Steel unable to halt Dinbych's march to the title
The pick of the fixtures in Division 2 North saw the top two go toe to toe at Rowley's Drive.
Dinbych gained a hard earned victory over their nearest challengers Shotton Steel in a fiercely contested top of the table clash, showing great character to overturn a half time deficit after Shotton had dominated the first half play. They also made light of losing three key players through injury all of which needed long breaks in play which disrupted the flow of the game. Fortunately all three replacements Gavin Rizzi, Jamie Winning and Dafydd Jones were to make significant contributions to the second half reversal of fortunes.
Playing with the breeze in their favour a highly charged Shotton side dominated both territory and possession throughout the first half with their forwards making ground with powerful drives and winning the breakdown battle whilst their backs posed a constant problem mainly through the probing play of their centres. However they were met with a resolute defensive performance by Dinbych typified by the crunching crash tackle by prop Joe Davies which unfortunately earned him a yellow card in the eleventh minute. Shotton opened the scoring shortly afterwards following a scrum 30 metres out for centre Dan Lynskey to go over for an unconverted try after taking an inside pass and wrong-footing the Dinbych defence. There was then a long break in play when lock Gareth Beach was treated following a wheeled scrum which collapsed. When play was resumed after a long break Dinbych continued to withstand Shotton's intense pressure in their 22 with a tremendous tackling display, with centre Tom Seddon a steadying influence marshalling the backs and Chris Forshaw producing another outstanding display at No.8 raising the siege with powerful runs from the base of the scrum. Shotton eventually increased their lead well into the extended first half injury time with a penalty from 45 metres by outside half Steve Elson.
Trailing by eight points to nil at the interval Dinbych then lost right wing Kieran Bonar early in the second half with a leg injury but this failed to halt their revival as they now gained parity of possession with a solid base in the scrums and with Gavin Rizzi a valuable source at the line out. They reduced the deficit when centre Owain Davies kicked a penalty from 30 metres before the influential Chris Forshaw became Dinbych's third casualty to leave the field. They then used the breeze well when outside half Garin Roberts kicked a penalty into the Shotton corner on the right. From this the forwards generated a powerful driving maul with hooker Geraint Madoc-Jones touching down for an equalising try which went unconverted as Owain Davies' kick rebounded from an upright. The momentum in the game was now turning in Dinbych's favour when Garin Roberts again kicked a penalty into the corner with the same result with flanker Dan Lawrence claiming the touch down for an unconverted try after another driving maul from the short range line out. Dinbych's backs were now causing problems with Jamie Winning and full back Gruff Roberts going close after long runs. Replacement front row Dafydd Jones then surprised the Shotton defence with a strong surge from half way before putting Tom Seddon over wide out for a try converted by Owain Davies.
Shotton were now trailing by two scores but managed to respond with an intense period of pressure close to the Dinbych line in the closing minutes when once again a strong defence by the visitors withstood a series of short range drives before the hosts finally produced an overlap for replacement full back Matt Jones to go over for an unconverted try which gave the hosts a losing bonus point.