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CLWB RYGBI WRECSAM WREXHAM RUGBY CLUB

Bryn Estyn Road, Wrexham, North Wales. LL13 9TY

 

 

 

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Match Reports

2009 - 20010
from

Chris Kilfoyle

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Please click here for news from past seasons
Match Reports (2009) Match Reports (2010)
Rhyl (A) December 5th Rhyl (A) May 13th
NEWYOWN (H) November 25th Newtown (A) April 24th
Newtown (A) November 14th WELSHPOOL (H) April 17th
BANGOR (H) October 24th LLANIDLOES (H) April 10th
RHOS (H) October 17th NEWTOWN (H) April 3rd
Bethesda (A) October 3rd Welshpool (A) March 27th
BALA (H) September 26th Llanidloes (A) March 6th
Rhyl (H) September 19th Bala (A) February 27th
Bangor (A) September 12th BETHESDA (H) January 30th
Rhos (A) September 5th .
Please click here for news from past seasons

This Year's Match Reports

Newtown  41   WREXHAM   8

Wrexham Firsts suffered their 12th defeat of the season when their tackling let them down and they were beaten by 41-8 at Newtown in their last Division Three game of the season.

They got off to a good start with an early penalty by centre Richard Hughes as they applied pressure on the home side. Their lead didn’t last long, however, as Newtown used the high ball to fashion a try that they converted and then followed up with two more converted tries as Wrexham’s defence wilted under attack.

The addition of a penalty put the home side into a clear 24-3 lead, but the visitors rallied and reduced the arrears with a superb debut try by scrum-half Owain Turner. Although Hughes missed the difficult conversion, Wrexham continued to press and crossed the home line again, only to be pushed back without grounding the ball.

Trailing by 8-24 at the break, Wrexham started off comfortably in the second-half but were rocked again when Newtown created a try of genuine class and went further in front. The visitors worked hard to try to get on terms with centre Josh Francis always posing a threat to Newtown when he had the ball in his hands, and replacement flanker Christian Chalk and wing Pete Atkins performing at their best.

Hopes were raised when the Wrexham backs created a two-man overlap that looked certain to produce a try until a defender deliberately knocked down a pass. The referee, however, chose to award a penalty instead of a penalty try, and Newtown escaped punishment. The home side then completed their success by scoring two more tries, one converted.               

WREXHAM  28  Welshpool  15

Wrexham completed a Division Three double over visitors Welshpool when they outpointed them by 28-15 in their final home game of the season.

With Youth Team centre Josh Francis making an impressive debut that brought the best out of half-backs Ben Cheesbrough and Kieran Morris as well as centre Richard Hughes, Wrexham piled on the points in the first-half. Hughes punished Welshpool for poor discipline with a brace of penalties and then tore the visitors apart with a brace of tries and one conversion.

Welshpool recovered a little in the second quarter and got on the scoreboard with a single penalty but number eight Kenny Simms soon restored his team’s advantage with an unconverted try, his second in a week. Throughout the contest, wing Mark Gasson tackled like a Trojan to deny the visitors and lock Mike Jones acted as hooker in the line-outs in the absence of the unavailable Danny Sissons.

Ahead by 23-3 at half-time, and with the game seemingly won, Wrexham seemed to go off the boil after the break. Part of this was due to a readjustment in the pack after prop David Gard had to leave with an injury, but possession from the scrums and line-outs soon dried up and Welshpool came roaring back with a converted try.

Happily, a try from flanker Gareth Owen, his first for the senior side and richly deserved after a string of good performances, opened up the gap again. There was a welcome debut appearance from Owain Turner, the Youth Team full-back and son of former back-row regular Carl, but Welshpool still managed a late consolation with a well worked unconverted try.    

WREXHAM  20  Llanidloes  26

The visitors struck first with a 6th minute converted try but Wrexham soon closed the gap with a well-struck penalty by centre Richard Hughes. Then, as the home pack took full charge of the set scrums with David Gard outstanding, number eight Kenny Simms drove over for a try and Hughes kicked a spectacular conversion to put Wrexham 10-7 in front.

Llanidloes responded with pressure using a series of rolling mauls and soon forced the home forwards into mistakes as they tried to stem the Llanidloes tide. The visitors won a line-out from a penalty and, despite a big hit from Danny Sissons on his opposing outside-half, they created an overlap for win James Griffiths to score an unconverted try in the corner to lead by 12-10.

