There can not have been too many times over the past few years when Bethesda Rugby Club have led the WRU Division One North table, so the current sight of the Ogwen outfit sitting at the peak must be a heartwarming one for Howgets fans.
Pesda have won seven of their eight matches so far, proving they just might be the real deal this season with quality away victories over the likes of Pwllheli (15-11), Bala (27-20) and Nant Conwy (32-24).
The Dôl Dafydd club’s only loss came at home to champions Llandudno by 13 points to seven at the end of September. Tudno have a 100% record of seven straight wins and are just one point behind Pesda with a game in hand.
But there is no doubt these are exciting times for Bethesda RFC, whose facilities have been improved by a magnificent new clubhouse opened this season.
Pesda went top of Division One North with a hard-fought 18-9 victory at Dolgellau last Saturday.
Full-back Gethin Long, with two late penalties and a try in injury time, sealed the points Bethesda’s way when it looked as if a courageous display from Dolgellau would provide a big upset against the high flying visitors.
Dol had defended heroically before just past the 30-minute mark, Pesda scrum-half Carwyn Williams squeezed through the narrowest of gaps to touch down out on the left. Long’s conversion made it 7-0.
With five minutes of the half remaining, Dolgellau centre Gwion Jones put over a penalty from more than 40 metres out.
Jones reduced the deficit to a single point five minutes into a tense, entertaining and competitive second half with another penalty.
Long fluffed an easy penalty before Dolgellau deservedly went ahead after a quarter of an hour. Bethesda prop Scott Bullock was shown a yellow card for indiscipline at the ruck, giving Jones the opportunity to split the posts for 9-7.
With less than 10 minutes remaining, Long kicked Pesda back in front and he soon added a second penalty to give them some breathing space.
Dolgellau responded, going in search of glory and a match-winning try, but in injury time, they fluffed a blind-side move and Pesda No 8 Arwyn Griffith sped away up field. The ball was worked right for Long to score right in the right corner to seal it for the visitors.
Ruthin 16 Llandudno 22
Champions Llandudno were made to work hard for a six-point victory at Cae Ddol.
Three Ryan Pike penalties, against two from the home side’s Nathan Jones, gave Tudno a 9-6 half time lead.
Ruthin came out with all guns blazing at the start of the second period, leading to a try from fly-half Iestyn Davies, which Jones converted.
The home lead was short-lived as a clearance kick was charged down by Lewis Jones, who followed up to ground the ball over the try-line, Pike adding the extras to make it 16-13 to the visitors.
Pike and Jones exchanged further penalties before Arthur Lennon sealed it for the title-holders with a drop-goal.
Pwllheli 22 Bala 23
A match-winning try six minutes into added time left visitors Bala rightfully jubilant.
This was very much the archetypal game of two halves. Pwllheli were dominant in the first period but the Lakesiders were far the stronger in the second half.
Veteran talisman Geraint Parry crashed over for an early home converted try and after further pressure wing Alan Roberts landed a penalty for 10-0.
The game opened up with Bala’s backs giving the ball some air.
Pwllheli responded with a 29th minute score which typified their play over the years. They countered a loose kick ahead and inter-passed fully 50 metres before putting in a delicate grubber kick. Left wing Arwel Thomas’ pace saw him speed past the cover to touch down.
Bala hit back with a try before the break to make it 15-5.
The tables turned in the second period. Out of nowhere Bala had the edge in the scrums and their lineout remained secure
Two penalties were followed by a converted try to hand the away side an 18-15 lead.
Pwllheli tried to respond and their labour was rewarded after 32 minutes when centre and captain John Pugh charged down a would-be relieving kick by Bala. Pugh kept his composure and sped over the try-line, Osian Parry Jones converting for a narrow 22-18 lead.
Bala upped several gears and deep into added time, following two penalties and three scrums with their put in within five metres of the Pwllheli line, they inevitably squeezed over to score the decisive try.
Results – Saturday, November 23
RGC 23 Ebbw Vale 31
WRU Division One North
Llangefni 32 Dinbych 20
Caernarfon 21 COBRA 3
Dolgellau 9 Bethesda 18
Pwllheli 22 Bala 23
Bro Ffestiniog 8 Nant Conwy 43
Ruthin 16 Llandudno 22
WRU Division Two North
Rhyl 6 Wrexham 12
Shotton 0 Mold 17
Abergele 19 Bangor 6
Teirw Nant 27 Newtown 5
Welshpool 33 Llanidloes 5
WRU Division Three North
Mold 2nds 3 Dinbych 2nds 21
Machynlleth 19 Wrexham 2nds 13
Pwllheli 2nds 0 Flint 50
Rhos 10 Holyhead 25
Ruthin 2nds 28 Menai Bridge 10