Saturday April 07, 2012
This was a typical end of season affair where there was nothing at stake and as a result, there were very few highlights to lift the spirits of the expectant crowd. Caernarfon having already secured the Division 1 North title and having been inactive for a month found Bethesda far more subdued than usual obviously thinking ahead to their Swalec Cup Semi final against Penallta next week. As a result, the opening exchanges were lethargic with possession being kicked away by both teams in an effort to gain field positions.
An offside call gave Kelvin Morris an opportunity to open the scoring from near the halfway line but the effort rebounded off the crossbar. However, the pressure was maintained and following a rolling maul, the Cofis crossed the try line only for the referee to be undecided as to the grounding.
However, a few minutes later Morris was not to be denied as he slotted over a penalty following an off side. Sadly, the lead was very short lived as Mathew Parry replied following an offence at kickoff. Parry edged Pesda further ahead after a high tackle but for the remaining ten minutes of the half, with Caernarfon’s scrum being dominant they applied pressure and Morris’s trusted boot brought them on a par and edged them three points clear following two not releasing offences.
The Cofis extended their lead again, thanks to Morris, at the beginning of the second half and were possibly expected to make the game safe, as up to that point they had been the better side.
Complacency and a few forced changes upset the Cofi balance and Bethesda soon found a new lease of life and seized the moment. Carwyn Williams on the wing and later at scrum half had been by far the most industrious player on the park and his infectious enthusiasm eventually spread to include his teammates. A sustained attack by the forwards was eventually fed wide and a Parry loop and slick passing freed wing Gwyn Hughes to score in the corner with twenty minutes to go.
From this point onwards Bethesda were sharper and kept the Cofis at bay with relative ease. Another promising attack saw a missed tackle on centre Ben Stelmazek, who on finding freedom and a wrong-footed defence found a clear path to the try line to give Bethesda the lead that was added to with Parry’s successful conversion.
With ten minutes to go Caernarfon attempted to up the pace but any chance of a revival was dashed when Parry intercepted a long pass and sprinted some seventy meters to score under the posts and add the extras. He soon added an additional three points to bring his tally for the day to eighteen.
Luckily, enough time remained to witness one fine try from Cofi scrum half Trystan Gwilym. Good work by number eight Rhys Evans freed winger Carnedd Williams who on being thwarted found his scrumhalf at hand and his pace and guile took him to the try line for a well-deserved score.
Caernarfon will need to regroup and focus on an important North Wales Cup semi-final tie at home against Bro Ffestiniog next Saturday. The second fifteen were thankfully far less lacklustre at Bethesda, winning 41 points to 10 and by so doing, securing their league title.
All connected with Caernarfon Rugby Club would also wish both Bethesda and Nant Conwy the very best of luck in their respective Swalec Plate semi-finals in Mid Wales next Saturday. Hopefully the Millennium stadium will await them.