Wrexham started well in the second-half, outside-half Ben Cheesbrough and scrum-half Kieran Morris working well together and Hughes and John Roberts impressing in the centre. But Llanidloes still looked better organised in attack and they stretched their lead to 19-10 in the 53rd minute when James Griffiths took what looked to all except the referee like a forward pass to score his second try of the game, full-back Dan Short converting.

Wrexham weren’t done, and, with flanker Phil Williams and lock Mike Jones winning line-out possession, they came back with a stunning 40 metre penalty from Kieran Morris. Unfortunately, Llanidloes released their threequarters towards the home line en masse in the 76th minute and outside-half Adam Price scythed through for a try under the posts that centre Ed Pugh converted.

That seemed to have put the issue beyond doubt, but Wrexham refused to yield and drove upfield through their pack to launch skipper Guy Bingham over the line for a fine try. Morris landed a fine conversion from near the touchline to narrow the gap to only six points again. Try as they did to get  on terms Wrexham just couldn’t bridge that gap and had to concede a season double to Llanidloes.

WREXHAM  12  Newtown  23

Wrexham Firsts, well beaten by Newtown in both legs of a cup competition last November, gave a much better account of themselves against the same outfit at Bryn Estyn Road on Saturday, but still ended up as 12-23 losers of a well contested Division Three encounter.

They could have won if they had been able to capitalise on several good scoring opportunities, but they lacked the pace and awareness needed to make the final few metres across Newtown’s try line. In contrast, a bulky visiting side started slowly but grew in strength in the second-half of the game and then had the skill and confidence to convert their chances with three tries.

In a keenly contested opening half, partly spoiled for both sides by the antics of an over-officious referee, Wrexham played some excellent rugby and displayed a vast improvement in their passing skills. Half-backs Ben Cheesbrough and Kieran Morris kept Newtown on the back-foot with their inventive breaks and John Roberts was in fine form again as he constantly crossed the gain line in the centre.

The home side profited from a 3rd minute penalty award to take the lead with a successful kick into the breeze by Morris before Newtown levelled with a similar effort by outside-half Rowen Meek only a minute later. Soon afterwards another penalty award was converted by Morris to put Wrexham back in front again, and they kept up the pressure with good work from number eight Kenny Simms, flanker Gareth Owen and prop David Gard.

When flanker Phil Williams was put into open space in the 21st minute, with only the full-back to beat and his winger free on his right, a try looked certain, but he ran straight into the enveloping arms of the defender and a clear cut opportunity was squandered. Newtown recovered and scored 6 minutes later by creating an overlap for winger Sam Harris to score, Meek adding the extra points.

Then, in a closing 8 minute period to the half, four kickable penalties were awarded, Meek converting one of his two chances but Morris kicking both of his superbly to narrow Newtown’s lead to 13-12 at the break. When play restarted, Wrexham continued to impress with wing Mark Gasson, Cheesbrough and Owen tackling and challenging effectively.

In the final quarter, however, disaster struck for Wrexham when full-back John Gormley completely misjudged a high kick from the visitors, failed to gather the ball and could only watch as Newtown centre Greg Kiely picked up and scored. Confidence surged through the visiting ranks and number eight Ben Davies soon grabbed a 69th minute try to establish a clear margin for his side.

Undeterred, Wrexham camped on the Newtown 22 and John Roberts broke through their defence only to be hauled down a few metres short. In a frantic finale, Newtown had a prop sin-binned for persistent infringements, Wrexham quickly elected to take a scrum under the Newtown posts but had a golden scoring opportunity ruined by an adjudged crooked feed to the scrum. Having been let off the hook, 14 man Newtown worked their way back upfield and did just enough to hold on for a slightly flattering victory.          

Welshpool  0   WREXHAM  21

Two tries from John Roberts, a star in the North Wales flagship side Northern Counties at the turn of the Millennium, broke Wrexham’s four month long scoring duck after he switched from scrum-half to his old place on the wing and helped them to a well-earned 21-0 success at Welshpool.   

 The visitors started well in this Division Three contest and went ahead in the 7th minute when centre Richard Hughes kicked a penalty. Wrexham kept up the pressure with number eight Mike Jones and lock Tom Williams winning possession in the line-out, and then half-backs Kieran Morris and Ben Cheesbrough creating a number of breaks for their threequarters.

