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LOCKE’S DOUBLE SEALS BONUS POINTS WIN FOR THE IRONMEN.
MERTHYR 31 RGC 1404 24(Friday 27th December 19)
Merthyr skipper Craig Locke is the first to admit that the first half of the season has been tough for the defending champions, but after back-to-back home wins he believes there is some light at the end of the tunnel.
First it was second placed Carmarthen Quins (22-18) and then RGC (31-24), with the skipper leading the way in the latter with two trademark tries from driving line-outs. Next up is a trip to Ebbw Vale on Friday night with every chance to climb even higher than the fourth place they now find themselves in.
“We had a couple of tough weeks of defeats before the Quins game and the first half of the season didn’t go like previous seasons unfortunately,” said Locke
“It hasn’t been win after win for us and we have had to work even harder than in previous seasons. We have come up short too many times, although we haven’t lacked for effort or desire.
“It has been a culmination of too many mistakes, individually and as a team, but we will eliminate these and come back to winning ways. There is still plenty of quality in our squad.”
The Ironmen took a firm grip on proceedings from the start and raced into a 14 point lead in as many minutes thanks to tries from Adam Thomas and Locke. Matthew Jarvis converted them both.
Merthyr then lost flanker Jack Perkins to a yellow card for obstruction and the Gogs were quick to make their numerical advantage pay as they created space for Delwyn Jones to run in their first try. Billy McBryde added the extras to go with his earlier penalty.
That cut the gap to four points, but Locke’s second try, again converted by Jarvis, made it 21-10 to the home side at the break. The next score was always going to be crucial and it only took two minutes of the second half for Perkins to make up for his earlier misdemeanor to bag the bonus-point try.
Jarvis added the conversion, but RGC hit back with tries from Jordan Jones and Meic Parry. McBryde’s boot improved them both and the visitors were back in the hunt at 28-24.
Crucially Merthyr hit a penalty from 50 metres to extend the lead to 31-24 which took the game away from the visitors. Aaron Pinches was yellow carded for the home side with eight minutes remaining, but RGC were unable to get over the line for the vital score and had to be content with heading home with only a losing bonus point.
MERTHYR: 15 M Jarvis,14 L Lloyd,13 A Thomas,12 A Pinches,11 S Jones,10 R Jones, 9 J James, 1 C Phillips,2 S Evans,3 R Lewis,4 C Locke©,5 B Murphy,6 I Davies,7 J Perkins,8 P Rees, 16 I Morris,17 R Thomas,18 J Gildling,19 J Down,20 T Daley, 21 R Downes,22 A Hoskins,23 J Soanes. Scorers, C Locke2t, A Thomas 1t, J Perkins 1t, M Jarvis, 4c,1p.
Referee: Elgan Williams (Cardiff).