CLWB RYGBI WRECSAM WREXHAM RUGBY CLUB
Bryn Estyn Road, Wrexham, North Wales. LL13 9TY Tel: UK (0)1978 261215
2007 - 2008
|Please click here for news from past seasons|
|Match Reports (2007)||Match Reports (2008)||.|
|BETHESDA (H) December 8th||Pwllheli (A) April 26th||.|
|Rhyader (A) December 1st||BRO FFESTINIOG (H) April 19th||.|
|DENBIGH (H) November 22nd||Bethesda (A) April 12th||.|
|COBRA (H) November 10th||COBRA (A) March 29th||.|
|Rhos (A) November 3rd||RHOS (H) March 22nd||.|
|Newport HSOB (A) October 27th||MACHYNLLETH (H) February 16th||.|
|Machynlleth (A) October 13th||LLANGOLLEN (H) February 2nd||.|
|BALA (H) September 29th||FLINT (H) February 2nd||.|
|RHYL (H) September 22nd||Rhyl (A) January 26th||.|
|WELSHPOOL (H) September 2nd||Welshpool (A) January 12th|
|.||PWLLHELI (H) January 5th|
|Please click here for news from past seasons|
This Year's Match Reports
Pwllheli 52 WREXHAM 3
As expected, injury weakened Wrexham had a tough time at Pwllheli and, following a good first-half, were well beaten by the new Division Five North champions.
There was drama before the start when top try scorer Keir Harding suffered a muscle strain in the warm up and had to be replaced by Spaniard Victor Lema. That didnt turn out badly as Lema played very well in the back-row and helped Wrexham apply the early pressure that enabled them to take the lead with a penalty from outside-half Jamie Morris.
More pressure from the visiting side, with flanker Kerry Powell giving an outstanding performance in the pack, earned another penalty kick, but this time Morris just missed with his attempt. Relieved Pwllheli managed to regroup and struck back with tries from centre Dylan Williams and wing Ifan Roberts, both converted by full-back Owain Williams.
Trailing by only 3-14 at the break and still competing effectively, Wrexham were suddenly rocked by tries from lock Gareth Parry and number eight Meilyr Hughes with two more conversions from Owain Williams. That left the visitors well in arrears although the introduction of the now restored Keir Harding and centre Dave Thomas boosted their spirits.
They even claimed a consolation try when hooker John Gill kicked downfield and Wrexham won an ensuing ruck near the home line. Harding scented a score and powered through the Pwllheli pack to claim his 12th touchdown of the season, Morris adding the conversion.
However, Pwllheli were in no mood to be denied on their home ground and stretched Wrexham again until gaps opened and they wrapped up the game in fine style. Further scores came from prop Bleddyn Davies, flanker Richard Hughes hooker Kevin Morris and full-back Owain Williams who added three more conversions.
Wrexhams last game of the season will take place at Bro Ffestiniog on Wednesday 30th April and once more they will be hampered by injuries and unavailability (k.o.7.30pm). Win or lose, they should finish the season in 5th place in the table and can then look forward to their Annual Dinner and Presentation of Awards evening at the club on Friday 9th May.
WREXHAM 3 Bro Ffestiniog 27
Wrexhams last hopes of gaining promotion to
Division Four North disappeared when they were outmuscled by Bro Ffestiniog at
The visitors, who still have slim hopes of being promoted with Pwllheli, were raw and undisciplined, but they were faster and fitter than the home side and displayed a greater hunger for success. They demonstrated this when flanker Elfyn Jones stormed through Wrexhams defence in the second minute to score an easy try that outside-half Daniel Jones converted.
Stunned, Wrexham countered with their best play of the match and forced the visitors into a series of errors that resulted in a penalty award for outside-half Mike Powell in the 8th minute. His kick into the wind was perfect and raised hopes of a quick comeback until Wrexham full-back Andy Clutton had to depart with a knee injury and then the Bro pack started to give their opponents the run around in the set scrum.
In the 14th minute Bro forced their way into the home 22 and released the ball to centre Barry Roberts who handed off two attempted tackles before scoring under the posts. Daniel Jones added the simple conversion and came back ten minutes later to kick a penalty awarded as Wrexham desperately tried to stem the tide.
Wrexham, missing some key players through injury, were captained at number eight by Gareth Sanger who tackled well and led by example. Ashley Wrathall had a good break down the left wing, flanker Kerry Powell worked hard in the rucks and mauls, and his brother Michael also tried to open the Bro defence with quick breaks and short passes, all to no avail.