 Welshpool’s defence was breached again at the end of the first quarter and, after smart work by centres Richard Hughes and Ashley Wrathall, John Roberts stretched his legs down the wing and scored in the corner. The angle of the conversion attempt was too acute for Hughes to succeed with his kick, but he soon made up for this by kicking a brace of penalties as the home side committed a series of errors.

 David Guard, who came on as a replacement when lock Jason Reano was injured early on, made a big impression in the front-row of Wrexham’s pack and flanker Gareth Owen impressed again on the flank. But it was all hands to the pumps in the closing minutes of the half when Welshpool powered back and number eight Mike Jones was sin-binned for failing to release the ball under pressure.

Wrexham, however, reached half-time still leading by 14-0 and then opened strongly after the break. Unfortunately, two early scoring opportunities were squandered, the home side countered with some effective attacking play, Gard was sin-binned for a technical offence and then the visitors had to soak up some heavy pressure to prevent Welshpool from scoring.

Wrexham rallied in the final 10 minutes of the game, keeping the home side penned in their half with a controlled performance. After Hughes had failed with a difficult penalty attempt, Welshpool relieved the pressure on them with a kick out of their 22, only for the ball to be collected and run back by the visitors.

Roberts seized his moment when he claimed the ball and wriggled and turned through a gaggle of defenders before planting the ball over the home line for his second try of the match. Hughes added the extra points and Wrexham celebrated their first win of the year in style.          

Llanidloes 34   WREXHAM  0

Wrexham crashed to a 34-0 defeat at Llanidloes, their fourth whitewash in five matches, in the opening game of the newly created Division Three North Championship.

 Traffic problems en route to mid Wales club didn’t help, but Wrexham had only themselves to blame for starting slowly and handing the initiative to the eager home side. Llanidloes kicked an early penalty to claim the lead and then survived a penalty attempt by Wrexham outside-half Richard Hughes who was making his senior debut for the club.

 The home side then kicked deep into Wrexham’s half from their 22, won a ruck and scored an unconverted try to increase their lead. A torn biceps muscle forced Hughes to leave the field after 20 minutes and the visitors had to reorganise their team again when number eight Kenny Simms suffered a dislocated thumb injury and had to be replaced.

 Llanidloes took full advantage of Wrexham’s woes and grabbed two converted tries to stretch their lead to 22-0 at half-time. Although skipper Guy Bingham’s injured knee forced Wrexham coach Stuart Milne to make another replacement at the break, the visitors came out fully determined to compete in the second-half.

 With the pack matching the much-vaunted Llanidloes eight, and flanker Gareth Owen delivering a classy performance in the loose exchanges, Wrexham took the game to the home side. Ben Cheesbrough, who had moved from centre to outside-half when Richard Hughes was injured and was later named as the Man of the Match by his opponents, used all his experience to try to fashion a score for his side.

 Unfortunately, Llanidloes found two more holes in the home defence to create a brace of converted tries by the end of the third quarter, but the final 20 minutes of the game belonged to Wrexham as they prodded away in search of a consolation score. Lock Mike Jones competed well in the line-out to give his side the possession that they needed, but the points wouldn’t come and Llanidloes were able to take an early grip on the Championship.

 Bala 19   WREXHAM  0

Wrexham succumbed to a 19-0 defeat at Bala, but were left feeling with a sense of frustration that this was a game that they could have won if they had turned their possession superiority into points.  

Late injuries and unavailability forced them to take a patched side to Bala, and it was therefore a great relief when they kicked off that they discovered that their pack was more balanced than of late. They opened brightly and comfortably dealt with the home set scrum, but poor tactical kicking left them contained on their own 22, the home side missing an early penalty attempt.

Former Youth Team player Kenny Simms, making his first appearance of the season, impressed in the back-row. He was supported on the other flank by Phil Williams who probably delivered his best performance to date and really got stuck into the loose exchanges. In the centre, Troy Roberts, home on leave from the Army, was a welcome addition and posed a threat to Bala. 

When the visitors did manage to mount pressure on Bala in their 22, they suffered problems in securing their own line-out possession and were unable to press home their attacks. The home side forced their way back and took advantage of a mistake in midfield to open the scoring with a converted try under the posts in the 30th minute.

