A last gasp penalty from the left boot of Geraint O'Driscoll denied RGC 1404 a winning end to their inaugural season with a 33-35 defeat to Newport Gwent Dragons XV in front of a 700-strong crowd.
The Gwent side that drew first blood when O'Driscoll slotted a simple penalty. Their first try came soon after, as Lewis Evans charged down a Sean White box kick to cross the whitewash.
RGC grabbed a try of their own when the impressive Chauncey O'Toole gathered in his own half and showed pace and then composure to send Jack Moorhouse under the sticks with Raikes on hand to convert.
When Sean White was pulled back, whilst chasing his chip over the top, RGC were presented with a kickable penalty, however they put faith in their forward pack and went for the corner. Their ambition was rewarded when a huge effort from the front eight resulted in a try for Jebb Sinclair with Raikes again on hand to add the extras.
RGC 1404, who lost centre Nick Blevins in the warm-up, were dealt a further blow when ever present centre Jack Moorhouse was stretchered from the field with a dislocated and fractured ankle. The severity of the injury forced a fifteen-minute break in play to allow the medics to reduce the dislocation and safely escort Moorhouse from the field and straight to hospital.
When play resumed, the Dragons built a period of pressure with North Walian Pat Leach leading the way with a number of strong carries. Strong work in defence and at ruck time by RGC limited the Gwent men to just a further three points, via the boot of O'Driscoll, before the end of the first stanza.
A key turning point in the game came when the referee sent RGC prop Doug Wooldridge to the bin for foul play. The Dragons regained the lead when Leach found a hole in the home defence and showed good pace to finish, much to the delight of onlookers from Colwyn Bay RFC. The boot of O'Driscoll added the two points. The lead was extended when number eight Lewis Evans powered over from a five metre scrum and then wing Steve Taylor finished off a fine passage of play in the right hand corner.
RGC were not done yet and were back in the game when Hartpury College Number 8 Michael Stubbs used a strong fend to cross from a five metre scrum. RGC scored again when Sean White managed to burrow over under the posts with Raikes again converting.
With less than five minutes remaining, a training ground set play saw a strong carry into the heart of the Dragons defence, resulting in quick ball being fed to the blind side and the elusive Sean White, who ignored an overlap to cross for the try that put RGC back in front, Raikes failed with a tough conversion leaving RGC up by just one with minutes remaining.
With the clock running down an RGC knock on presented possession back to the Dragons who showed structure and patience to move into the RGC 22. It was then that the over eager RGC defence were adjudged to be offside.
This presented O'Driscoll the opportunity to hand victory to Dragons 'A' and so it was that the reliable left boot of the full back sent the ball between the uprights to give victory to the Men of Gwent.
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RGC 1404's new head coach Mark Jones is hoping to build 'something special' in north Wales and is already looking forward to the development region participating in the Principality Premiership for the very first time.
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Wll Jones leads Wales U18s into battle this afternoon against Italy where the Welsh side will be seeking to bounce back from their narrow defeat to SA Schools in their opening clash of the U19 International Series
All four regions attended a successful training camp staged last weekend at the WRU National Centre of Excellence. It was a chance for new Wales Women's head coach Rowland Phillips to deliver his key messages to players and coaches as he prepares for the new season.
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