8th July 2012, 09:34
Conference reports - 7th July
There were four games that went ahead on Saturday, two in both the North and the South, and we have match reports for them all here.
North Wales Conference
Dee Valley Dragons 56-22 Conwy Celts
Valley Dragons picked up their third win of the North Wales Conference campaign, moving them into second position thanks to a powerful defensive display against the Conwy Celts.
With both teams missing a number of squad members through various commitments, it was sure to be a close game to call.
However, from the first whistle the Dragons gave the Celts problems in defence, and the Celts had trouble with the threat they posed.
They started to go through the gears after just first two minutes, and thanks to Dafydd Jones they took lead, as he supported a line break to score.
Their lead was increased just minutes later as Mike Daniels made a strong run through the Celts defence to touch down.
The Celts then struck back with their first attack of the game, it came close to the Dragons’ line and they capitalised on the field position to gain a well earned score under the posts.
Some good running and strong defensive work kept their opponents out, and this enabled the Dragons to reply on their next drive, with Steffan Parry scoring under the posts following some great support play.
The hosts scored a further three tries before the half time interval, with Paul Jones running the length of the pitch for his score, Mike Daniels scoring his second and Dylan Roberts breaking the line to touch down from short range.
The Celts only had one score in reply, so the Dragons went into half time with a 32-10 lead.
The first 15 minutes of the second half was largely played inside the Dragons’ 30 metres, and this was due to mistakes on the home sides behalf, giving the Celts the chance to attack the Dee Valley defence time after time.
But the Dragons held firm with some great tackling off their line, although the Corwen side did look worried when it seemed there was a possibility of a replication of the reverse fixture in the season, where the Celts overturned a 10-point deficit to claim victory.
The Dee Valley outfit then regained some composure, and an interception from Dafydd Jones within his own 30-metres got the ball rolling again.
The next Dragons try was also a long range effort with Huw Jones showing good strength to score under the posts, and this was followed by Mike Daniels grabbing his hat-rick down the left wing.
A few weak tackles from the Dragons then allowed the Celts to cross over for their final score of the afternoon, but that was overseen by another try from the home side.
It came from a quick penalty as Paul Jones took advantage of a gap in the defence to break through, and his brother Barry was in supply to score the first of his career, which rounded off a great afternoon for the Dragons.
Wrexham Bradley Raiders 36-28 Flintshire Falcons
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 100% 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.
South Wales Premier Division
Bonymaen Broncos 46-18 Valley Cougars
In the much-anticipated return match of the season, both sides lived up to all expectations. And despite poor discipline from the Broncos - which saw one man being sent off and three yellow carded - they came out on top, 46-18.
The Cougars began the game kicking with the wind and it certainly helped them early on when the Broncos scored a try within the first 30 seconds, a great pass by Stuart Allen putting Jason Howells through to score from 50 meters. Ian Brooks converted for 6-0.
Within minutes of the kick off, a huge hit by Broncos captain Richard Brooks on the Cougars’ Scott Belmont resulted in a turnover, which lead to Ian Brooks scoring from 40 meters out. Brooks converted his own try to increase their lead to 12-0.
The game then became very scrappy as both sides tried to out-muscle each other, but with a few unnecessary penalties conceded by both sides in doing so.
After several warnings referee Ian Jones had enough though, as he sent captain Richard Brooks to the sin-bin for an illegal tackle. Within seconds the Broncos were down to 11 men, Ricky Rosser this time being shown the yellow card.
With the two-man advantage, the Cougars rallied and scored a try by Mark Powell, which was converted from the touchline by Daniel Parry for 12-6.
From the restart, Chris Stokes went over following a successful kick and chase. Ian Brooks goaled yet another try, and that took the score to 18-6.
Almost immediately after the restart, another kick and chase - this one being rather speculative - from full back Chris Hoppe resulted in another try, and that made it 22-6 at the break with Brooks this time missing the conversion.
The Cougars started the second half supperbly, and in flying fashion. Neil Sloane went over in the corner for their second try of the afternoon, and the four points was turned into six by Dan Parry for 22-12.
The Broncos second half didn’t start so well, and their discipline cost them further with skipper Richard Brooks firstly being red carded, and then winger Chris Stokes was given ten minutes for a dangerous tackle.
The Cougars once again took full advantage of their advantage in terms of numbers and Mike Herbert crossed the line, with Parry converting once again, and that took the score to 22-18.
Once Stokes returned, it brought the best out of the Broncos and they went on to score further tries, compared to the Cougars’ none, which sealed the game for them.
Loose forward Dan Griffiths went over for two tries, one being converted by Brooks, and the goal kicker went over for a score himself which increased their advantage.
The next touch down came from Richard Lewis, and this was following a great run from deep in what was a spectacular solo effort. Stuart Allen narrowly missed the conversion, 38-18.
Another Broncos man was sent to the bin by the referee, and this gave the Cougars a great chance once again. As they pushed for a try Nick Clancey picked up a loose carry for the Broncos, and he sprinted 80 metres to score under the posts. Ian Brooks goaled, and this completed the scoring at 46-18.
Dyffryn Devils 36-50 Titans RLFC
On a surprisingly sunny afternoon in Penybanc – considering the abysmal weather we’ve had recently – the Devils game went ahead, and they entertained the Titans.
The visitors will see this as an impressive scalp, travelling down to the west with limited numbers, and playing the majority of the game with 12 men.
Both sides remained strong defensively in the first half when put under pressure, and in the opening stages recognition went to the defensive capabilities of the two sides, rather than the attacking aspect of the game.
However, the defences soon cracked with both sides claiming five tries each before the interval.
Due to the hard work they had to go through in defence, the energy was absorbed out of them and it was far easier for the backs to do damage.
After the break, the Titans looked to have been enthused by the half-time talk, and they ran in for four tries to the Devils’ one, pulling off a convincing away win.