Wrexham countered strongly and camped in the home 22, launching assault after assault on the try line. Bala clung on desperately and gave away a series of penalties until they eventually had a player sin-binned. Even so, Wrexham still couldn’t score and were reduced temporarily to 14 players themselves when winger Butjilani Hanyane responded to a taunt from the home crowd.  

Bala eventually relieved the pressure on their line when one of their players dived over the top of a forward drive to prevent the release of the ball. Unfortunately this indiscretion was missed by the match official and Wrexham’s attempt to level the match by half-time failed. 

The visitors made a determined start after the break but, although Troy Roberts went close to scoring and Bala had another close shave on their wing, pressure failed to turn into points. Danny Seabrook replaced skipper Guy Bingham who limped off with a knee injury, Pete Blakemore made his First Team debut replacing Kenny Simms who went off with a hand injury, and Richard Platt did well when replacing Joss Stott in the second-row.

It came as a great blow in the 65th minute when the ball rebounded over the Wrexham line in a desperate scramble and a home player managed to touch it down for an unconverted try. Try as they did to get back on terms, Wrexham just couldn’t create an opening and it was left to the home side to apply the coup de grace when they ran in a late converted try.

WREXHAM  10  Bethesda  20

Wrexham delivered a good team performance against Bethesda at Bryn Estyn Road, but still fell to a 10-20 defeat by the Division Two North league leaders in a turbulent encounter.

The home side made light of the fact that they hadn’t played for 8 weeks and opened brightly with a couple of smart breaks from new outside-half Ben Cheesbrough and efficient work in the line-outs from number eight Mike Jones. Wrexham’s forwards, with lock Richard Platt in dominant form, had the edge over the Bethesda pack in the set scrums and behind it scrum-half John Roberts probed for space to attack.

Both defences coped well and openings were few for the whole of the first quarter. Bethesda, however, were more adept at making the ball available when they created openings and they penetrated the gain line more often then not. They broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute when wing Iwan Williams squeezed past the determined Butjilani Hanyane and scored in the corner. 

Despite a 30 metre counter by John Roberts that came close to producing a match levelling try for the home side, the visitors came back for more and extended their lead with a very dubious try in the 33rd minute. Hooker Steven Eames was adjudged to have touched down from a 5 metre line-out, but the referee was slow to arrive and Eames was in fact stopped before the line and should have been penalised for not releasing. 

Trailing by 0-10 at half-time, Wrexham were caught cold minutes after the restart when flanker Arwyn Griffiths ran through virtually unopposed to score in the corner. Matters then went from bad to worse when flanker Danny Sissons was concussed in a collision and the game was held up for 15 minutes while an ambulance was called and Sissons taken to hospital for treatment.

After play resumed, Wrexham opted to take a 5 metre scrum and trundled the Bethesda pack backwards until the scrum twisted and had to be reset. When the Bethesda forwards attempted to pull down the scrum as Wrexham drove again, the referee had no option but to award a penalty try to the home side. Kieran Morris, having switched from centre to outside-half, added the simple conversion.

The visitors appeared to lose their composure at that point and were penalised several times, Kieran Morris punishing them with a penalty in the 67th minute to narrow the gap to 10-15. Morris, who had troubled the Bethesda defence along with the excellent centre Ashley Wrathall, made a threatening break into the visitors 22, but lack of support prevented a score.

Bethesda continued to look for a fourth try to secure the game and claim a bonus point, and they achieved this in the 77th minute when flanker Dylan Hughes took a scoring pass and dived over to claim an unconverted try. That should have been that, but tempers flared again in the freezing conditions of a lengthy injury time and the net result was that the Bethesda captain and two Wrexham forwards were red carded for fighting and retaliation.  

Wrexham Firsts now have another break of 3 weeks before they visit Bala for a Division Two North league match. Many players will, however, participate in an inter-club Over Thirties versus Under Thirties match that will take place at Bryn Estyn Road next Saturday (k.o.1.00pm) before the start of the England v Wales Six Nations game at Twickenham (k.o.5.00pm).          

Rhyl 45  WREXHAM 0

Wrexham suffered their second whitewash in a fortnight as they slumped to a 0-48 defeat at Rhyl in a North Wales Division Two contest.