Another penalty by the power kicking Daniel Jones gave the visitors a 20-3 lead at the break so Wrexham coach Russell Penrhyn Jones decided to introduce back-row expert Keir Harding, fresh from his London Marathon feats. Hardings inclusion made a big difference as he used his powerful frame to soften up the Bro defence, but support for him was slow in arriving and the visitors were able to regroup.
The loss of Gareth Sanger through injury in the 52nd minute deprived Wrexham of control in the line-out and then scrum-half John Roberts had to be helped off with an ankle injury. Still, Keir Harding went close for the home side before Bro attacked through Wrexhams fragile centre again and created a try for centre Dave Roberts with Jones slotting the conversion.
Wrexham face very difficult away games at Pwllheli on Saturday, and then Bro Ffestiniog on the following Wednesday, before they can take their end of season break. Having won all of their league games before Christmas when they possessed the best pack in the Championship and lost five since then, it is obvious that their demise is due to a loss in form and fitness that can be addressed. The sooner the better.
Bethesda 33 WREXHAM 14
Wrexhams promotion hopes were dented at
The visitors played well in the first-half against a
Outside-half Michael Powell, happily back in action after a lengthy spell off through injury, slotted the conversion before Bethesda applied more pressure and narrowed the gap with another penalty by Roberts. The home side then reclaimed the lead when Arwyn Griffiths slipped through the defence to notch an unconverted try.
However, Wrexhams back-row, led by stand-in skipper Gareth Sanger, was in great form at this stage and helped to recapture the lead when Sanger popped the ball from a scrum to scrum-half John Roberts. He proved unstoppable and scored a fine try that Powell duly converted to extend their lead.
Then, just before the break, Bethesda back Iwan Hywel intercepted the ball and ran away to score under the Wrexham posts with Roberts adding the conversion to give his side an 18-14 half-time lead.
Wrexham should then have turned around and used the
wind at their backs to pin down
Despite outstanding ball winning performances from Sanger and flanker Kerry Powell, with significant support from props Nick Stott and David Gard, Wrexham could make no further headway and eventually succumbed to tries from Paul Thomas and Carwyn Williams plus another conversion and a penalty from Gareth Wyn Roberts.
Penrhyn Jones will want to build on what was a good performance by his rearranged side and
make sure that they see off the challenge of Bro Ffestiniog, another side involved in the
Division Five North promotion battle, at
COBRA 9 WREXHAM 3
Wrexham travelled to Cobra with high hopes of
completing the double over the mid
Against a bigger unit, the Wrexham front 5 acquitted themselves very well and helped their side to take the game to Cobra. Scrum-half John Roberts tidied up possession and enabled Daniel Cheesbrough to make an impression in his first ever game at outside-half, while prop Gareth Perrin was very industrious in the rucks and mauls.
The only problem was that when Wrexham worked their way into an attacking position, they gave away a penalty and Cobra promptly kicked the ball back downfield. Cobra managed to kick three penalties in the dire conditions while Wrexhams Gareth Sanger forced his way over the home line but had a try disallowed for what the referee adjudged to be a crossing offence.
With Ben Cheesbrough returning from long term injury to make his 50th appearance when replacing groin injury victim Jonathan Davies, Wrexham made a good start to the second-half and reduced the arrears with a 48th minute penalty by John Roberts. Gareth Perrin had a great 45 metre rumble upfield but was finally tackled with support arriving too late.
Soon afterwards, however, Wrexham number eight Keir Harding was sinbinned for persistent infringements and the team had to reorganise. When hooker John Gill joined a back movement at pace, he broke through and skidded over the home line, but a try was again denied because the referee decided that the ball had gone forward.
With only 6 points between them, both sides then played a very tight game with Wrexham camping in the home 22 and trying to drive Cobra back over their line. There were very few opportunities to move any ball away from the set piece or the breakdown and, despite their best efforts, the visitors were unable to add to their score.
Although they were disappointed at losing at Cobra,
Wrexham held on to second place in the table because
WREXHAM 17 Rhos 0
Wrexham shook off some rustiness after five weeks
without a game and overcame their local rivals Rhos by 17-0 in difficult conditions at
Coach Russell Penrhyn Jones stepped into the breach when outside-half Richard Lloyd was sidelined before the match due to illness and guided his team through a difficult first-half against a strong wind. Rhos started well and nearly took a first minute lead following a kick and chase move.
They won a penalty when Wrexham were slow to release the ball, but scrum-half Simon Hughes was unlucky to see his attempt ruined by the swirling wind. A pattern to the game soon emerged with Wrexham keeping the ball in hand and making regular forays into the Rhos half, only for the visitors to kick it back downfield when they won possession.
