In perfect conditions on a mild Saturday February morning at Llandovery, the Christ College v Llandovery College match first played in 1879, returned to full status after last year’s 125th match against a Llandovery Development XV. The reasons for the pause in fixtures are well known, but both Heads felt that the time was right to revive the match. You can read more context on this in Huw Thomas’s article in the Brecon & Radnor.
Saturday’s match was something of a classic. Played at full throttle, it fully justified the revival of this ancient fixture. Given the 144 year history of the fixture there are always some interesting facts and statistics. It was noteworthy this year that the Christ College team included the son (Rhys Pearson) of the current Head, Gareth Pearson, the grandson (Oliver Jones) of former Head Phil Jones (1997-07), and the grandson (Matthew Price) of a former member of staff, Robin W Lewis (1964-88).
A tense, scoreless first 25 mins was very evenly matched with both sides making occasional nervous errors. Llandovery broke the deadlock with an unconverted try from their left wing. Christ College responded quickly with Gethin O’Callaghan going over in the corner after a typically powerful run. The was beautifully converted by Jack Perrins from out wide. At half time it was 5-7 to Christ College and all to play for. The second half ebbed and flowed with no side gaining real ascendancy. Llandovery made it 12-7 after 55 mins with a try and conversion; Christ College hit back with a try by Ewan McIntyre after powerful play by the forwards. Throughout the match the Christ College second row of Harry Holden and Ewan McIntyre made hard yards and proved a real handful. A Llandovery penalty and try late in the game seemed to seal it but Matt Price scored a brilliant, individual breakaway try under the posts which looked to see Christ College home. With one minute to go the score was 19-18 to Christ College. Sadly, Christ College could not close it out, and despite desperate defence, powerful work by the Llandovery forwards saw them go over from close range at the death and seal the win 25-19.
This was a great match played in a hard and fair way with no ground given on either side. Christ College were bitterly disappointed at the end, and will be desperate to make amends next year. Congratulations to Llandovery College on their win and we look forward to welcoming them to Christ College next year.
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