This was Gogledd Cymru’s most competitive performance to date. In terrible conditions, which resulted in the venue being switched from Rumney RFC to the neighbouring University playing grounds, the two teams took to the field in torrential rain.
Wales Deaf, the current Deaf Rugby World Champions, fresh from a recent 66-7 win against their English counterparts, took the lead with a try by number eight Adam Brake who drove over from 5 metres. Converted by outside half Richard Lewis, Wales looked to build on their lead. However astute positional kicking by Gogledd Cymru outside half Mathew Parry ensured they were pinned in their own half for long periods.
On 34 minutes, Wales Deaf centre Gareth John took advantage of forward pressure inside the North Wales 22 to slot a well taken drop goal and extend the lead to 10 – 0. Two minutes before the break, indiscretion at a ruck by Wales Deaf allowed Gogledd Cymru to register points on the board with Parry kicking the penalty.
After the break, Gogledd Cymru started brightly; probing close to the Wales Deaf try line. With the hosts on the back foot and the Gogs threatening to break through, great anticipation by Wales Deaf centre John saw him race away for an opportunist interception try. Outside half Richard Lewis converted from in front of the posts. Down 17 – 3 after 46 minutes Gogledd Cymru continued to pressurise when young second row Llion Trefor gathered a poor defensive kick and crashed over for a try.
Encouraged by the 17-8 score line, Gogledd Cymru continued to press with outside half Rhodri Carlton controlling matters at 10. Despite some strong running and good interplay from the Gogs, with Rhys Hughes, and Llion Trefor outstanding, the host’s defence held up. With 5 minutes left on the clock, outside half Lewis sealed the victory with a blind side break to slide over in the corner.
Geraint John, team manager for Wales Deaf said: “At times, the conditions proved difficult for both sides and Gogledd Cymru provided us with a stern test. They came back strongly and enjoyed long periods in our half thanks to some good tactical kicking and a sound lineout. We look forward to a return fixture in North Wales next season. This fixture will give us the momentum to further help the development of deaf rugby in Wales.”
The Wales Deaf rugby team are the present Deaf Rugby World Champions having defeated New Zealand at the inaugural 2002 World Cup in Eden Park, Auckland. Players representing the team have an average hearing loss of 25dB across both ears.
Wales Deaf
Tries (3), Adam Brake (Rumney RFC), Gareth John (Tonna RFC) and Richard Lewis (Tonna RFC)
Conversion (2), Richard Lewis (Dunvant)
Drop Goal (1), Gareth John (Tonna RFC)
North Wales
Tries (1), Llion Trefor (Bethesda RFC)
Penalty (1), Mathew Parry (Llangefni RFC)