Injuries and unavailability had already ravaged the visiting side before the kick-off, but Wrexham still managed to make a good start and should have taken an early lead when skipper Guy Bingham crashed over the home line. Unfortunately, the referee was in an unsighted position and therefore the ‘score’ had to be disallowed.

Rhyl kicked their way back into the Wrexham half and opened the scoring with a try that came from a defensive lapse. The visitors’ woes continued as lock Tim Roberts suffered a nasty injury to his knee in the 15th minute, requiring hospital treatment, and then flanker Ashley Ellis had to leave the field soon afterwards with another knee injury.

Wrexham had to reshuffle their pack with substitutes Richard Platt and Brendan O’Malley entering the fray. Platt’s appearance in the second-row turned out to be the ‘shining light’ for the visitors and was backed up by the usual gutsy display at the base of the scrum from John Roberts.

In the 21st minute, with his side trailing by only 0-8, full-back Kieran Morris attempted a long distance penalty kick, but it fell short of the target. That turned out to be Wrexham’s last chance to score as their poor tactical kicking and lack of bite in the tackle soon played into the hands of the home side.

Rhyl increased their score to 19-0 at the break and then used counter attacks off Wrexham’s poor kicking to score more tries in the second-half. Wrexham never gave up trying and probably created more than their opponents did from set play. However, their attempts to get on the scoresheet were ruined by simple errors in handling and they were unable to make any impression.

WREXHAM 0 Newtown 30

Wrexham were knocked out of the North Wales Intermediate Cup in a 30-0 whitewash by visitors Newtown last night and will now go into next January’s Plate Competition.

They started well with scrum-half John Roberts and his half-back partner John Gormley kicking them into Newtown’s half and putting pressure on the visitors. Wrexham came unstuck, however, because their makeshift pack couldn’t win its share of the line-out possession, was turned over in the loose and also driven back in the scrums.

Newtown took the lead in the 10th minute with a long-range penalty off a post by wing Matthew Jones and they increased it in the second quarter with an unconverted try by flanker Barry Lloyd. They could have had more if it hadn’t been for the determined tackling of Wrexham centre Simon Williams, wing Butjilani Hanyane and flanker Ashley Ellis.

Another penalty by Jones, just before the break, was a hard blow to take for a disjointed Wrexham, but problems were addressed and they came back firing on all cylinders at the start of the second-half. Substitute props Danny Seabrook and Wayne Roberts steadied the scrum; John Roberts switched to number eight and gave a gutsy performance while his replacement Kieran Morris prodded well from the base of the scrum.

Newtown gave away a succession of penalties as they desperately tried to hold on but Wrexham spurned these simple scoring opportunities in an effort to score tries. It was the wrong decision because they ran up against a solid Newtown defence and ended up with no points on the board to show for all their effort and determination.

A breakout by the visitors from a stranglehold in their 22 led to prop Melvin Lewis powering over for a 55th minute try that Matthew Jones converted. However, Wrexham continued to dominate possession and could have scored if full-back Ashley Wrathall hadn’t taken his eye off the ball with the line at this mercy or wing Llion Morris hadn’t frozen twice in scoring situations.

As the home forwards searched for a consolation try, prop Wayne Roberts and lock Phil Williams were held inches short of the Newtown line. In injury time, the visitors sensed that Wrexham were totally spent and launched a wave of attacks to claim late tries by outside-half Rowan Meek and replacement hooker Gareth Roberts with Meek hammering the final nails in Wrexham’s coffin with a neat conversion.   

Newtown  29   WREXHAM   3

Wrexham came badly unstuck by 29-3 at Newtown in the first leg of their North Wales Intermediate Cup contest. Having experienced heavy rain and flooding en route to mid Wales they expected the game to be postponed, but instead found the ground to be in good condition with a pumped-up home side waiting to take them on. 

Even so, the visitors made a bright start to the match and took the lead with a penalty by scrum-half Kieran Morris who was probing well from behind the scrum. Then Wrexham unaccountably lost their way and exposed some frailties in their defence, Newtown seizing on this slackness to grab a converted try.

The visitors tried to respond and had a couple of chances to add to their score, only a knock-on and a forward pass denying them. The loss of Morris with a head injury didn’t help matters and Newtown finished the half by adding an unconverted try to extend their score to 12-3.

