7 RGC1404 - 31 TONMAWR

A good crowd at Parc Eirias saw RGC 1404 take on Welsh Premiership newcomers Tonmawr. In a game which saw the visitors start the brighter of the two sides, RGC responded well, improving throughout the game. This was reflected in the score; 12-0 in the first half, 19-7 in the second - final score 31-7.
After an early wake-up call, in which only some resolute defending kept Tonmawr at bay, RGC responded well. A well stolen line-out followed by a precise kick by fly-half Michael Raikes allowed the Caernarfon “gasman” Dylan Owen to pressurise the Tonmawr back three. RGC maintained the pressure, winning a kickable penalty on the visitors 22, but Raikes was unable to capitalise.
Tonmawr recognised that this would be no stroll in the park. Their physical forwards showed organisation, to drive over for the afternoons first five pointer. Hooker, Darryl Harvey was the beneficiary of the eight man effort. No. 10, Andrew Williams put the conversion just wide.
RGC regrouped and once again found strong field position before Tonmawr were penalised for infringing at ruck time. Raikes, who didn’t seem to have his kicking boots on and pulled the penalty just wide.
Tonmawr were in a clinical mood and were rewarded with a second try. Good play from their backs resulted in a try for wing Steff James. Williams converted from near the touchline with a superb drop kick.
RGC continued to plug away at their more experienced counterparts, with quick breaks from the backs. They were unlucky not to score when Pwllheli flanker, Harri Parri pounced, after the ball popped out of a scrum on the Tonmawr five metre line. There good breaks by Rhyl centre Kriss Wilkes and hooker Andrew Baston, but big hits by the South Walian defence kept RGC at bay.
At the break, Clive Griffiths’ men must have heard encouraging words. They flew out of the blocks in the second-half, but lacked the clinical touch that will surely come as this new team takes shape.
As the initial RGC adrenalin rush slowed, Tonmawr capitalised, scoring three further tries through full-back, Gareth John and substitutes Ieuan Dobbs and Gareth Beer. Williams converted two.
RGC topped up their resilience. There were glimpses of class, with scintillating, breaks from the Llandudno duo of Rhodri Carlton-Jones and Man-of-the-Match Kelvin Davies.
As ever, the men of North Wales never gave up the fight and kept up a steady barrage of the visitors defence for the final 15 minutes of the game. Persistently infringements, quick tap penalties and off-loads took RGC close to the Tonmawr line. However they conceded a soft penalty for obstruction and the visitors cleared.
RGC ran the ball straight back and were finally rewarded with a penalty try when the referee lost patience with the South Walians’ repeated infringements. Substitute Nick Blyth converted.
After an extended break for an injury to Rhodri Carlton-Jones, RGC kept up the pressure right until the final whistle. They will feel they have plenty to build on.
RGC 1404 Coach, Clive Griffiths wasn’t disheartened: “Some of our play was disjointed due to our lack of preparation,” he commented. “We’ve only had four full training sessions and know there are areas of the game that we need to improve on. We came back well in the second half and a lot of individuals put their hands up: Andrew Baston had a good game; Llion Trefor did well in the line-outs; Kelvin Davies was deservedly Man-of-the-match; Harri Parry grafted well; Harri Morgan carried well; Dylan Owen and Rhodri Carlton-Jones showed great pace. All of these are positive and with more training we will improve the other areas”.
Commenting on the missed opportunities, Griffiths added: “Normally Raiksy (Michael Raikes) would have slotted two of those penalties and that would have made it a different game. The important thing is that all these young North Walians have been given game time against Premiership opposition, an opportunity denied to them in the past. They are more streetwise from the experience. Some of them are really young and will improve in the future."
RGC-CIC Chair Kenton Morgan was also pleased with the day. “It was a competitive game, Rhodri had a bad knock but after attention from physio Nikki Davies and paramedics I am pleased to report that he is OK. It was a good crowd and it was great to see so many supporters in their RGC gear. This is an unprecedented learning experience for our players. We have invested in a high quality coaching team. Analyst Marc Carter will go through the video over the weekend and Clive will used this in the next training session to give individuals the benefit of his enormous experience. In the long term will rub off on rugby throughout the region. It is wonderful progress but we cannot be complacent. To sustain this we need more support from the north Wales community both on an off the field."
The next game for RGC 1404 is at home on Wednesday 8th September against Loughborough University, 7.30pm kick-off.