Penrhyn Jones used his experience and excellent
passing skills to create defence breaking moves with scrum-half John Roberts and flankers
Kerry Powell and John Gill also helping to maintain Wrexhams momentum. The reason
why they reached half-time without producing a score was probably due to the fact that
they lacked pace down the wings and Rhos tackled well.
With the wind at their backs in the second-half, the home side signalled their intentions with a 30 metre drive by their impressive pack. This soon led to a scrum near the Rhos line which Wrexham won and set up a pushover move for number eight Keir Harding to score near the posts. Centre Jonathan Davies made no mistake with his conversion.
The home side continued to press but Simon Hughes,
who was easily Rhoss best player, commanded his defence well and kept Wrexham out
for the next 20 minutes. In the 63rd minute, however, Penrhyn Jones gathered
the ball from John Roberts on the Rhos 22 and promptly dropped a neat goal, the first drop
goal by a Wrexham player for four years.
Six minutes later, the home pack came back in search of another score and achieved their aim when Keir Harding stole the ball 5 metres out and twisted and turned before planting the ball over the visitors line. Again Jonathan Davies attempted the conversion in the difficult conditions and again he succeeded, rounding off an excellent afternoon for his side.
WREXHAM 0 Machynlleth 17
Wrexham suffered a shock defeat at the hands of visitors Machynlleth but they still remain in top spot of Division Five North because second placed Pwllheli had a blank weekend.
The home side, missing some key players through injury, started well and should have scored in the second minute when they forced their way over the Machynlleth line only for a forward to drop the ball. They then lost possession and allowed the visiting backs to run deep into the home 22, giant scrum-half Arwel Jones finishing off with a try near the corner.
That spurred on Machynlleth and they out-muscled the home side in all areas except the line-out where locks Gareth Sanger and Phil Williams won plenty of possession. The problem for Wrexham was that when they tried to construct attacking moves, their pace and handling skills were completely absent with the result that the ball was lost and opportunities wasted.
Machynlleth were not much better but at least had an appetite for the game and sensed that they could upset the spluttering league leaders. They duly added to their score in the 35th minute when full-back Aled Hamilton ran into the home 22, cut through a sloppy defence at an angle and touched down an unconverted try in the right corner.
Trailing by 0-10 at the break, Wrexham were expected to make amends in the second-half but found themselves under immediate pressure. Outside-half Richard Lloyd used his kicking skills to get his side out of trouble and hooker John Gill gave a gutsy performance as he took on the Machynlleth pack single handedly, but there was little else from a poor Wrexham outfit.
The visitors prodded away and effectively put the game beyond Wrexhams reach in the 54th minute they established a foothold in the home 22 and their number eight Simon Lloyd brushed off several weak tackles to score their third try. This time, outside-half Huw Pugh had better luck with his kicking and added a conversion.
Wrexhams injury toll mounted throughout the game and they ended up a player short because they didnt have enough replacements available. The gallant 14, however, created their two best attacking moves of the match and stretched Machynlleth from left to right. Unfortunately they still couldnt score, winger Will Gauntlett being held near the try line and a four man overlap move being ruined by yet another dropped pass.
WREXHAM 7 Llangollen 5
Wrexham maintained their match fitness in preparation for the restart of the Division Five North programme with a very tight 7-5 victory over visitors Llangollen in a floodlit friendly.
Llangollen got off to a great start and grabbed the lead in the 11th minute with an unconverted try from a driving maul. Spurred on by coach Russell Penrhyn Jones, who was forced to come out of retirement to plug a gap at outside-half, Wrexham then won a stream of possession through their forwards and put the visitors under enormous pressure.
They levelled the scores in the 22nd minute when hooker John Gill broke smartly from a maul and flipped a one handed inside pass to scrum-half Ashley Wrathall who touched down near the posts. Full-back Jamie Morris added a neat conversion to put his side in front and then produced a fine defensive performance as he repelled the inevitable Llangollen counter attack.
In the second-half, Wrexham continued to secure plenty of possession through locks Phil Williams and Cliff Baxter with number eight Gareth Noon making a big impression on a rare appearance. Against a stubborn Llangollen defence, however, they were unable to capitalise on a number of chances and, at the end of a very enjoyable encounter, had to settle for their narrowest victory of the season.
WREXHAM 15 Flint 7
Wrexham struggled to defeat
It was a similar game to the one at
Eventually, the visitors found a gap in the home defensive wall and winger Llion Morris slipped through to grab a fine unconverted try. That put Wrexham in the driving seat with a 10-0 lead at half-time and coach Russell Penrhyn Jones had high hopes of piling on the points with the use of some high profile replacements in the second-half.
