Champions Ystalyfera get set to order up a double
PROMOTED Ystalyfera are gearing up for the final hurdle of a long and successful season as they get ready for tomorrow night’s West Wales Cup final against Glynneath at Ystradgynlais RFC (7.30pm).
The Swansea Valley side already have the One West Central trophy in their cabinet and will be playing their rugby in the WRU National Championship next season after beating One West champions Felinfoel in a promotion play-off.
Gareth James’s side are bidding to retain the cup they won last year, also against Felinfoel. It is 1-1 between them and Glynneath after the two league meetings this season.
However, there will be no treble for Ystalyfera.
They were unable to add more silverware last Saturday as they were beaten 18-12 by Nantyffyllon in the final of the High Motive Glamorgan County Silver Ball at Bridgend’s Morganstone Brewery Field.
It was the club’s first Silver Ball final, but they were severely weakened due to the fact it clashed with an end-of-season tour to Benidorm and most of their firstchoice players were unavailable.
Outside-half and head coach James said: “I think we had 10 changes from the starting team against Felinfoel the Sunday before, which is a lot for us with such a small squad.
“We still should have won it I thought but, in fairness to Nantyffyllon, they just wanted it that little bit more.
“We had a few boys who haven’t played for a couple of years and a few permits in.
“It’s a credit to the boys who came in. They haven’t really trained with us and to just a throw a team together for a final isn’t ideal.
“We asked to change the date but there was no moving it because the ground had been booked.
“I still think we had enough to win it, but it just wasn’t to be.”
Ystalyfera had beaten Nantyffyllon 49-14 in the first round of the WRU National Plate at the end of September but this was always going to be a tighter affair.
Outside-half Drew Price kicked Nantyffyllon in front midway through the first half, but the first try went to Fera No. 8 and captain Steffan Jones on 36 minutes, converted by Steff Castle.
But back came Nant with a try a minute before the break scored by wing Owen Lyons, which was converted by Price for a 10-7 halftime lead.
With Fera scrum-half Zac Beynon in the sin-bin, Nant extended their lead six minutes after the restart when flanker Ross Boast ran through for his side’s second try, which this time went unconverted.
Castle’s try on 69 minutes gave Fera hope but Price’s second penalty four minutes from time bagged Nant the Silver Ball for the first time in their history in what was their third final.
The Llynfi Valley club were runners-up in 1971 and 1985.
It also capped a fine season that has also seen them win promotion to division one after they finished second in Two West Central.
Ystalyfera will now look to finish on a high tomorrow night when they will welcome back the players who missed the Silver Ball final, while they already have one eye on next season.
“It’s been a really long month for us,” added James.
“We’re definitely targeting the West Wales now. That and promotion we’d have taken at the start of the year, obviously. The league was our main goal.
“We’ve got young boys in the team and myself and Andy (Llewellyn) are ambitious coaches as well, so we’re looking forward to going up to the Championship.
“We’ll be bringing a few boys in, which we’ve already done for next year, so hopefully we’ll have a good year.”
Trimsaran wing Callum McCormack touches down against Llandeilo.