Young bucks show skills
PWLLHELI Rugby Club will look to make it six straight wins in Division One North when they host Bro Ffestiniog this Saturday (2.30pm).
The in-form Llyn side maintained their run of victories in all competitions last weekend by recovering from 15 points down to beat Ruthin 19-15 at Bodegroes in the Rybrook Land Rover Conwy North Wales Cup.
Pwll started with a muchchanged team, several younger players being given the opportunity to show their skills.
From the outset it was very evident Ruthin were up for the match, the visitors keeping the ball well and taking the game to their hosts.
After only eight minutes, they scored a try through second row Richard Williams.
Pwllheli were unusually disjointed and their ball-handling skills were not to the usual level. Though Ruthin had a centre yellow-carded on 18 minutes, the red and greens were unable to take advantage.
Ruthin countered from a loose kick on 33 minutes, beating the onrushing home cover and creating space for full-back Iestyn Davies to score wide out.
The hosts then lost prop Tudur Griffiths through injury and he was replaced by veteran Alwyn Trenholme.
The game became very attritional with the teams scrapping for every ball. Pwllheli struggled to assert any continuity and Ruthin dealt well with the strong wind in their faces.
It was the travellers who scored next when, three minutes into added time, they capitalised on some confusion in the Pwllheli defence for flanker Tudor Parry to crash over to score his team’s third try. A third conversion attempt was crucially missed, making it 15-0 at half time.
Pwllheli made two back-line changes at the break, with Nick Butterworth and Mathew Hardy coming on as replacements.
It was Ruthin who now had the wind with them but, perversely, this played in Pwllheli’s favour. They were more secure with ball in hand and almost immediately cut the deficit.
Countering from deep and making ground on the left, the hosts decided to keep the ball tight. The well-organised Ruthin defence initially held out, but Pwll persevered and had their reward when captain Tom Parry forced himself over. Butterworth slotted the conversion.
The game now had a different feel to it as Pwll’s confidence grew.
On 10 minutes, the home team again worked themselves into the red zone. Ruthin’s defensive commitment was huge but they succumbed when Butterworth pow- ered over to score. His conversion made it 15-14.
The next 20 minutes were an arm wrestle and, as the tempo raised, so did the ferocity of the tackling. It was perhaps no surprise that Ruthin had a player red-carded for a dangerous looking tip-tackle.
Despite their numerical advantage Pwllheli found it difficult to pierce the visiting cover and it was not until the 34th minute that they finally broke the impasse, Butterworth again squeezing over far out on the right.
Ruthin realised the game was still there to be won and threw the kitchen sink but, despite Pwllheli finding themselves down to 14 men through injury, their determination saw them through.
Pwll will now play either Caernarfon or Bala in the next round.
Pwllheli seconds are also at home this Saturday in Division Three North, Holyhead being the opposition.
Pwllheli (red shorts) get to grips with their Ruthin counterparts at Bodegroes