Valley Cougars lost their Conference South title as they lost 39-16 to Nottingham Outlaws in the final at Treharris RFC on September 19.
Persistent offending meant the Cougars were their own worst enemies and for eight minutes in the second half they were down to 10 men after two red cards and a sin-bin.
Some good early play from the Cougars gave them a couple of chances but neither were taken. Marcus Webb’s bomb was picked up by Dan Davies but he was short of the line, as he was again in the next set of six.
But Nottingham scored from their first attack when John Christie forced his way over from acting half. Dan Smith converted.
Davies was again denied at the other end before performing heroics, catching Adrian Chaima on a 100 metre charge and forcing him into touch.
Nottingham extended their lead on 18 minutes when Jimmy Goodwin scored in the corner. Smith’s kick made the score 12-0.
Cougars’ attacks continued to come to nothing. Ben Jones picked up superbly but was held short and Davies failed to cut inside and was pushed into touch.
Nottingham made them pay and Chaima made no mistake from his next length of the field burst, scoring underneath the sticks and Smith converting.
Cougars didn’t give up and a clever move, started by Marcus Webb, could have resulted in a try, but Lewis Phillips dropped a tricky off-load as he was close to the line.
Five minutes before the interval they finally broke through when Craig Lewis scored a well-taken try in the corner as he pushed off three markers. Ben Jones’ kick was wide.
Cougars scored again in the last play before half-time when Mike Hurley broke through. Ben Jones converted.
However, the Welsh side’s attempt to get back into the game took their first downfall when Dan Davies was given a yellow card for persistent offending, turning into a red for talking back.
Outlaws made them pay when George Strachan broke through the middle and Smith converted to make the score 24-10.
Gethin King then went to the bin leaving the Cougars with 11 on the field and Nottingham were straight over through Goodwin. A further yellow, which again turned into red, immediately followed, as Lewis’ departure left the Cougars, at least temporarily, with 10 men.
Against the odds, player coach Dafydd Hellard led from the front and scored the next time Cougars touched the ball. Marcus Webb converted to put the Cougars back to within 12 points.
The numbers game was always going to tell and Nottingham were next on the board as Chaima had the room to score under the sticks. Calland converted to make the score 34-16.
A Paul Calland drop goal followed for the Outlaws but, back to 11 men, but the gutsy Cougars looked for another try back and almost got one but Hellard was held up over the line on the last tackle of a set.
Again the numbers game told for Nottingham as Adam Cunliffe found himself almost unmarked to rub salt into the Cougars’ wounds. Calland missed the kick but it mattered not as Nottingham ran out 39-16 winners.