Rugby Union – Holyhead roar into semi-finals of the WRU Shield

Holyhead (red) on the charge against South Gower. Max Peters carries with Eifion Rowlands and Ben Lewis in support and Robyn Cox waiting to the right. All photos by WYNNE EVANS – DIOLCH YN FAWR

WRU Shield preliminary round

Clwb Rygbi Caergybi/Holyhead Rugby Club 34
South Gower 23

It was another great day for Holyhead Rugby Club as they advanced to the national WRU Shield quarter-finals in front of a large crowd at Bryn-y-Mor.

The Holy Islanders knocked out South Gower, the team they were meant to meet in the semi-final of the last Shield competition in 2019-20, but the match never took place due to the pandemic.

Division Three North club Holyhead now travel to Caerphilly-based Crumlin in the last eight, while another North Wales side from the same division, Ruthin 2nd XV, make the journey to Ferndale.

Saturday’s preliminary round clash at Bryn-y-Mor saw the islanders face high-flyers from Division Three West Central in South Gower.

Intense action at Bryn-y-Mor. Max Peters on floor with Eifion Rowlands and Ben Lewis in support to clear ruck out. Robyn Cox waiting behind

Both teams were slightly nervy at the start and traded penalties, Robyn Cox splitting the posts for the home team.

Hooker Tudur Owen opened the try-scoring for Holyhead as he dotted down following some significant pack pressure.

Cox then slotted over another penalty to take the score to 11-3.

Holyhead’s Eifion Rowlands breaking through the tackles

South Gower took the opportunity to get the ball out to their quick and skilful backs as often as they could.

Holyhead were guilty of making life difficult for themselves. Rhodri Parry crossed the line only for the referee to deem he had knocked on as he grounded, much to the dismay of the home side.

All hail the Holyhead heroes

Mistakes and ill-discipline crept into the islanders’ game, allowing the South Walians to claim a converted try to move within a point.

Cox slotted two further penalties to take the score to 17-10 at half time.

The start of the second period saw South Gower strike first, scoring under the posts to make it all-square at 17-17.

The visitors then took the lead for the first time via a penalty.

Another Holyhead raid. Dafydd Jones carries with Raymond Lear and Aron Evans in support

On came fresh legs in the form of prop Tino Williams and back row EIfion Rowlands to help inject some energy into the home side.

However, Rhodri Parry was the man to turn the tide. He kicked off like a man possessed, wanting to drive his team on and turn the screw.

Parry kept this up when eventually he broke through two tacklers and stretched for the line himself to put the islanders back in control. Cox added the extras to take the score to 24-20.

All friends together when the action stops

If the Holyhead side thought they were about to break clear though, they were sorely mistaken.

The hosts were camped on the South Gower try-line only for a misplaced pop to end up in South Gower hands as they broke free, Max Peters did well to haul down the last man in the Holyhead 22.

South Gower then slotted a penalty to make it 24-23.

Up stepped the trusty boot of Cox again with a penalty to edge the home team four points ahead.

Winger Aron Evans entered the field in place of Robin Williams and immediately showed his pace off.

More attacking flair from Holyhead with Iwan Roberts in full flight

The pack looked to build the phases well before some clever play saw Aron Evans chase after a kick through, boot on himself at pace and dot down to secure the game, much to the delight of the Holyhead support.

Cox added the extras for a personal tally of 19 points to take the tie out of reach for South Gower.

Holyhead tries
Tudur Owen, Rhodri Parry, Aron Evans.
Robyn Cox 5
Robyn Cox 2

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