An early second-half penalty by the home side, followed by another converted try, left Wrexham with a mountain to climb. Injuries to prop Ian Sanger and lock Joss Stott also sapped their strength, but they revived a little when assistant coach Stuart Milne entered the fray as a back-row replacement and sparked a late resurgence.

Newtown, with their minds on the return leg at Wrexham on Wednesday 25th November, tried as hard as they could to score some more points and they succeeded by grabbing a late try and conversion to put the tie almost beyond Wrexham’s reach.

 Coach Marc Roberts was clearly disappointed by his team’s performance when he said afterwards, “We played a bit better in the second-half but overall it was a big step backwards for us. We weren’t mentally prepared for this game and lost to a side that played well and was much hungrier for success. There’s a lot of work to be done before we meet again at Wrexham.”     

WREXHAM  14   Bangor  0

Wrexham kept up the pressure on the leading group in North Wales Division Two with a hard-earned 14-0 home victory over bottom club Bangor. Fielding a young side ravaged by injuries and unavailability, they never looked like securing a prized bonus point against the much-improved visitors, but they acquitted themselves well and deserved their success.

Early pressure from the home pack, backed up by the tactical kicking of outside-half John Gormley, put Bangor on the defensive and they conceded a 6th minute penalty. Scrum-half Kieran Morris’s kick from half-way put Wrexham ahead and, with lock Ian Sanger and flanker Danny Sissons in sparkling form, they soon widened the gap with another Morris penalty.

The home forwards camped on the Bangor line for lengthy periods in the second quarter but keen defensive work by the visitors and the lack of a cutting edge in Wrexham’s backs prevented a try from being scored. Eventually the Gwynedd side conceded another penalty and Morris made no mistake with his attempt to stretch Wrexham’s lead to nine points.

With the prospect of having to face a stiff breeze in the second-half, a try was desperately needed by Wrexham. It eventually came in the 39th minute when Morris and Gormley worked the ball to the right, it was snapped up by the forwards and prop Wayne Roberts emerged to plant the ball firmly over the line near the corner. Morris’s conversion flew just wide of the posts

Bangor used the wind to put pressure on Wrexham full-back Andy Clutton from the start of the second-half but he managed to catch everything kicked at him and countered with several attacking runs. Further progress was difficult because, with only two members of the home pack playing in their best position, the scrum understandably creaked under pressure and the line-out didn’t function as well as usual.

However, with Sissons and number eight Tim Roberts tackling effectively and prop Joss Stott making the occasional surging run towards the Bangor 22, Wrexham coped well with the best that Bangor could muster. There were flashes of what could be achieved when centres Butjilani Hanyane and Ben Cheesbrough managed to cut through at pace, but support arrived just a bit too late and Wrexham had to content themselves with a clear but low scoring victory.

WREXHAM  13   Rhos  7

Wrexham came out on top of their local derby against Rhos in North East Wales Division Two, thanks to a determined second-half comeback at Bryn Estyn Road and a neat try by full-back Andy Clutton.

The home side started well and were in almost complete control for the first quarter with Kieran Morris making his first appearance of the season at scrum-half and flanker Troy Roberts having a great game in the back-row. They spurned penalty kicks to seek tries and were unlucky not to have been awarded a try when Mike Jones was alleged to have not grounded the ball from a 5 metre scrum. Rhos weathered the storm with some resolute defending and a mixture of wrong options and unforced errors enabled the visitors to contain Wrexham’s best attacks.

Rhos missed a penalty after 20 mins then against the run of play, went ahead when a ball was dropped by a home player and Richard Jones was able to gather and score between the uprights, former Wrexham centre Jon Davies adding the conversion. Wrexham fought back before the end of the half, however and reduced the arrears with a penalty from John Gormley.

Rhos continued to incur penalties as they ‘killed the ball’ in the second-half and frustrations reached boiling point as the referee kept the yellow card in his pocket. The match official had no hesitation however; in showing a red card to Wrexham number eight Mike Jones for an alleged swing of the arm at an opponent.

Down to 14 men and trailing by 4 points, Wrexham did well to recover their composure. Soon after a Rhos player was at last sin binned for a technical offence before centre Simon Williams drove over for a ‘try’ that was subsequently disallowed. The home forwards kept up the pressure, however, and from a scrum the ball was moved towards the ‘blind side’ for Andy Clutton to cut through and score.

