Wrexham v Rhyl
By Rich Weston
Good win for Wrexham seconds
Spencer Disgrace - Wrexham 2nds 66 - Rhyl 7
There is much talk at present of the dangers that Rugby can bring. Whether it’s the risk of head injury, the increasing size of the players or the colossal impact of the tackles, there is wide agreement that there are elements of the game that can have a severe impact on a players ability to take to the field. One risk factor is rarely talked about, despite the potential for it to turn an enthusiastic young athlete into a bed bound invalid within minutes. This risk factor, is the Great British Winter. At least as dangerous as “the away game thats just a bit too far”, the Great British winter can immediately take a player from being excited about the afternoons competition, to seriously considering dragging the family around Ikea instead.
How exciting then that on a crisp and soggy January day, Wrexham were able to put out their firsts, seconds and youth team, with spare players even being drafted in to bolster the opposition.
Wrexham seconds began the season with a 13 man team traveling to Bala. This week a brave Rhyl 13 came to Bryn Ysten Lane and we’re very grateful to them for making the effort and letting the game take place. Wrexham had a very strong squad in place with regular 2nd players being joined by those who are used to plying their trade in the first team. The quality of those playing yesterday says a lot about the strength in depth at the club.
Jake Thomas and Shane Kahn went to help Rhyl out and Wrexham began the game in clinical style. Some good Wrexham phases led to possession 10 yards out leading to prop Richard Spencer spotting a sliver of a gap on the blindside. He shouted for the ball and after debating whether to miss pass, switch or chip ahead, he opted to plough his 20+ stone mass in a forward direction, leading to his first ever try in senior rugby. There was much rejoicing.
Scott Davis had one of the runs of the game for wrexham, catching a kick just outside his 22 before stepping, weaving and barracking his way over the try line through a pack of bewildered Rhyl players.
From the next kick off Wrexham went from exemplary individual skills to a beautifully integrated team approach. Slick hands and well timed offloads allowed Danny Guy to pop up in the right place and take a try under the post.
The tries started to come thick and fast now - Ryan Foulkes crossed the line and Dan Williams, a hefty presence in the centre, made Rhyls job difficult for much of the match. He picked up a hat trick with Scott Davis grabbing another try later in the game.
At halftime all the Wrexham subs came on including 58 year old rookie Ross Roberts. Wrexham players Jake Edwards, and John Gormley went over to help out Rhyl. There were more tries including a phenomenal charge down from Callum Chaloner who was able to follow the ball over the Rhyl try line and touch down.
Rhyl were able to pressure the Wrexham line a bit more this half and a missed tackle gave them space to break, a few offloads allowed them to cross in the corner, and Jack Ratcliffs attempt to decapitate the try scorer led to a penalty try.
Big performances came from those who didn’t get on the score sheet - Luke Hassel was strong in defence and attack, Nathan Kaitani was a formidable presence in midfield while Gavin Jones created lots of space with his running and distribution. Ryan Foulkes kicked 8 conversions.
The game finished 66-7 and was largely played in competitive yet social manner. While Richard Spencer scored his first ever try, he also held onto a player just a moment too long leading to his first ever yellow card. In a sport that endeavours to be family entertainment there is no space for this type of play. As Sencer walked from the pitch his mother wept and shouted “For shame!” Until she collapsed in a heap. During the traditional tunnel at the end of the game, it was telling that both the opposition and Spencers own team turned their backs on him as he walked through, with the referee spitting at his feet.
Coach Richard Weston said he was pleased with the performance and squad numbers, but would like to see more left handed passing. Director of Rugby Barry Lewis insisted that todays Wrexham players were nothing like the caliber of players back in his day before dropping to the floor and insisting that people count how many press ups he could do. Wrexham look forward to visiting Rhyl later in the season and anticipate a warm welcome in their new club house.