Risca celebrate winning the SWALEC National League Division 3 East title.
Risca have been presented with the SWALEC National League Division 3 East title in front of a large crowd at their final training session of the season.
The Cuckoos sealed their title triumph on the last day of the season at the end of a gripping battle for the top spot with rivals Blaenavon in Division 3 East. It ended with only one point separating the two teams and Risca took the spoils with 88 points.
Risca continued their impressive run of late as they beat third-place Pontypool United 33-50 at Pontypool's Memorial Ground in a hard fought contest.
According to joint club captains Tom Crandon and Owen Biddescombe, the team's heroic efforts in that match was the stand-out performance of the season for the Cuckoos.
Crandon said: "I think Saturday's match is the best we've played all season. Not many people can go to Pontypool United and get a bonus point win and in doing so winning the league. That definitely made it that bit more special. The crowd really spurred us on too. We knew it was going to be tough but the supporters gave us an extra percentage to push on for the points."
Biddescombe added: "It was quite emotional to be honest. We knew we had to win it but to get that bonus point as well was a great achievement. That's testament to the way we've been playing all season and scoring tries. The boys really fronted up and in the end we got the result."
It's been four years since Risca were crowned SWALEC Division 4 East champions but both captains believe that a good team ethos is behind their success this year.
Crandon said: "Everyone wants to play and work hard for each other and that's what it has come down to this season. It's been a long eight months but they boys have worked hard in training week in week out and put their bodies on the line every Saturday under the guidance of a great group of coaching staff in Tyrone Morris, Tim Edwards and Gareth Evans. We set a goal at the start of the season to gain promotion and we've achieved that."
"The future's looking bright for the club," explained Owen Biddescombe. "There's a good structure at Risca with the mini and junior sections and our youth team pushing on to the Seconds - who have been phenomenal this year with an undefeated record. That's ensured a higher level of intensity for the Firsts in training so that we can keep their success going - and keep our places! Looking ahead to next season, we'll recruit some new players, promote several youth boys and build on our hard work so far."
WRU Board Member Ken Hewitt said: "This was an exciting league with the victory only secured on the final day of the season for Risca. For the neutral, it's been thrilling to watch the tight contest develop between Risca and Blaenavon for the top spot. I'm pleased to present Risca with the SWALEC Division 3 East trophy at the end of an exciting season."
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.