Rhyl 15 WREXHAM 19
Wrexhams narrow 19-15 win at lowly Rhyl enabled them to hold on to top spot in Division Five North, but they were unhappy with their sub-standard performance which left them trailing Rhyl twice before they finally edged ahead.
The home side fielded a much better squad than the one that capitulated at Wrexham by 7-54 last September, but the visitors possessed a far superior pack and used it to put Rhyl under early pressure. However, when the ball was dropped by a Wrexham attacking winger in the 11th minute, the Rhyl centre threequarters immediately countered with a smart converted try.
Stunned by this reverse, the visiting pack drove downfield and broke through the Rhyl defence with a thrusting run by number eight Keir Harding. Held at last, he shipped the ball out to flanker Dean Griffiths who charged over the line to score a superb try, outside-half Richard Lloyd adding the conversion that levelled the scores at 7-7.
The Wrexham forwards continued to steamroller their opponents but their attempts to add to their score were frustrated by a resolute home defence, and it was Rhyl who broke away against the run of play and recaptured the lead with an unconverted try. Just before the break, however, scrum-half Mike Powell forced his way over from a maul and Lloyd converted to put Wrexham in the driving seat by 14-12.
Although coach Russell Penrhyn Jones made a few changes at the start of the second-half, Wrexham still continued to give the ball away under pressure and failed to discover their usual rhythm. They did strengthen their defence, however, and finally clinched the game with an unconverted try by winger Scott Davies in the final quarter.
Welshpool 10 WREXHAM 33
Wrexham completed their first double of the season and bounced back to the top of Division Five North with a clear 33-10 victory over strugglers Welshpool at Maesydre Recreation Ground.
Coach Russell Penrhyn Jones was particularly pleased that four of his teams five tries came from the threequarters who had been pilloried for their lack-lustre performance against Pwllheli on the previous Saturday. Our key aim for the rest of the season is to get the ball moving and not have to rely on the forwards doing most of the scoring, added the elated Jones.
Welshpool caused some consternation in the opening minutes when their pressure earned them a penalty and outside-half Daley Jones put his side ahead with an excellent kick. Their lead didnt last long because Wrexham quickly settled in ideal running conditions and bounced back with a superb try by centre Dan Cheesbrough and a conversion by outside-half Richard Lloyd.
With Dean Griffiths controlling the back of the scrum in a rare appearance at number eight and Youth Team player Jamie Morris giving his side pace and extra options at full-back, Wrexham didnt take long to extend their lead. Winger Llion Morris finished off a smart handling move with a neat try and Lloyd confirmed his return to form by slotting the conversion.
Then Lloyd put Welshpool under more pressure with a neat chip ahead and lock Gareth Sanger, celebrating his 150th senior appearance for his club, won a crucial line-out. The pack drove towards the home line and up popped Dean Griffiths to finish off the surge with a deserved try converted by Lloyd.
Needing one more touchdown to claim a much needed bonus point, the visitors brought their backs into play again and released winger Scott Davies to claim a fine try in the corner. Lloyd missed the difficult conversion but made no mistake when he was called on to convert another try by Davies who intercepted on his 22 and ran 80 metres to score.
Leading by 33-3 at the break with the bonus point in the bag, Wrexham then lost some of their concentration in the second-half and failed to add to their tally. Tiredness had probably set in and it all became an anti-climax with the only bright spot in the half being a consolation try for Welshpool centre Paul Chapman and a conversion by Daley Jones.
Wrexham, with 10 wins already this season compared to only 4 for the whole of last season, have a free date this Saturday but are keen to secure a friendly game against similar class opponents from the local fixture pool. They need to maintain their match fitness in preparation for their next Division Five North contest, which will be at Rhyl on Saturday 26th January.
WREXHAM 0 Pwllheli 29
A combination of Wrexhams inability to convert pressure into points and Pwllhelis superior pace behind the scrum led to Wrexhams first league defeat of the season and knocked them off the top perch in Division Five North.
Pwllheli now lead the
Championship by a point from Wrexham but they have a game in hand and look set to cruise
through this seasons campaign, while Wrexham will have to fight it out with
The home side possessed the stronger of the two packs and, with lock Mike Jones making an impressive return from long term injury, had a chance to take the lead in the 11th minute when they earned a penalty for an offside offence. Unfortunately outside-half Richard Lloyd missed the target with a fairly straightforward attempt and Wrexham were then forced to defend.
Ten minutes later, a surge by the visiting pack in the Wrexham 22 drew in too many home defenders and the ball was quickly transferred to full-back David-Lloyd Williams who dummied his way under the posts. Fly-half Elgan Rowlands missed the simple conversion.
