Will Brown's battling North Walians gave the unbeaten Dragons the shock of their lives in the new WRU Regional Amateur tournament as they staged a massive second half fightback that almosst brought them their first victory.
Having gone down 18-9 to the Scarlets in their opening game, Brown's men knew they faced an even tougher test against a Dragons outfit that had already disposed of the Scarlets 8-5 and the Ospreys 37-15. It meant the side from Gwent travelled to Bethesda full of confidence, yet were alsmost blown away by the twin ferocity of a howling gale and the power of the Gogledd comeback.
The North Wales outfit continued to show their growing potential by putting their opponents to the sword in the last 20 minutes. In atrocious conditions, they bombarded the visitors' tryline but could not find the decisive breakthrough and take advantage of the Dragons' indiscipline at the breakdown as they lost both skipper Anthony Lott and Peter Harrison to the sin-bin in the second half.
The North Walians won a succession of scrums on the Gwent side's five-metre line, but in the end they could only muster a Kelvin Morris penalty five minutes from time which reduced the arrears to just one score.
It was the home side, made up of promising personnel playing their club rugby in the Asda National League Division Three, Four and Five, which took the lead inside 15 minutes after soaking up huge Dragons pressure. After being encamped inside their own 22, a huge punt up field flew into touch ten metres out.
And it was from the line-out that Gogledd Cymru's huge driving maul allowed Pwllheli hooker Huw Hughes to touch down. Fly-half Morris missed the 40-metre conversion as near gale-force winds swept across the pitch.
But the unbeaten Dragons drew level just five minutes later through a dazzling solo try through Rob Smith. The winger ghosted his way past a clutch of defenders before touching down with aplomb, although fly-half Jamie Howells also failed to execute the conversion in the conditions to leave the scores locked 5-5 at half-time.
After remaining on the pitch to go through a number of drills during the break as the rain continued to hammer down, the Dragons started the second half looking much sharper. And it only took minutes for them to catch their opponents cold as centre Darren Humphries put the finishing touch to a fine, sweeping breakaway try which Howells duly converted.
It was reward for the Dragons intensity and constant work rate, but lit the touch paper for Gogledd Cymru who came firing back for much of the second half without securing the ultimate reward of a first, historic victory.
Scorers: Gogledd Cymru: Try: Huw Hughes. Pen: Kelvin Morris. Dragons: Tries: Rob Smith, Darren Humphries. Con: Jamie Howells
Gogledd Cymru Under-25s: Huw Hughes, Andrew Baston, Peter Edwards, Huw Roberts, Dylan Owen, Steve Roberts, Kelvin Davies, Will Bown (capt), Gareth Roberts, Gareth Patchett, Kelvin Morris, Matthew Parry, Ed Weston, Tryfan Edwards, Simon Sullivan, Arwel Roberts.
Gwent Dragons Under-25s: Ross Jones, Peter Harrison, Anthony Lott (capt), Jamie Noble, Lee Williams, Richard Walker, Andrew Packer, David Brake, Rhodri Jones, Jamie Howells, Karl Rees, Phil Price, Darren Humphries, Rob Smith, Sean Thomas.