Raiders move off bottom
Wrexham Bradley Raiders RFC
Flintshire Falcons RFC
|Venue:||The Park, LL11 4DA|
|Date:||Saturday 7th July 2012|
|Competition:||Welsh Conference - North Wales Championship|
By Ryan Gould
Wrexham Bradley Raiders moved off bottom spot for the first time this season with a 36-28 victory in what was an end-to-end encounter, with both sides eager to record their first points of the year.
Both sides were playing with thin squads – failing to field a full 17-man squad – and this made for a long, hard game, especially for those in the forwards.
The heavy rainfall in the days prior to this fixture certainly didn’t help, with patches of surface water on the pitch. But the players in both camps adapted well and some expansive rugby league was played in conditions that weren’t ideal.
However, it looked as if it was going to be one of those days again for the Raiders as they trailed by 10 points after as many minutes. Gordon Rodgers and Alan Burn both darted over for tries under the sticks, with Jamie Elder converting one.
That sparked a response as the Raiders went in for two tries in three minutes. The first came from Sam Dawson as he found his way through a hole in the Falcons defence to ground next to the posts.
The second of those two efforts came from Daf Rowlands after the ball was shifted left, and that gave him the space to score. Mike Jones added the extras for both tries and that took them into a 12-10 lead.
Flintshire then regained their lead with a try from Lee Burn, but Gaz Owen cancelled that out with a try of his own, which took the Wrexham side into an 18-14 lead at the break, as Jamie Elder failed with his conversion attempt.
The first half was closely contested with a real desire for the two points, but the second half stepped up to another level, with the half featuring some ferocious tackles – that were legal – and audacious attacking plays.
The Bradley Raiders increased their lead further midway into the half as Gaz Owen managed to stretch out and ground the ball on the line following a penalty. Mike Jones added the extras once again, 24-14.
A reply came from the Falcons soon after, Jack Coleclough hitting the line and managing to push his way over to touchdown under the posts. Jamie Elder did manage to covert the try this time, 24-20.
Coleclough’s score came on the back of a penalty, which also saw his team-mate sin-binned for dissent, and that proved crucial as the home side went in for two tries in that period to take them into a 36-20 lead with just eight minutes left.
Firstly, Rob Morris saw off several attempting tacklers as his superb drive from 20 metres out saw him find his way over.
And then Daf Rowlands’ weaving run from a deep allowed him to break several tackles, and he managed to touch down underneath the posts. Mike Jones goaled both tries to keep his one hundred percent conversion rate intact.
With just eight minutes left the Flintshire-based club had to come up with something, and they did, but it proved to be too late as two further tries wasn’t enough.
The first came from Jack Coleclough with his second as his side shifted the ball to the right wing, and he went over in the corner. Jamie Elder added the other, but he couldn’t convert his own try.
The fixture concluded with that score, and the reaction from the Raiders staff and players gave the impression they’d won a cup final. But after the heavy results they have picked up of late, this will have been a much-welcomed victory and points on the board.
It all came down to the kicking game in the end, as both sides went over for six scores on the day - Mike Jones’ goal kicking was impeccable and was ultimately the difference between victory and defeat.