Wrexham came back strongly with hooker John Gill and flanker Kerry Powell playing with bags of passion as their pack camped in the Pwllheli 22. They should have come away with at least a try after creating two pushover moves against a weaker scrum, but somehow they managed to over complicate their efforts and the visiting defence was able to hold on.
Pwllheli came back with some outstanding running from their talented backs, but committed tackling by the home defenders denied them a further score. In the last minute of the half Wrexham had a good chance to reduce the deficit with a penalty for another offside offence, but Lloyds kick was completely miss-cued and the half-time score remained at 5-0 to Pwllheli.
Almost immediately after the restart, the visitors stretched their lead when Elgan Rowlands slotted a 30 metre penalty. They increased their tempo with a series of concerted attacks in the home 22 and scored a crucial try when flanker Meilir Hughes broke off the back of a maul and ran through unopposed to touch down under the posts. Rowlands added the extra points.
To their credit, Wrexham managed to stifle Pwllhelis fast running threequarters and should have scored in the 65th minute when they constructed another pushover move. Number eight Keir Harding couldnt ground the ball, however, and then a good move by Wrexham backs Simon Williams and Dan Cheesbrough was halted by determined defensive work by the visitors.
In the closing minutes Pwllheli sensed that Wrexham were tiring and that they were still two tries short of gaining a bonus point. They raised their game again and achieved their goal with two touchdowns in the final 3 minutes, hooker Dafydd Myrdin dashing over from a line-out, David-Lloyd Williams running 80 metres to score under the posts and Elgan Rowlands adding two conversions.
Wrexham coach Russell Penrhyn Jones was obviously disappointed with the result and said afterwards, They are just a better side than us, they are much more clinical and they have more options than us. He must, however have been pleased with the way that his players contested the game for so long even though they didnt get the scores that their performance deserved.
WREXHAM 24 Bethesda 17
Flanker Kerry Powell
grabbed a brace of tries in difficult conditions to help Wrexham defeat visitors
In a roller coaster game, Wrexham found themselves trailing by 0-12 against the wind at the break, but then came back strongly to lead by 24-12 with only two minutes of the game remaining. That was when Bethesda conjured up an unconverted try out of nothing and then came back looking for another, only a resolute tackle by scrum-half John Roberts stopping a Bethesda forward from scoring under the posts in the last minute.
The rain, wind and mud
were a great leveller in the first-half and both sides had to rely on their forwards to
make any progress. Lock Phil Williams won a stream of line-out possession for Wrexham,
John Roberts made some useful breaks upfield, the kicks of outside-half Richard Lloyd
relieved the pressure when needed, but
The breakthrough arrived when the home pack lost the ball at a scrum inside their 22 in the 31st minute and the unmarked outside-half Gareth Wynn Roberts sliced through a gap to score under the posts. He converted his try and then shook Wrexham by turning defence into counter-attack and running over half the length of the pitch to score an unconverted try wide-out.
Coach Russell Penrhyn Jones put on his big guns, lock Gareth Sanger and prop Iwan Roberts, as replacements at the start of the second-half. Their presence and the astute positional kicking of Richard Lloyd soon put the visitors under pressure and Wrexham were rewarded in the 53rd minute when number eight Keir Harding slipped the ball to Kerry Powell who scored a fine try.
kick fell short but he made no mistake only six minutes later when he converted a penalty
try that the referee awarded because
With the bonus point
secured for scoring four tries, Wrexham possibly took their foot off the accelerator. The
Rhyader 15 WREXHAM 24
Wrexham held on to second place behind Pwllheli in
the Division Five North Championship with a hard earned victory over lowly Rhayader in wet
and windy conditions in mid
The home side enjoyed wind advantage in the first-half and secured an early lead when flanker Terry John broke from a ruck and scored wide-out. Rhayader played a spoiling game in the poor conditions and prevented Wrexham from opening out with the free flowing rugby that has characterised their game this season.
The visitors still managed to dominate in the set scrum and line-out and gradually mounted pressure against the home defence. Flanker Wayne Roberts spotted a gap in the 21st minute and managed to force his way through several attempted tackles to score a try that levelled the scores.
Outside-half Jamie Morris failed with his conversion attempt but he came back soon afterwards to add the extra points to a superb try by scrum-half John Roberts. Fed from a scrum by number eight Keir Harding, Roberts ran from 30 metres out, dummied the defenders and touched down close enough to the posts for Morris to convert.
