01 June 2019 / Club News

Match Report Malcom Thomas Cup

Malcolm Thomas Cup final
Canton 17-25 Fairwater
BY Carl Feild
FAIRWATER are celebrating their first piece of silverware for 15 years after beating Canton 25-17 at Penarth RFC to win the Worthington’s Malcolm Thomas Cup.
Michael Bratcher produced a captain’s try-scoring performance while centre pair Elliot Phillips and Thomas McAloon also crashed over. 
Outside half Liam Free kicked two conversions while McAloon also landed two penalties.
Chris Hann and Connor McGrath went over for Three East Central B champions Canton, who more than played their part in an entertaining final and were also awarded a late penalty try.
“It’s the first piece of silverware in our club for 15 years and I’m delighted, really proud,” said Fairwater head coach Brian Free after the win.
“We started well and I think took our foot of the pedal a little bit but, fair play to Canton, they came right back at us.
“Their scrummage was having the edge on us early on but I think, as the game went on, we got a little bit stronger in the scrum and took the sting out of their game.”
In what was a fast start from Fairwater, they were 14-0 up inside 10 minutes. Openside flanker Bratcher went over after some early pressure after only four minutes. 
They were over again moments later, this time Phillips touching down with Liam Free improving both scores from the tee.
Fairwater were nearly over for a third try on 14 minutes but McAloon’s pass to full-back Jack Evans just didn’t quite stick.
The came some the Canton pressure.
Wing Peter Hughes and centre Robbie McDermott were held up just short of the line, before pressure finally told and they forced their way over through loosehead prop Hann. The try went unconverted as Fairwater took a 14-5 lead into half time.
McAloon edged them further ahead with a penalty three minutes after the re-start before, on 57 minutes, Canton scored their second try through replacement McGrath, with the conversion missed by outside half Harry Grant. 
McAloon missed two more penalty opportunities before landing with his third attempt of the second half on 77 minutes.
Canton were awarded a penalty try to pull them back to within three points, but there was to be no spectacular comeback from Dai Manley’s Dervishes as, seconds later, wing Cian Hutchinson sent McAloon over for Fairwater’s third and final try.
Bratcher was then presented with the trophy by Amanda Thomas, account manager for Molson Coors as the celebrations began.
“It’s amazing and it has definitely been a long time coming,” said Bratcher.
“Fair play to Canton, they were one hell of an opposition and for us it’s nice to have something to show at the end of the season.”
With it now looking likely Fairwater will just be pipped by Cowbridge to the second promotion place in Three East Central A, coach Brian Free already has one eye on next season.
He said: “We’re probably just going to get pipped to it.
“It’s probably a lack of bonus points earlier on in the season, when we were just coming together as a new squad.
“There were a couple of games that were nip and tuck and we only just won; if we’d picked up a couple of bonus points, we’d be there I think.
“If we remain in Division Three, we’re going to target the WRU National Bowl next season, and look to have a run in the league again and, hopefully, finish in the top two for promotion.”
Canton: Tries: C Hann, C McGrath, Penalty try.
Fairwater: Tries: M Bratcher, E Phillips, T McAloon; Cons: L Free (2); Pens: T McAloon (2)

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