photo by Paul Hart
The Bridgend Blue Bulls will face Blackwood Bulldogs in the Wales Grand Final on Friday night after a 48-28 victory over reigning Champions the Valley Cougars at Porthcawl RFC.
The Cougars got off to the best start after break from centre Hywel Lloyd resulted in former Celtic Crusader Phil Cushion crashing over, and Carl Thomas added the extras to put the visitors 6-0 up.
But the Blue Bulls were soon back on level terms when some great passing from David James and Nathan Hawkins resulted in Jamie Murphy crossing and he converted his own try to bring the scores level.
Some great defending then stopped Cushion from claiming a second and the Cougars were then punished when another flowing move saw Murphy claim a second try and he again converted to make it 12-6.
Bridgend then wasted the opportunity to go even further ahead quickly taking a penalty in front of the posts and immediately knocking on, and then a Cougars attack resulted in second row John Sanigar scoring and Paul Emanuelli converted to again bring the scores level.
But just before the break Jamie Murphy again worked his magic racing away for a superb solo try to claim a great hat-trick and his third goal gave him and his team an 18-12 half time lead.
Blue Bull Craig Fox and Paul Emanuelli of the Cougars exchanged early tries at the start of the second half with the visitors adding the goal to make it 22-18 but the turning point came in the 50th minute when on the final tackle some great play
from Chris McGrath, Michael John and Tylon Mafi put Christiaan Roets over in the corner and moments later Mafi went on a superb run handing off four would-be tacklers before sending wing Michael John racing under the posts and Murphy’s fourth goal put the home side 32-18 up.
Centre David James then clamed his fifth try in four games and another Murphy goal put Bridgend 20 points clear.
In a frantic last 10 minutes Cougars prop Mark Jones scored twice either side of a try for Lloyd O’Connor to bring the score to 44-28 before the final say of the game went to Blue Bulls wing Chris McGrath who raced over the line after a great break from Michael John.
The Blue Bulls will now go forward to play the Blackwood Bulldogs in the Wales Grand Final on Friday night at Caerphilly RFC.
After the game Blue Bulls coach Jon Purnell said “I am delighted with the performance, everyone gave 100% and it was the best we have played all season. Due to injuries and Union call ups we had guys playing in unfamiliar positions but everyone played well and we scored some lovely tries“
Bridgend Blue Bulls:
Jamie Murphy (3)
Jamie Murphy (6)
Mark Jones (2)
Paul Emanuelli (3)
article by Simon Green
17 August 2009