Leading by 12-5 at the break, Wrexham improved their play in the rucks - where Rhayader had been dominant - and started to control the game. They increased their lead soon after the restart when Wayne Roberts attacked from a maul and notched his second try of the afternoon, Morris adding the conversion.
The inclusion of Youth Team player Rob Moore on the flank maintained their momentum but Rhayader kept plugging away and seized their chance when some indiscipline by the visitors cost them ground. From a quickly taken tap penalty Terry John burst through to score an unconverted try that opened up the game again.
In the final quarter, John claimed his hat-trick when he powered over for another unconverted try and reduced Wrexhams lead to only four points. An extra effort was needed from Wrexham and they came storming back in the final minutes to put the game beyond Rhayaders with a deserved try by prop Nick Perrin.
WREXHAM 20 Denbigh 19
Wrexham demonstrated how much they have improved
this season by narrowly defeating Denbigh, from a division above, in a floodlit friendly
The home side applied early pressure and went ahead in the 6th minute when outside-half Richard Lloyd took a quick tap penalty for the forwards to mount a series of drives. Hooker Gareth Perrin then forced his way over for a deserved try that Lloyd failed to convert.
Denbigh came back strongly and levelled the scores seven minutes later with an excellent try by winger Dafydd Cartwright who tore-in off a blind side move and touched down behind the posts. Flanker Trystan Rowlands made no mistake with the simple conversion to put his side in front.
The Wrexham forwards then set to work and piled on pressure in the Denbigh 22. Flanker John Gill, playing another storming game in the back-row, was held up over the visitors line before the pack drove as a unit and number eight Keir Harding touched down in the right corner.
Lloyds conversion fell short in the cold breeze but Wrexham were in the driving seat again.
There was a scare near the end of the half when the fast running Denbigh threequarters broke down the left wing, but Wrexham winger Will Gauntlett put in a fine tackle to halt the attack. Then, deep in injury time, the home pack drove the Denbigh pack over their line and Harding touched down again to claim his third brace of tries against the same opponents in consecutive games.
Leading by 15-7 at the break, Wrexham soon pressed after the start of the second-half with Lloyd employing some smart handling moves to release his team mates through the Denbigh defence. The tactics worked well to a certain extent, but support play often lacked cohesion and too often the ball was spilled and the initiative lost.
Youth Team outside-half Jamie Morris, switched to full-back when coach Russell Penrhyn Jones piled on replacements, showed great promise with a couple of ground winning attacks. However, Wrexham gradually lost their shape due to constant changes and Denbigh suddenly opened up the game again with a smart unconverted try by winger Dan Mars-Jones in the 66th minute.
Back came Wrexham with a surge down the right before Lloyd looked up and saw space on the left. His high angled kick towards the far corner was inch perfect and replacement winger Adam Jones was able to collect the ball in the air and score wide-out.
Denbigh werent finished, however, and they created another of their defence splitting moves to send lock Will Jones diving under the posts for a try that scrum-half Jamie Winning converted. That left them only one point in arrears and they threw everything at Wrexham until they were awarded a penalty in the 78th minute for an offside movement by a home forward.
Luckily for Wrexham, Trystan Rowlands 40 metre kick into the breeze failed to reach its target and the ball was promptly returned downfield. Moments later they were able to celebrate a hard earned victory that should put them in good shape for next Saturdays important game at Rhayader.
WREXHAM 19 COBRA 13
Wrexham, trailing by 0-13 in the first-half of their Division Five North contest against early season leaders Cobra, had to draw on all of their reserves to overcome the visitors and maintain their unbeaten league record.
Cobra went in front in the 4th minute when the home forwards were adjudged to have prevented the release of the ball under pressure, centre Alun Jones kicking a simple penalty in front of the posts.
Wrexham came back strongly with lock Gareth Sanger securing line-out possession and number eight Keir Harding and scrum-half John Roberts driving hard into the Cobra defence. However, the teams performance at the breakdown didnt meet the requirements of referee Ian Morris and a stream of penalties upset their rhythm.
One penalty in the 15th minute enabled Alun Jones to land another successful kick to stretch the visitors lead. The heavyweight Cobra pack enjoyed a slight edge in the scrums and engineered a 33rd minute try for outside-half Gareth Roberts who darted under the posts to score with Alun Jones adding the conversion.
Moments later, lock Mike Jones was forced off with an ankle injury and things looked very bleak for the home side despite the introduction of replacement Phil Williams. Just before the break, however, Wrexham got the breakthrough that they were toiling for when John Roberts forced his way over from a tap penalty move and outside-half Richard Lloyd added the conversion.
