RGC put in a top drawer performance in front of a record Eirias crowd of 2,814 to beat Pontypridd running in 6 tries.
Andrew Williams got his sides first try of the game “Although we were 10 nil down, we felt that was down to own doing and our lack of control. We were dominating the play and once we got that try we never looked back”
“The game today felt different in regards to the big crowd, and it hit us all when we ran out before the game. The occasion was also helped by the large Pontypridd contingent who came up North. We have claimed a top 8 finish, and I think we have surpassed everyone’s expectations. The group of players are pretty much the same as that from the Championship, but we have all worked hard to get into the top 8. We now have to work hard to back it up in the 2nd half of the season.
The visitors opened the scoring with a penalty from Lewis Williams and then they knocked the wind out of RGC with a try on the 10 minute mark. RGC were on the attack when Ponty cleared the ball down the field to Afon Bagshaw, but the fullbacks kick was charged down and collected by Dale Stuckley to score. Williams added the conversion.
From that point RGC looked to gain more control of the game and Botica nudged the penalty over to get them on the board.
It was Bagshaw that was instrumental in the next try when he broke the gain line to set up Andrew Williams who was supporting to score under the posts. Jacob Botica had a simple kick to level the scores.
The attacking continued for RGC and Botica was looking to give the ball to the backline at every opportunity. Ponty were pushed back on their line and stood tall to defend it. Since RGC couldn’t run through Botica decided to dink the ball over the defence with his boot and Bagshaw was able to collect and touchdown. Fly-half Botica hit the conversion.
Bagshaw was having an inspired half and his powerful run opened up the space before he passed to winger Aron Evans who fired up the afterburners to sprint over.
The game was flowing well, with referee Nigel Owens playing his part in keeping the game moving as much as possible.
Head Coach Mark Jones has instilled in his side the willingness to recycle the ball quickly at the breakdown, and Alex Schwarz has been a vital cog in getting the ball and moving it with speed.
Pontypridd were struggling to stop the running from RGC and Sam Jones was next to test the visitors with a charge down the left wing before Evan Yardley made a barnstorming run to give Aron Evans another opportunity but he was put into touch as the half time whistle went.
The 2nd half continued in the same way, with some more breath-taking rugby from RGC. Tiaan Loots caused some problems with a dart down the pitch before Tom Hughes got the bonus point score. The centre spotted a gap and went under posts. The simple conversion was taken by Botica.
The visitors got back into the game with a try from Dafydd Lockyer with Williams getting the extras. Ponty had their tails up and they looked like a team gaining confidence.
Minutes later Nigel Owens awarded RGC a penalty, and Jacob Botica opted to have a go from just in from the half-way line. The fly-half smashed the ball between the posts, and it felt like the crucial score in terms of the result.
If the backs were lighting up the game, then the forwards were winning the arm wrestle at the scrum as the game went on.
Aron Evans added his 2nd try of the game in the corner before Botica hit the conversion. Soon after Botica hit another penalty in another good day with the boot.
Try number 6 came from replacement Danny Cross after some good work from Danny Cross, and the Eirias faithful were on their feet celebrating an impressive performance that sets RGC up for the Principality Top 8 split in February.
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