Paterson)

The second half continued in much the same vein, with more defending for the Druids to do, and often deep in their own half.

This was a resolute and lung-busting effort and they held out for long periods, until a driving lineout proved just too much to withhold.

Midway through the second half, and with just one score between the teams, came the game's decisive moment.

With the Druids attacking close to the line the ball was spilled and Bedwas full back Tristan Kugler gathered, before sidestepping and sprinting the entire length of the field for a converted try to stretch his team’s lead to 31-18.

It was desperately unlucky for the Druids, and even more so that it fell to the best player on the pitch, who is clearly capable of playing at a much higher level.

This meant the Druids needed two converted tries to win and to their immense credit they pounded away, and got their just rewards, when full back Dan Hardy crossed in the 74th and 78th minutes.

The tries were both scored wide out and unfortunately the conversion attempts went wide. 

And as the final whistle sounded there was palpable relief for the winners.

Despite a fantastic effort by the Druids, they were left empty handed, but can reflect on an excellent season where they were also runners up to the same opponents in the League. 

Credit to the Druids’ Team Manager Bob Prewett and all those involved, who can look forward to next season with great anticipation.