ALL GOLDS OUTGUNNED BY CHAMPIONS
BRISTOL ALL GOLDS 4 – 44 WESTS WARRIORS
Christopher Wilson at Oaklands
Wests Warriors showed their championship credentials with a fourth straight league win as they won a comfortable 44-4 victory over a brave but out-gunned Bristol All Golds side.
In a dominant first half, the Warriors crossed for six tries and had another disallowed as they played some fluent rugby league in the warm early summer sunshine. Their defence was on form as well with the All Golds struggling to gain yards when in possession.
Scrum half Jack Payne ran the show for the visitors, putting on a masterclass in how to play the position, scoring twice and having a hand in several other scores as the Warriors scored half a dozen tries in the first half.
To their credit, the All Golds made a decent fist of the second period applying pressure but without the cutting edge to earn a reward on the scoreboard. Mason Robbins finished an excellent move in the corner for their only score of the game, but they couldn’t cash in on any of the other chances they managed to create.
Payne finished the scoring with the Warriors’ ninth try of the game to maintain his side’s unbeaten record and leave the All Golds plenty to ponder for their next outing away to Hammersmith Hills Hoists next week.
The Bristol All Golds opened their home league campaign with a visit from the reigning champions Wests Warriors, who showed their pedigree with a comfortable 44-4 win in the early summer sunshine.
By a strange quirk of fate, the All Golds’ opponents in the last game played at Oaklands were the Warriors who emerged victorious by 46-12 in the play-off semi-final last season on their way to the title.
Having won two of their four away games, the All Golds went into the game missing four of their first choice pack but welcomed back Dylan Thomas and Dom Williams for their first games of the season.
Despite an unpredictable blustery wind lessening the heat a little, the game was played in four quarters and opened in frenetic fashion with both sides putting plenty of pace into their play.
The first opportunity came for the visitors who gained a set on the All Golds’ line but good defence out wide snuffed out the chance. However, it was a sign of things to come.
After nine minutes, Warriors’ scrum half, Jack Payne, who was outstanding for the visitors, made a break and fed Mitch Large who was stopped almost on the try-line. However, Payne was at dummy half to dive over the undefended line in the corner.
Finlay Langdale, who had a mixed day with the boot for the Warriors succeeding with only four of his nine attempts at goal, was unsuccessful with the extras.
Large then had a try disallowed for a forward pass before getting on the scoresheet with 16 minutes on the clock. Bojan Cecaric made good metres running back a kick and Payne supplied the final pass for the second row to go over, Langdale succeeding with the extras.
Play resumed after the water break and the Warriors quickly got on top to dominate possession for the rest of the half.
With twice as much ball, a side like the Warriors will take advantage and they did, scoring four more tries before the interval.
Payne’s kick to the wing came back through hands and a delightful, slipped pass sent Mitch Cairns-Nelson over, Langdale converting.
Ten minutes later, Large went over again after the All Golds had been penalised for a ball steal on their own try-line as the game became almost one of attack versus defence with the Warriors dominating possession.
With halftime approaching, Ryan Couch managed to extend an arm through tacklers to touch down under the posts and on the last play of the next set, Peter Henshall’s chip rebounded from a post into Chris Watkins’ hands for an easy, if slightly fortunate, score.
Langdale converted both tries for an interval lead of 32-0, leaving the All Golds a massive mountain to climb in the second period.
A half-time gee-up from Mike Harrison sent the All Golds out in a positive frame of mind for the second period, and when Langdale dropped a steepling kick from Darrion Ball, they had a chance for points.
However, after Adam Turner was held up over the line, the attack fizzled out with a high kick being caught by the wind and sailing over the dead-ball line.
The Warriors showed no such ineffectiveness. From the 20-metre restart, they stormed upfield, earned a penalty and Langdale fended off several tacklers to score an unconverted try in the corner.
The All Golds were then tackled in possession on the last play on the Warriors line before their next attack finally brought dividends.
Two penalties and two repeat sets on the Warriors line finally ended with Mason Robbins crashing over in the corner despite the efforts of two defenders. Owen Priest missed the difficult shot at goal and the players took on water before the final quarter of the game began.
From the restart, great hands gave Rohan Chatterjee space to get away down the wing and his inside pass found Ball who, with the line open was caught and had the ball knocked from his hands.
The Warriors immediately replied. Moving smoothly up the field, they pulled the home defence out of position and Henshall went over for a simple try.
Again, the All Golds responded by camping on the Warriors line for no reward, but again they simply couldn’t pin the visitors down in their own 20-metre area.
With ten minutes left, an excellent kick return from Langdale set up perfect field position for Payne to weave his magic, ghosting round defenders to score a fine individual try.
With the final act of the game, again camped on the Warriors line, the All Golds sent a high kick dead to bring down the curtain on a performance that was good in places but had plenty to work on for next week’s tough encounter away to Hammersmith Hills Hoists.
ALL GOLDS: Darrion Ball; Rohan Chatterjee, Mason Ball, Dom Williams, Henry Symons; Greg Hamilton, Jack Uren; Dylan Thomas, Owen Priest, Russ Preston; Morgan Lewis, Brandon Lamb (Capt); Mike Harrison; INTERCHANGE: Mason Robbins, Adam Turner, Mike Holden, Luke Bowyer.
Goals: Priest 0 from 1.
WARRIORS: Finlay Langdale; Bojan Cecaric, Adam Dack, James Robertson, Jack Metcalfe; Peter Henshall, Jack Payne; Ayden Foster, Jacob Ritchie, Dom Stock; Mitchell Cairns-Nelson, Mitchell Large; Chris Watkins; INTERCHANGE: Ben Yerby, Zeke Pitt, Ryan Couch, Chris Williams.
Tries: Payne (9, 71), Large (16, 30), Cairns-Nelson (20), Couch (37), Watkins (39), Langdale (46), Henshall (61)
Goals: Langdale 4 from 9.
All Golds player of the Match: Mason Ball had a strong game in both attack and defence for little reward in the game. He carried the ball strongly, attracting two or three defenders each time and his defence was solid when called upon.
Scoring sequence: 0-4, 0-10, 0-16, 0-20, 0-26, 0-32, (HT), 0-36, 4-36, 4-40, 4-44, (FT)
Penalty Count: 6-3
Referee: Malcolm Holmes