Photo by Ben Challis
The England Community Lions Under 17s claimed a thrilling late win over Wales in game two of the afternoon in Colwyn Bay thanks to some wonderful support play and speed from skipper and full-back Ryan Wood.
The game looked to be heading for a draw before Wood trailed the middle of the field, zipping through on a support run before rounding his opposite number to score from forty metres.
There was little between the teams throughout with some fierce defence from both sides keeping attackers quiet.
The Lions bossed the opening ten minutes of the game but couldn’t find their way past some resolute tackling, but at the other end it was a different story for Wales when a slight change of angle brought dividends for centre Harri Ackerman. Full-back Billy Walkley couldn’t convert.
England piled forward with some excellent work from the likes of Callum Beety and Jack Ainley and levelled on 26 minutes when Archie Halmshaw put a lovely pass the way of Jay Richards and the winger angled inside and spun past the attempted tackle to ground. A deceptive breeze took the conversion attempt of Connor Gannon away from the posts and it was 4-4.
Both sides continued to toil with Wales enjoying the better of the closing stages of the first half but some excellent tackling from the Lions kept them at bay and ensured it would remain deadlocked at half-time.
Three minutes into the new half the Lions scored a great try when Evan Stephenson dummied and surged to the line. This allowed halfback partner Gannon to goal and make it 10-4 to the visitors.
With halfback Lewis Pinder having an excellent game alongside Finley Yates Wales responded after 54 minutes. Pinder slid a pinpoint kick to the left of the posts and Scott Pritchard’s dive took him beyond Wood and into the points. Walkley converted to level the scores up again at 10-10.
Into the final few minutes, the game was still up for grabs, but just as the crowd started thinking about drop-goal attempts, Wood had other ideas with his dramatic finish under the posts. Gannon goaled.
With the clock running down, Wales had a final chance, but England again held them at bay to claim victory.