Needing to tire the larger of the visiting forwards by employing a running game, Wrexham did exactly the opposite at the start of the second-half and engaged in a mauling contest. That all changed at the beginning of the final quarter when flanker John Gill came on as a replacement and added some spark to the pack.
With Richard Lloyd now kicking deep into the Cobra 22, the home forwards pounded away at the try line until a pushover move was pulled down illegally and Wrexham were awarded a penalty try. Lloyd made no mistake with a simple conversion that put his side in front by one point.
The visitors desperately tried to regain the initiative but being driven off their own ball in the scrum didnt help their cause. Another long distance kick by Lloyd was followed by a Wrexham pushover move with Keir Harding claiming the successful touchdown, Lloyd missing the conversion.
Needing a converted try in the seven minutes that remained to overtake the home score, Cobra made a final challenge and were helped when Harding was sin binned for a technical offence. They hurled everything at 14 man Wrexham, camped under their posts and looked like scoring until a ball was knocked-on in the final second, leaving a drained home side to celebrate their victory.
Rhos 7 WREXHAM 67
Wrexham moved up to second place in the Division
Five North table with a comprehensive 11 try victory over their local rivals Rhos at
The visiting pack laid the foundation for this
outstanding success by taking control of the game early on. Although it was essentially a
fine team performance, flanker Wayne Roberts stood out for his determined display in all
forward phases of the game and he was rewarded for his efforts with an excellent try.
Wrexham established a 17-0 lead by half-time, thanks
to tries by winger Scott Davies, Wayne Roberts and number eight Keir Harding plus a
conversion by outside-half Michael Powell. After the break, scrum-half John Roberts made a
hammer blow when he sent Davies scampering over for his second try, converted again by
That opened the floodgates with Davies completing
his hat-trick and Harding adding his second touchdown. Further tries flowed from flanker
John Gill (2), centre Daniel Cheesbrough, lock Gareth Sanger and replacement flanker Kerry
Michael Powell kicked two more conversions and full-back Andy Clutton managed one before hooker Gareth Perrin celebrated his 100th appearance for his club by taking over the kicking duties and landing a final conversion. Rhos never gave up and were rewarded with a consolation try that they converted in the dying minutes
Newport HSOB 45 WREXHAM 0
Wrexham tried hard to bridge the three divisional gap between themselves and Newport HSOB in their Konica Welsh Cup first round game at Newport, but the skilled running of the Old Boys prevailed and Wrexham were forced into an early exit from the competition.
A converted try in the first minute gave the home side a strong advantage and they never looked back as they kept up the pressure on the hard working visitors. The Wrexham pack competed very well with number eight Keir Harding in outstanding form and prop Geraint Davies, newly recalled to the side, maintaining control in the scrums.
Behind the pack, John Roberts at scrum-half worked tirelessly to find gaps in the home defence and create scoring opportunities. Some gaps did appear but Wrexham lacked the experience and control to exploit their good work, and Newport were happy to contain and then open out to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
In the end, Wrexham were happy that they had tried their best against a very fine side and had not been found wanting. It was their first visit to South Wales for four years and was undoubtedly a good bonding exercise as well as an excellent opportunity for them to introduce some of their up and coming youngsters to the higher standard of rugby in the south.
Machynlleth 9 WREXHAM 23
Wrexham maintained their unbeaten start to
the season in Division Five North with a four try defeat of Machynlleth in mid
The home side struck first with an early penalty but Wrexham moved in front in the 11th minute with a smart try by winger Llion Morris. It was Morriss first try for his new club and came after the visitors won a ruck 5 metres out and scrum-half James Wrathall picked up and passed to the flying winger.
Outside-half Michael Powell missed the conversion from wide-out and then Machynlleth stormed back to reclaim the lead with a second penalty of the afternoon. Undeterred, Wrexham kept up the pressure in the forward exchanges and won the ball which enabled right wing Scott Davies to run from deep and power his way over for an unconverted try.
Once again, the home side came back with a successful penalty, but it was not enough to overhaul the visitors this time. Wrexham then eased into a six point lead just before the break when lock Gareth Sanger charged 25 metres to score another unconverted try.
Scott Davies continued to play well in the backs in the second-half and replacement flanker Phil Williams impressed at the breakdown, but scores proved elusive until replacement outside-half Jamie Morris managed to land a penalty. In the closing stages Wrexham wrapped up the game with a pushover try by hooker Gareth Perrin, Morriss conversion just failing to hit the target.
Coach Russell Penrhyn Jones was a little disappointed with his sides performance following their previous victory over Division Four side Bala in the Welsh Cup. We could have scored more and taken more control in the forwards, but at least it was a win and keeps us up with the leaders, he said afterwards.
