Clive Griffiths' first home game in charge of RGC 1404 got off to a flying start with a 12-6 victory over a strong Worcester Warriors 'A' side that included many first team squad members.
On a cold evening, with the pitch quite heavy underfoot this was never going to be a free-flowing game. However, Worcester came charging out of the blocks and looked like they may blow RGC 1404 away in the first 15 minutes. Joe Carlisle was controlling things from fly-half, but RGC's defence held strong and they survived the barrage only 3-0 down.
After weathering the storm, the RGC forwards started to take control; working their rolling mauls well and proving good, quick ball for the backs. This pressure soon turned to points and they were 6-3 up thanks to two penalties from Stephen Woodward. Further penalties followed and just before the half-time interval RGC 1404 found themselves camped on Worcester's try line, but their stubborn defence held out and so the whistle went with the score being 12-6 to RGC 1404.
Something must have been said in the RGC 1404 changing room at half-time as inside centre Nick Blevin started to come into the game more, creating gaps in the Worcester defence. One of these breaks saw the ball being shipped out quickly and winger Nathan Rees capitalised with a try in the corner. Although this wasn't converted, a penalty did soon follow and RGC 1404 found themselves 20-6 in front.
As the early defending had revitalised RGC 1404 in the first half, the same could be said towards the end of the game for Worcester who came back at RGC 1404. Winger Rees, so recently the hero, was now the villain as he was sent to the sin-bin for not rolling away after a tackle. The extra man soon paid dividends and Worcester full back, Chris Surman, found a hole in the thinly spread defence to score in the corner. The conversion attempt was missed and the score remained 20-11 at the final whistle.
This was a brilliant result for RGC 1404, as Worcester had inflicted a heavy defeat (72-3) on their last visit to Parc Eirias. Coach Clive Griffiths was delighted with his new look team: "this result shows a massive turnaround in the fortunes of North Wales rugby in the last 12 months. I'm naturally delighted to put one over on my former club, but more importantly I'm delighted to see the team gelling further and becoming a cohesive unit. There are still areas to improve upon, and we will address these in the next few weeks, with all flaws being ironed out"
Following on from the victory over Glamorgan Wanderers two weeks ago, Griffiths also added: "this is the creation of a small piece of history for RGC 1404. To have defeated Premiership teams from England and Wales in consecutive games is no mean feat and I'm absolutely delighted for those who initiated this project. It took Worcester 79 minutes to unlock our defence and that was only once we were down to 14 men. The game may have not been ideal for rugby purists, but we are working hard to look at the new laws at the breakdown area and once these have been addressed, we will start playing rugby to delight the supporters".
A crowd of over 500 people watched the game at Parc Eirias, defying the freezing night to cheer on the team. "I hope that we can develop a hardcore support to get as many people as possible to Parc Eirias" added Griffiths.
Next up for RGC 1404 is a home game against Sale Jets at Parc Eirias on Wednesday 24th November. Advanced tickets are available at a reduced rate through Venue Cymru on 01492 872000.
Wales reached their first semi-final since 2013 in the opening round of this season's HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Dubai. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie recaps on what proved to be an eventful tournament
Wales and Ospreys back row James King, who came through the North Wales age grade system, nominated North Wales Regional Community Rugby Manager Marc Roberts, in the WRU's 'Diolch' initiative where squad players thanked those who played a part in their rise to the top.
Beating Merthyr has boosted Carmarthen Quins hopes of reaching a top eight spot in the Principality Premiership. Quins captain Haydn Pugh is delighted with his team's progress and is determined that everyone from the Under 6s through to the senior team, enjoys the ride.
When the Wales squad were asked to nominate individuals who played a big part in their early playing days, Wales and Dragons full back and wing Hallam Amos thought of his former Monmouth School rugby coach John Bevan.
Sam Cross and Luke Treharne have been named as co-captains of the Wales Sevens side as head coach Gareth Williams names his 12-man squad to play in the first leg of the HSBC World Series in Dubai next weekend.
Bedwas head coach Steve Law and players Nicky Griffiths and Alun Rees extol the virtues of the close knit club as they prepare to host third place RGC 1404 - who are one place head of them on the Principality Premiership points table - on Saturday.
Many of the Wales squad have said Diolch (thank you) to someone who played an important part in their early playing days by nominating them to be invited to the Wales v South Africa match. One person, Gowerton Comprehensive geography teacher Mr Dean Mason was nominated by two of his former pupils, Dan Biggar and Sam Davies.
The second WRU disability rugby pilot has been delivered, this time in Caerphilly schools, culminating in a festival at the Caerphilly Centre of Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach tomorrow. Plans are in place to set up a Disability Rugby Club in Newbridge to provide long-term playing opportunities.
WRU TV: Hear from inside the Wales camp as Neil Jenkins discusses this weekend's clash with South Africa and how the squad are looking to put in a strong performance to round of the 2016 Under Armour Series