Cardiff RFC made it three bonus point wins in a row as we kept up our winning start to the season with a hard fought victory over RGC at Parc Eirias.
Steve Law had initially made seven changes to the side that would start in North Wales, but there were some late changes as Ben Williams replaced Tom Habberfield at scrum-half and Leon Andrews started at inside centre rather than Sam Beard, but that didn’t cause the visitors any problems.
A well-worked attack was sparked into life when Max Llewellyn carried into the RGC 22, before a few phases later Gareth Thompson’s flat pass allowed Alex Everett to break a tackle and go over for a third try in a week.
Thompson added the extras and was extended the lead with a penalty a few minutes later after a shoulder charge on James Beal that was surprisingly not punished with a yellow card. 10-0 up but the challenge cost Beal any further part in the game as Joe Gatt replaced him.
With play having been all Cardiff so far the home side started working their way into the game, pinning us in our 22. Some poor exiting prevented us from clearing the danger but in the end Billy McBryde could only muster a penalty kick for the hosts.
The away side had two chances to score before the half-hour mark, with Gareth Thompson missing a penalty before Ethan Lewis was over the try line at the back of a driving maul but Ben Williams was penalised for an illegal entry.
Then just before half-time the game properly tilted in the direction of the hosts as first Efan Jones broke off the back of a lineout before the ball was recycled to the left where Rhys Tudor score. McBryde adding the extras.
Following that try Max Llewellyn was shown a yellow card for a perceived deliberate knock on, and then with the man advantage RGC immediately return into the Blue and Blacks’ half, working a man over in the form of Tudor again. McBryde ensured the scoreline was 17-10 at half-time.
The break came at a good time for Cardiff though, as the players regrouped and despite being a man down managed to put pressure on the home side early in the second half.
This paid off early on as a well worked driving maul saw Ethan Lewis go over for a legal try this time, with Gareth Thompson levelling the scores off the tee.
The Blue and Blacks continued to press and although one stint in the RGC 22 came to nothing, from the lineout that resulted from a clearance Barney Nightingale trucked the ball up on first phase ball. He was brought down but not held by an opposition defender, returning to his feet for the easiest of run-ins.
Edd Howley had now assumed kicking duties and made the score 17-24, but the North Wales team hit back quickly, heading up into the Cardiff 22 before once again working Rhys Tudor free for the winger to ball his hat-trick.
As the minutes counted down proceedings had become incredibly close, with both sides making errors, although the away team’s were borne of frustration as the referee continued to penalise them much to their surprise.
In the end though it would be Cardiff who showed the greater composure in the final minutes and when Peter Lloyd launched a brilliant counter ruck we finally won a decision from the referee that seemed to seal the game.
However, captain Morgan Allen was on the hunt for a try bonus point, instructing Dan Fish to kick us into the corner as we prepared to make a big push for that fourth try.
Fortunately a big push is exactly what we produced as the backs joined the forwards in a driving maul, and in a moment that brought sheer joy to the people of Cardiff, the main man Dan Fish was in possession as the maul crashed over the line.
They say he does what he wants, and that includes scoring from driving mauls!
Joe Scrivens couldn’t add the conversion which would have denied RGC a bonus point, but the Blue and Blacks were still able to return to South Wales with five points in the bag, making it six wins in a row this season.
With Aberavon’s game against Llandovery called off it means Cardiff are now seven points clear at the top of the Indigo Group Premiership and will look to keep this winning run going when we welcome Ebbw Vale to the Arms Park on Friday evening.