Two young Hoppers 1st XV players were involved in Myerscough College’s heartbreaking BCS Cup Final defeat to Coleg Sir Gar. Mike Haley and Phil Mills had been part of the team that lead for nearly 80 minutes only to be denied by a last gap try. The report below is provided by Myerscough.
Teams: Myerscough College (Sale Sharks AASE) vs. Coleg Sir Gar (Llanelli Scarletts AASE)
Fixture: British Colleges Sport (BCS) Elite Cup Final
Details: Kick Off 2:00pm on 2nd May 2012 at Worcester Warriors Sixways Stadium
On Wednesday 2nd May 2012, Myerscough College’s Rugby Academy 1st Team (Sale Sharks AASE Academy), travelled to Sixways Stadium, home of Premiership side Worcester Warriors, to take on Coleg Sir Gar (Llanelli Scarletts Academy) in the final of the British Colleges Sport (BCS) Elite Cup Rugby Union Final.
Myerscough got off to a dream start as Captain Eddie Webster finished off a superb 30 yard run to score Myerscough’s first try of the game under the posts, with only 1 minute on the clock. Kicker Ally Addy converted to give Myerscough an early 7-0 lead.
Minutes later and Myerscough won their first penalty of the game. Kicking to touch, the resulting lineout gave Myerscough’s backs quick ball. Myerscough’s Hooker Phil Mills produced the first in a series of strong carries to gain early territory for a rampaging Myerscough side.
Myerscough’s early pressure resulted in the award of a second penalty, this time within range for Myerscough’s kicker Ally Addy, who narrowly missed wide to the right of the posts. Winning a second penalty in as many minutes, this time it was England U18’s Mike Haley who took over kicking duties, but again Myerscough were denied after Haley’s kick rebounded off the posts. Two missed penalties in the opening minutes which would prove costly later in the game.
On 15 minutes, Myerscough Fullback Tim Jeffers ran over the Scarletts line for what appeared to be their second try, only to be cancelled out for a forward pass in the build-up. Myerscough were now firmly in the ascendancy. Mike Haley picked up as Prop Forward Connor McGrath was dragged down 10 metres short of the Welsh line. Haley demonstrated great strength to brush off one tackle then a second to dive over for the score from close range. An easy conversion in front of the posts stretched Myerscough’s early lead to 14-0.
Coleg Sir Gar opened their account after a successful penalty conversion narrowed Myerscough’s lead to 14-3. However Myerscough’s dominance continued for the remaining 10 minutes of the first half, and despite a string of chances and strong ball carries from Myerscough’s Orisi Nawaqaliva, Connor McGrath and Oliver Parkinson, no further points were added to the scoreboard and Myerscough went in at half time with a 14-3 lead.
As Myerscough came out for the second half they were only 35 minutes away from winning the crown of BCS Elite Cup Champions 2012. In the opening 10 minutes Coleg Sir Gar pressed hard and a string of lineouts in the Myerscough half forced the Lancashire pack on the back foot. Myerscough looked determined not to let their opposition back into the game, as a breakaway run from the Welsh winger was stopped by a magnificent saving tackle from Myerscough Scrum Half Will Batterbury.
12 minutes in and the Coleg Sir Gar pack produced an impressive rolling maul from 20 yards out to hand the Welsh side their first try of the game, narrowing Myerscough’s lead to 14-8. Myerscough immediately hit back however, scoring their third try from a well-rehearsed catch and drive routine. Myerscough’s forwards executed the move with power and precision allowing Flanker Alfie Horton to bundle the ball over from close range. A successful conversion from Ally Addy stretched Myerscough’s lead to 21-8.
With 15 minutes left to play the match turned sour for the first time, as a Coleg Sir Gar winger received a yellow card and 10 minutes in the Sin Bin for a highly cynical and dangerous stamp to the chest of Myerscough’s Connor McGrath.
With 10 minutes left Myerscough’s defence was being tested to the extreme. Pinned down in their half, Myerscough’s pack put their bodies on the line to repel their opponents attacking moves. Coleg Sir Gar needed two converted tries in 5 minutes to overhaul Myerscough’s lead – a challenge that looked all but impossible until 4 minutes from time, when the Welsh side scored under the posts to narrow Myerscough’s lead to just 6 points at 21- 15.
With just 30 seconds left on the clock, Sir Gar attacked again down the right wing. Their substitute winger picked up the ball just short of the half way line. The winger skipped one desperate tackle with only Myerscough’s fullback standing between him and glory for his side. The Welsh winger cut back inside and brushed off the tackle to score under the posts. An easy conversion in the dying seconds handed the lead to the Welsh side for the first time in 75 minutes of breathless rugby.
Losing the game 22-21 in the dying minutes was incredibly cruel. Myerscough produced a magnificent performance in both defence and attack, probably their best of the season, and deserved the win and BCS crown. For many in the Myerscough side it will be the last time they play together as a team and the victory would have been a fitting way to end their time together. Despite the cruel defeat, Myerscough should hold their heads high and be proud of their performance.