Win for Pwll – and rugby
PWLLHELI proved they are more than capable of launching a big challenge to win their title back this season after beating champions Nant Conwy 33-22 away from home last Saturday.
Winners of Division One North three years in a row before Nant ended the sequence last term, the Llŷn side maintained their 100% record for the current campaign while scuppering the Conwy Valley team’s unbeaten start to 2018/19.
Pwllheli started stronger and were competitive throughout in the set pieces and the loose.
After five minutes forwards and backs combined to give full-back John Pugh space out on the right wing. His pace took him beyond the despairing defenders and he touched down in the corner.
Nant came back at their opponents and were awarded an offside penalty, duly slotted by wing Steffan Horan.
Unfortunately, on eight minutes, Nant lost prop Gwynfor Morris with a hand injury.
The visitors persevered with their game plan and, on 27 minutes, the pack drove at the Nant line. They remained patient and an opening was finally made for flanker Dafydd Anwyl to force his way over, Osian Parry Jones converting from wide.
Again Nant responded strongly and, following an excellent break by their fly-half, centre Ifan Jones was on hand to breach the Pwllheli cover and score under the posts. Horan added the two points. Half time came with Pwllheli leading 12-10. The second period started with ex-captain Nick Butterworth being brought on as a substitute by Pwllheli. He and fellow half-back Danial Williams used the elements effectively, pinning Nant back and the travellers capitalised on their territorial advantage.
On six minutes, centre Ianto Parri beat the cover for pace and power to score, Butterworth adding the conversion.
The Llŷn men maintained the pressure but a series of three successive kicks awarded by the referee took Nant to within metres of the Pwllheli line.
They drove on from the lineout and No8 Carwyn Ellis scored his side’s second try. Horan converted with an excellent kick.
Nant then saw their lock Carwyn Roberts carded for killing the ball. Within a minute, Pwllheli extended the lead with a captain’s try from No8 Tom Parry. Again Butterworth added the extras to put the visitors 26-17 ahead.
The dominance of the Pwllheli eight continued and, on 26 minutes, Tom Parry again finished off a series of driving mauls, Butterworth boosting with the boot.
Pwllheli went down to 14 players for the rest of the match as flanker Elis Griffith was yellow carded for lying on. Nant now chased the game and scored via a try by full-back Caron Davies.
The game ended with Pwllheli again having the upper hand, despite being a man down.
Pwll will have concerns that, despite their overwhelming dominance of the set scrums, they were baffled by being regularly penalised for scrum offences.
Notwithstanding this, they can be pleased with their day’s work as they secured a bonus point win by scoring five tries to Nant’s three.
This was a competitive match where rugby was the winner.
Both teams played well and gave all they had. Pwllheli RFC thank their loyal supporters who matched the home fans in numbers.
Pwllheli’s win means that, since season 201314, they have won six and drawn one of the last 11 league matches between these two proud clubs. Amazingly both sides have scored 201 points during this period.
Pwllheli’s John Pugh, pictured in action against Bethesda, scored his team’s first try in their win at Nant Conwy