Clwb Rygbi Caergybi head coach Mei Parry says the team’s amazing march to the WRU National Shield semi-finals has been boosted massively by the support of other North Wales clubs.
The club has been bombarded with good wishes from friends across the north since the Holy Islanders beat Cardiff Saracens 23-13 in Saturday’s quarter-final in the capital.
Holyhead have defied all the odds to reach the last four of the inaugural Wales-wide competition, where they will meet South Gower at a neutral venue on March 28 at a neutral venue to be confirmed.
Back in September 2013, Caergybi made national headlines for all the wrong reasons when they suffered what is believed to be a Welsh record 181-0 defeat at Llanidloes in a Division Three North fixture.
Fast-forward to the present campaign and after much hard work the Holy Islanders are second in their division and one step from a national final.
Senior northern interest in all the other Welsh knockouts – Cup, Plate and Bowl – ended a long time ago, so Holyhead are proudly carrying the region’s flag alone.
South Gower are top of Division 3 West Central C with a perfect record of 11 straight wins. However, Holyhead’s quarter-final opponents, Saracens, possessed very similar stats but were beaten at home by the pride of the north last Saturday.
In the last eight, Swansea-based South Gower edged past Bettws 8-3 and in an earlier round they defeated North Wales side Wrexham 31-24.
To reach the semis, Holyhead have seen off Brackla (15-5), Llanrumney (38-5), Cardiff Saracens (23-13) and, back in October, they eliminated fellow Division Three North side Ruthin 2nds 31-14 at Bryn-y-Mor.
Ruthin are top of the division with 12 straight wins and are the only side to beat Holyhead this season. In return, Caergybi are the sole side to record a victory over Ruthin – in that WRU National Shield tie three months ago.
Holyhead have made the last four the hard way – beating table-toppers Ruthin and Brackla, as well as undefeated Sarries. Now they have to do it all again when they face another team with a spotless record – South Gower.
RGC representative Parry is overjoyed at his team’s progress: “Getting to the semi means a lot for the players in this club,” he said.
“Just looking back 3/4 years ago the club was struggling to get 9/10 players for a game. We have proven to ourselves and to the rest of North Wales clubs we can start from nothing and build to be something good .
“As a coach I’ve been pushing the players really hard for the last couple of months and to have a win like that down in Cardiff shows why I pushed them to their limits.
“There’s a big belief in the team and with the right attitude and commitment they have been putting in I hope we can go all the way. We’ve had massive support from a lot of North Wales clubs and that gives the boys a big boost.”
WRU Shield semi-final draw
Holyhead v South Gower
Rhigos/Pontardawe v Cwmgwrach
Ties to be played March 28 – neutral venues to be confirmed.