Coleg y Cymoedd missed out on a third successive WRU College League title, and fifth overall, after losing to Coleg Gwent in the Final at Sardis Road on Tuesday night.
The Cardiff Blues development pathway side had finished top of the league in the regular season, finishing with 11 wins and a draw from their games, beating their Final opponents back in late October 24-12.
However, this games was a very different affair as gale force wind and rain would severely disrupt proceedings, as evidenced when Gwent fly-half Joe Westwood’s early penalty attempt was blown wide of the posts.
Cymoedd fly-half Tyler Morris had no such issues a few minutes later though, after his side had earned a penalty following number eight Ryan Jenkins’ big carry into opposition territory, but despite dominating possession and territory they just could not turn points into pressure.
An excellent kicking from hand game saw Morris, scrum-half Harvey Nash and even hooker Corben Evans pin Gwent inside their own 22, but each time they were able to exit cleanly or a Cymoedd handling error would see the ball turned over.
The side from the Dragons development pathway even managed to escape their own territory on the half-hour mark and Westwood did get them on the scoreboard this time after a high tackle was penalised.
In the end Cymoedd had to wait until the stroke of half-time to finally get their try, and did so in controversial circumstances as Westwood kicked cross-field for Gwent but appeared to be taken out with a shoulder charge by flanker Alex Mann.
The referee played on though and the kick landed in the arms of Cymoedd left winger Cavan Davies would turned on the after burners to beat two men and score a brilliant 60 metre individual try.
Morris could not convert but an 8-3 lead at half-time was deserved for Cymoedd, who would play with the wind in the second half.
That started in much the same way the first half played out with Cymoedd full-back Cameron Winnett the man to push the ball into the Gwent 22 this time, and when a penalty was won his team wasted no time kicking to the corner.
A smart lineout move saw the ball move back to the front of the set piece and be returned to replacement hooker Efan Daniels but he could not quite power over in the corner, being pushed into touch a yard short.
On the back of that Gwent were able to push out from their own 22 and a smart break saw them earn a penalty for a deliberate knock on which was kicked into the corner. Unlike their opponents they made no mistake with their field position and got the driving maul working well with Joe Peard the man to benefit.
Westwood couldn’t convert but then Gwent were on the receiving end of some good luck with the refereeing as Cymoedd were harshly adjudged to have taken out the kicker late when trying to charge him down, seeing a penalty marked well up field and in kickable range.
It was Westwood again who extended the lead by three points and then kicked a superb drop goal to move six points ahead, something which would be crucial as Cymoedd attacked in the dying minutes seemingly aware they needed to make any possible conversion as easy as possible.
Once again though the Gwent defence held strong and they became worthy champions, only the third team to life the WRU College League trophy after Cymoedd and Coleg Sir Gar.
For Cymoedd the disappointment was evident in losing the only game of the season in the Final, but it’s been another excellent campaign for the squad, and from a Cardiff Blues perspective the future is bright with five of the matchday 23 signed up to Academy contracts and a number of others in the U18 squad this season.