Morris added the extra points with a conversion and then kicked a penalty to clinch the game soon after Rhos had another player yellow carded. This victory earned Wrexham a league double over their close neighbours but came at a cost, lock Jason Reano having had to be replaced when he dislocated a finger and Mike Jones facing a suspension.  

Bethesda   29   WREXHAM   6

Wrexham continued to improve and stretched Division Two East leaders Bethesda at Dol Ddafydd, but they still managed to put themselves under pressure with simple errors and ended up 6-29 losers.

18 year old flanker Troy Roberts gave an outstanding performance in the match before leaving with an injury in the second-half, but it was unfortunate that he gave away a try to the home side in the 1st minute of the game. Attempting to keep a ball in play from a high kick, he inadvertently palmed the ball into the hands of Bethesda winger Gareth Edwards who ran on to score under the posts. Outside-half Mathew Parry added an easy conversion.

That stimulated Wrexham into a powerful response that limited any creative play from the home side. As they demonstrated in last week’s game against Bala, the visitors tackled keenly and pressed Bethesda into a string of infringements for which they were penalised, but not sin-binned. Outside-half John Gormley, playing his first senior game of the season, kicked two penalties to cut the home side’s advantage to only one point.

The visitors nearly took the lead in the 34th minute when full-back Andy Clutton was poised to score on the Bethesda line, but a fumble led to the ‘try’ being disallowed and the home forwards hacked downfield to put Wrexham under pressure. Skipper Guy Bingham was suddenly sent to the sin-bin for straying offside at a ruck and the home side sensed an advantage at last.

They camped in the Wrexham 22 and tried several times to create a pushover try, all attempts repulsed by Wrexham’s gallant seven until the last minute of the half when number eight Jamie Roberts claimed the touchdown. Outside-half Gareth Edwards failed with his conversion to leave the score at 12-6 in Bethesda’s favour at the break.

Two minutes after the start of the second-half, with Bingham still in the sin-bin, Bethesda increased their score when Gareth Edwards broke through to score his second try of the game wide-out. Then Wrexham were forced to replace their outstanding flanker Troy Roberts, bringing on Wayne Roberts and making a major reshuffle.

A sliced clearance in the 59th minute let in flanker Arwyn Griffiths for the home side’s fourth try, converted by Parry, but Wrexham didn’t give up and put together some excellent passages of play. Although John Gormley acquitted himself well on his return at outside-half and Sion Lloyd-Jones excelled on his First Team debut on the wing, the scores just wouldn’t come.

It was Bethesda who had the last word in injury time as Mathew Parry claimed a try to add to his earlier two conversions. Wrexham coach Marc Roberts said afterwards, “It was frustrating but the better side won. The team is on a learning curve and we had new players today at fly-half and on the wing, but we lived with the league leaders for at least 60 minutes of the game and will step up again from this”. 

WREXHAM  10   Bala  14

Wrexham suffered a second successive home defeat when they lost to Bala by 10-14, but a late fightback which forced the visitors to hold on desperately at the end at least ensured that they gained a losing bonus point and finished the match with some pride.

The first-half was well contested with Wrexham’s defence holding up well against a lively Bala threequarter line and outside-half Roger Chadwick kicking well to put Bala under pressure. Simon Williams rattled his opponents with several good tackles while his centre partner, Ben Cheesbrough, chose intelligent lines of attack to expose the Bala defence.

Although the scrum was often shunted backwards as locks Mike Jones and Joss Stott worked hard to cement a new second-row combination, the pair provided Wrexham with a stream of possession from the line-out. What let the home side down was the inability of their backline to transfer the ball in attack, dropped balls from long misdirected passes being a regular feature.

Bala had an opportunity to open the scoring in the 20th minute when the home forwards failed to release under pressure, but full-back Rhyddian Jones miscued his shot at the posts. Wrexham recovered and camped in the visitors 22, with hooker Danny Sissons nearly making it to the Bala line before Chapman at last opened the scoring with a well struck 28th minute penalty.

That proved to be the difference between the sides at the break and Wrexham then opened the second-half with a great line-out catch from Stott. Bala, however, soon pressed with a series of attacks in the home 22 and capitalised on the chargedown of an attempted clearance kick by releasing centre Gareth Owen to score under the posts, Rhyddian Jones converting.

