RGC U.16s went agonisingly to completing their first bloc of Regional Age Grade Games this season unbeaten but came up agonisingly short as they went down by a single point 22-21 to a highly skillful Scarlets West side at St Clears RFC on Sunday.
Although RGC arrived at St Clears in a heavy downpour, the rain soon cleared and the game was played in Summer like sunshine. It was the North Wales youngsters who started best and after a series of pick and drives close to the home sideline it was second row Ellis Evans who crossed for the opening score.- His try being converted by full-back Grufudd Ab Ieuan.
However within a couple of minutes the hosts had pulled level through a try of their own from their outstanding full-back Josh Hathaway. They were to extend their lead further through wing Dafydd Jones and when Hathaway scored his second ten minutes from half-time it looked like it might be a long afternoon for the young Gogs. However showing the positive attitude that has been present throughout their RAG campaign, with skipper Gareth Parry very much to the forefront, they came back strongly and were rewarded just before half-time when flanker Will Lydford powered his way over.Ab Ieuan again added the extras.
The second half started in the same way that the first half had ended with RGC very much in the ascendancy and they were rewarded when replacement centre Dei Owen hit a great line and touched down untouched to the side of the posts. With Ab Ieuan again making the conversion, RGC led 21-17. For the next 20 minutes the game ebbed and flowed with both sides outstanding defence snuffing out all attacking options, but then 4 minutes from time the Scarlets replacement scrum-half Tomos Hughes collected a pass just inside the RGC half and split the RGC defence to score in the left-hand corner. With the conversion being unsuccessful the Scarlets led 22-21. Back RGC came again and with a minute to go it looked like they might score themselves in the opposite but with the final pass going to ground, the chance was lost and the Scarlets ran down the clock to edge a pulsating game by a single point.
Post-match, RGC 16s Head Coach Gav Hodgkinson couldn't hide his disappointment at the result:
' I really do feel for all 23 players who were out on the pitch. They put in a magnificent effort, as they have in every game this season, and I couldn't have asked for anymore. We felt that we did enough to win but I don't want to take anything away from the Scarlets West side who played some great Rugby and at the end of the day possibly took their scoring chances better than we took ours. There are still a huge amount of positives to take from this first bloc of fixtures and the players now have a well deserved week before we start preparing for the second round of games in this years RAG Competition.'