This was an immensely exciting and keenly contested 12 try feast of rugby with everything finely poised at 29 points all entering the final 20 minutes. There then followed a disciplined, champions in the making, performance by the strengthened home pack that saw them steer their team to victory with three similarly forged and unanswered tries.
On a perfect playing surface the ball was constantly kept alive from the off with the speed and angled runs of support players from both teams leading to valuable yardage being gained and only numerous last ditch tackles preventing certain touchdowns. In contrast, on occasions, the bounce of the ball fooled defences and led to opportunist touchdowns being recorded.
The score board kept ticking over at regular intervals, opening with an Osian Parry Jones penalty following an offside call after three minutes. Aled Jones reciprocated a minute later for the Cofis for a holding on infringement. Caernarfon's enthusiasm and adventure were their undoing after ten minutes when one wayward pass deep in the Pwllheli half was snapped up by wing Robin Hughes Jones who was able to outsprint the cover over some sixty metres to ground close to the posts and afford Parry Jones the added extras. Caernarfon responded with one of the best tries of the afternoon after running out of their twenty two through Iolo Evans; from the halfway line Mac Jones cut through the backline and after fending off numerous tacklers was lucky to have the support of fellow backrower Gruff Ifor at hand to run in and score. Aled Jones once again levelled the scores.
The quick tempo was maintained and from the first scrum of the afternoon with twenty minutes played Caron Jones picked up, fed Nick Butterworth who then sent out a long pass to oncoming winger Osian Parry Jones who showed great strength to cross the try line out wide. Cofi prop Armando Morgan was again prominent with ball in hand and flanker Gruff Ifor showed the hunger and desire to inspire his teammates. The tackling and work-rate of Carwyn Roberts was also an added bonus. Pwllheli had a workmanlike backrow with Tom Parry collecting good lineout ball and Ifan Roberts fast to every breakdown.
The third Pwllheli try followed courtesy of Butterworth's quickly taken penalty that found elusive John Pugh at hand before the final pop up pass was collected by fellow centre Gareth Williams who charged over beneath the crossbar to grant Parry Jones yet another conversion.
With half time looming the Cofis clawed their way back to be within seven points when strong running centre Dafydd Lloyd Hughes capitalised on another quickly taken penalty to spin free from a tackle and ground out wide.
The two contrasting scrum halves on display were both excellent; Bryn Granville's kick and chase set up Caernarfon's equalising score at the beginning of the second half and following replacement Rhys Evans's intervention Dafydd Lloyd Hughes was yet again able spin and stretch to the try line by the upright to grant Aled Jones an easier conversion. Minutes later Pwllheli supporters were silenced when a lofted clearance out of defence bounced favourably for Caernarfon winger Dylan Gwyn to hack on, then collect, to sprint clear and score. Aled Jones again improved the effort from the tee to ensure a bonus point.
Pwllheli, adrift for the first time, did not panic and worked their way back up field and some five minutes later, following a series of pick ups and drives had prop Rhys Williams to thank for notching their bonus point try but more importantly with the added Parry Jones conversion a score equalling try.
From this point onwards Pwllheli targeted the forwards and kept the ball far tighter with the introduction of Elgan Davies playing a noticeable constructive role. The Cofi defence held admirably but in face of ever increasing pressure and therefore an ever increasing tackle count the line was finally breached. Osian Parry Jones got his second try following freeing himself from a tackle to stretch and score and then improved his own effort. Five minutes later influential scrum half Butterworth added his weight to the forward effort to pick up and slide in to score and the game was sealed a few minutes later when Kalim Kelemete, in front of his visiting family, squeezed through a gap to ground beneath the posts and thus affording Parry Jones his fifth conversion of the afternoon.
The Cofis, although beaten, were still game to the end and despite Pwllheli's best efforts they could not prevent centre Dafydd Lloyd Hughes from recording his third try of the afternoon in the corner after patient and purposeful build up play.
Today's results show therefore that the two horse race at the top of the league continues with both fully deserving of all the plaudits bestowed upon them.
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