This Saturday, Wrexham were due to take on
Bangor in a Division Five North game at Bryn Estyn Road, but
WREXHAM 19 BALA 9
Wrexham progressed to the first round of the Welsh Cup with a 19-9 victory against Bala in the preliminary stage.
The Bryn Estyn Road club took charge of the match from the first blow of the
whistle and, despite conceding an early penalty, they were quick to reply with with a try
through Keir Harding, after a moment of quick thinking from a tap penalty.
Centre Dan Cheesebrough scored the second, and best, try of the day when he finally received the ball out wide after a fantastic flowing move which saw the ball pass through the hands of numerous players.
Bala kept the scoreboard ticking with a couple more penalties, but Kerry Powell killed the game when he scored Wrexham's third try of the match, with brother Mike converting his second kick of the game.
"We hammered them in all areas of the game and in the end we were worthy winners," said coach Russell Penrhyn-Jones.We beat them up front, we beat them comfortably in the scrum and to win by three tries to none pretty much says it all it was our best performance of the season without a shadow of doubt."
"Bala gave us our biggest test of the season and we stood up to it and that is incredibly pleasing. Performances like this give everyone a real lift and now we need to keep things going for the weekends home match against Ruthin."
Penrhyn-Jones is now hoping for a plum second round tie away to a team from South Wales.
Wrexham were the only North Wales clubsto progress to the first round after Bethesda, Denbigh, Newtown and Welshpool were all eliminated at in the preliminary round.
WREXHAM 54 Rhyl 7
Wrexham had a much heavier pack and eventually took the lead when they
wereawarded a penalty try following an alleged infringement on their try-line.
Rhyl could have no complaints with regard to the remainder of the Wrexham first half scores, as full-back Andy Clutton danced his way to a hat-trick.
Wrexham's lead was extended to 33-0 shortly after half-time, but Rhyl began to come into the game in the second half until a spilled ball allowed the hosts to counter-attack and rack up two further scores.
Nonetheless the never say die Rhyl attitude was rewarded when with almost the last move of the match slick handling from the Rhyl backs released John Hall and in spite of his juggling act he was able to score under the posts.
Wrexham's other tries were scored by John Roberts (2) and Keir Harding.
WREXHAM 44 Welshpool 16
opened their new season in style, notching eight tries as they defeated their old Mid
Wales rivals Welshpool in an enthralling Division Five North contest at
Welshpool countered with pressure from their forwards in the home 22 and levelled the scores in the 8th minute when the Wrexham centres spilled the ball in front of their posts in a high risk counter attacking move. Visiting centre Paul Chapman seized the loose ball and planted it between the home posts, outside-half Daley Jones adding a simple conversion that put the Mid Wales side in the driving seat.
Wrexham then dominated the next half-hour with their smaller tight-knit pack gaining the edge over a big Welshpool eight to supply a stream of possession to their backs. Rapid passing and linking, with John Roberts being an outstanding influence in midfield, created scoring opportunities but they came up against a stubborn defence and were forced into committing a stream of early season errors.
It was left to Keir Harding to break the deadlock and he did it in style when Mike Powell made ground from a tap penalty move and the rampaging flanker latched on to Powells pass to round the defence and score behind the uprights.
Powell sliced his straightforward
conversion attempt to deny Wrexham the extra points and Daley Jones then took quick
advantage by kicking an injury time penalty to level the scores at 10-10 at the break.
Less than a minute into the second-half, Jones put Welshpool in front again with a wind assisted penalty. Then Wrexham wrested the lead back when their forwards worked their way back upfield and Powell won a kick and chase to score an opportunist try wide-out that he again failed to improve.
Daley Jones was not prepared to concede, however, and restored the visitors lead with a superb 50th minute drop goal. With the game still finely in the balance, Wrexham stuck to their open expansive game and it soon paid dividends when prop Guy Bingham broke free on a 30 metre run and sent Dan Cheesbrough in for a fine try that Powell ably converted.
Wrexham scented victory at last and
soon released John Roberts through a narrow gap in the Welshpool centre to score an
excellent try at the start of the final quarter.
That seemed to drain the resistance out of a hard working visiting side and Wrexham quickly wrapped up their victory with further tries from replacement prop Iwan Roberts, flanker John Gill and another one from Dan Cheesbrough with Powell adding a final conversion.
A delighted Wrexham coach Russell Penrhyn Jones said afterwards, It was a decent start and I was very happy with the way that we played. We fell into some old habits at the start and kicked possession away, but once we put the ball through the hands we played some very good rugby. Thats the way I want to play the game.
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