LLANTWIT FARDRE 35
DESPITE slipping out of the SWALEC Plate, Ruthin provided an excellent performance during their daunting fourth round trek to Division Two outfit Llantwit Fardre.
A quick look at the scoreline would give the false impression that Fardre had run away with this game, holding the visitors to a converted try in each half, but in reality the Blues fought hard until midway through the second half when Fardre’s superior fitness began to tell.
Although they arrived shortly before kick-off, there was no sign of rustiness as Ruthin started the tie strongly.
They went ahead after only five minutes of play with a penalty try award.
Ruthin’s pack took control in the opening minutes and they secured three penalty awards in the opening stages.
Each of the penalties went to touch to be mauled towards the line, with the referee finally losing patience and awarding a penalty try that was easily converted by scrum-half Wil Davies.
Despite further good play by the Blues, Llantwit Fardre reduced the arrears with an unconverted try from centre Oliver Turton 10 minutes later, and the home side had their noses in front courtesy of a penalty from Carl Thomas after a maul was collapsed.
Although the lads from Cae Ddol were having plenty of possession and territory, they had difficulty countering Llantwit’s fast-running backs and the home side went over for a second try from Keiron Evans, putting them 13-7 ahead at the interval.
Ruthin’s forwards were playing well and gaining the upper hand in the scrums and after the break, the first points opportunity went to Ruthin with a penalty goal attempt that went wide.
The Blues continued to pressurise Llantwit and after Ruthin won a scrum against the head, replacement Ben Syme jigged past a couple of home defenders and passed to second row Chris Davies who battled through the remaining defence for a great try.
The conversion by Wil Davies put Ruthin ahead at 14-13.
The advantage was short-lived as Llantwit Fardre regained the lead when they drove over for a third try through Dominic Masters.
This was converted by Carl Thomas, who then nailed a penalty goal to put the South Walians more than a score clear.
With 10 minutes to go the home side’s fast running led to a further two tries putting the game out of the reach of the Blues.
Steve James joined the line from full back to cross in the corner for the hosts and immediately after the forwards decided to keep the ball and allow Lewis James to cross for a converted try.
Ruthin refused to throw in the towel and the last play of the match saw them pressurising the home side’s line, but to no avail.
This was an excellent performance by Ruthin, continuing their improvement in form over the last few games and the display bodes well for their second leg North Wales Cup quarter-final tie at Pwllheli on Saturday, with the Blues defending a slender 15-13 advantage.