12th May 2012, 14:20
2012 Conference Week One reports
Two big wins in the south whilst history is made in the north
North Wales Championship - Round 1
Conway Celts 34-24 Dee Valley Dragons
Conwy Celts welcomed Dee Valley Dragons in the first game in the newly-formed North Wales Championship.
Both teams started off at a high pace, which resulted in early errors for the home side spilling the ball on the first tackle numerous times; allowing the visitors to build the momentum which lead to their first try.
The Celts then applied pressure of their own and following a strong set they crossed for an unconverted try.
This was not to last as Dee Valley extended the lead with two further tries after some good play found the Celts defence lacking. A try apiece brought the half to an exciting finish, with the Celts trailing 16-24.
The second half started much as the first for the home side as errors plagued their play, but a couple of big tackles and a near length-of-the-field try saving tackle showed the Celts' desire.
Despite being reduced to 11 men, they took the lead for the first time with two tries in the final 15 minutes, before adding a victory-sealing try one minute from time.
Wrexham Bradley Raiders 12-34 Rhyl & Prestatyn Panthers
Wrexham Bradley Raiders slipped to a disappointing defeat on the opening day of the inaugural North Wales Championship season.
A hat-trick from Paul Selwood - enhanced by a brace by Liam Kennedy and a further score - sealed the win Rhyl & Prestatyn Panthers, who were ahead after the first minute.
The Raiders relinquished position in their own half and from there Selwood opened the scoring. Kennedy's two tries followed before Rob Morris' try saw the Raiders open their account on 25 minutes.
Yet it was the Panthers who scored next as Selwood completed his hat-trick before half-time. Wrexham's Matt Whitley got the only try of a tight second half, which saw Kennedy's copybook blotted by an initial yellow-card-turned-red late on, but by then the Panthers had put enough breathing space between the two sides.
Welsh Premier - Round 1
Cardiff Demons 56-12 Newport Titans
Cardiff Demons entertained the Titans to kick off the 2012 season at a sunny Tremorfa Park, and five first half tries for the hosts set the tone for a comprehensive opening day win.
Rob Davies - playing for the Demons after representing South Wales Hornets last weekend - showed his rugby league experience with two tries from the unfamiliar position of half-back.
The home side started as they meant to go, the first touchdown coming after two minutes with good work down the left finding Kyle Blake with space to sprint in unopposed. The lead was shortly doubled - a number of mistimed tackles in the middle of the park enabled Idris Evans to crash through under the posts.
On 24 minutes, after pressure from Cardiff resulted in a goal-line drop-out, the ball was picked up on the right of the field and a quick incisive ball from the wing saw the Demons collect their third try. Dan Henderson managed to convert two, but there was still time for the Demons to touch down again before the interval.
The second half saw an early fight back from the visitors. Using their pace out wide and after their repeated efforts in front of the Demons posts, Cordell broke through the line under heavy pressure to get the Titans on the board.
The Demons responded swiftly; a kick through to the corner set up another try for the home side. Dan Esposito quickly responded for the visitors and converted his own try to reduce the deficit.
Yet the Demons were to have the final say with three tries in the final 15 minutes, which included Davies' brace.
Dyffryn Devils 16-76 Bonymaen Broncos
Bonymaen Broncos, winners of last year's second-tier competition in south Wales, put in an early claim as Conference pace-setters with an overbearing display at Penybanc RFC.
A depleted Dyffryn Devils team put up a spirited resistance, but ultimately the class of the Broncos told.
Devils' young stand-off Ceri Rees kicked off into the wind and the Broncos went straight on the attack. Dyffryn centre Rich Thomas smashed his way through several tackles to set up the first attack before a big hit forced a turnover, from which the Broncos scored and the floodgates quickly opened as a further five tries followed before half-time.
Good work from Owen Williams just after the interval led to an enterprising try for veteran Chris Davies. Another try soon followed with Williams darting over, but the Broncos quickly returned to the devastating form they showed in the first half with further scores.