Wrexham came under more pressure soon afterwards but managed to survive and then grew in strength as the introduction of replacement forward Ian Sanger gave them the edge in the scrums. Powerful runs by flankers Troy Roberts and Keir Harding led to Bala conceding penalties and Roger Chadwick was unlucky to miss the target with kicks in the 57th and 61st minutes.

Then, against the run of play, the ball was dropped in an attacking movement in the 66th minute and in the confusion Bala centre George Davies gratefully scooped it up and raced away to score beneath the uprights, Jones again adding a simple conversion.

That was a hammer blow to Wrexham’s hopes but they soon came back with some great driving play from their forwards and improved passing from the backs. When Ian Sanger surged to the Bala line from a 76th minute tap penalty, the young Troy Roberts used his strength to finish off the move with a deserved try that Chadwick converted.

A rejuvenated Wrexham came back for more but, although there had been considerable stoppage time for injuries in the second-half, the referee decided not play any extra time and Bala emerged with a narrow victory. Coach Marc Roberts rued the two errors that condemned his side to defeat but said, “Defensively it was a massive improvement for us, and the players are responding well to our new structure of play.”

WREXHAM  10    Rhyl  20

Wrexham suffered their first defeat of the season when they were beaten 20-10 at home by Rhyl in a North Wales Division Two contest.

It was a game that they could have won, having controlled matters up front for most of game and forced Rhyl to concede a series of penalties. However, they failed to capitalise on the pressure that they exerted and were then caught napping in identical circumstances to concede two damaging tries under their posts.

Wrexham deserved to take an early lead when the visitors were penalised for not releasing the ball, but outside-half Roger Chadwick’s kick fell wide of the target. Despite that setback, the home pack dominated the forward exchanges until Rhyl forced their way into the home 22 and created space for centre Rob Tiley to score, full-back Adam Kirby adding the conversion.

The home side continued to press and won another penalty in the 22nd minute. Unfortunately Chadwick was again unsuccessful and then further attempts by Wrexham to get on terms were ruined by handling errors and the choice of wrong attacking options. Rhyl offered very little, but when they did work their way upfield just before half-time Tiley broke through to score again and Kirby converted for a 14-0 lead.

A dropped ball by Wrexham at the start of the second-half led to Rhyl being awarded a penalty that Kirby kicked successfully. Stung by this reverse, the home stormed back and, when Rhyl were penalised again, scrum-half John Roberts took a quick tap penalty. Flanker Troy Roberts carried the ball to the line and slipped it to his back-row partner Keir Harding who crashed over for a deserved try.

Chadwick rediscovered his kicking form by striking a difficult conversion and then added an excellent penalty in the 48th minute when the referee finally lost his patience with Rhyl for their persistent infringements and sent Tiley to the sin bin. The scene was set for the home side to make use of their one-man advantage and overtake the visitors at last.

However, injuries to John Roberts, number eight Ian Sanger and lock Jason Parry had sapped the power of Wrexham in the forward exchanges and Rhyl started to gain the ascendancy. Winning possession enabled the visitors to stretch the home defence at last and they put the game beyond doubt in the 61st minute when Kirby slotted a fine penalty.

Afterwards, Wrexham skipper Guy Bingham reflected on the game and said, “We’ve been employing a game plan for the last four weeks that has proved successful. Unfortunately, for some reason, we didn’t apply it this time and the result was that we lost. We’ll learn from this because we’ll have to be at our best for the visit of Bala to us next Saturday.”

Rhos 14   WREXHAM  24

Wrexham produced a rusty performance but still had enough ability to see off the challenge of rivals Rhos in a 24-14 away success.

Trailing 14-7 at the break, Marc Roberts’ men came out of the traps with more purpose after the turnaround and put some neat passages of play together.

Simon Williams was on hand to bag two tries for Wrexham alongside a single maximum from Andy Clutton. Two conversions and a penalty wrapped up the triumph, although there is still room for improvement.

Speaking about the game, Roberts said: “It was a win. I will definitely call it that.
“Rhos came out of the blocks better to begin with and thoroughly warranted the 14-7 lead they had at half-time. We gave some poor penalties away and it was not the best start.

“The second half was better and we started to use a better framework and gameplan and scored two tries off the back of it.

“The work we started to put in was good to see but their is a long way to go.

“Perhaps 10 or 15 minutes of the second half showed what we can do and was where I want us to be. Some parts were good from us though and as I said it was a win from our first game.”

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