RGC slip to defeat; POST SPORT FOCUS ON LOCAL RUGBY UNION Controversial refereeing decisions prove costly as North Wales lose ground on leaders.
The opening minutes followed the same pattern as many this season with the opposition making an explosive start, taking the game to RGC from the first whistle.
Iolo Evans made a thumping tackle on the Ystrad Rhondda centre within a minute and both teams knew they were in for a battle.
The opening 10 minutes were spent in the RGC half with the home side trying to spread the ball and look for any gaps in the visitors' defence. The leaders had a chance to put some points on the board but Rhys Truelove failed to convert his penalty.
RGC's defence was on top with some great tackling from Harri Evans to prevent a try, while the visitors' scrum was also looking strong and this was a sign of things to come as they asked questions of the Ystrad pack.
With Ystrad Rhondda moving through the phases the home crowd were confident a try would follow but RGC looked comfortable soaking up the attacks, and when Iolo Evans broke from his own half with a kick and chase RGC showed they were just as dangerous on the break.
RGC fly half Mitch McGahan and hooker Andy Baston also started to run at the home backline as the Gog's began to take hold of the possession and the first points went to the North Wales side with McGahan hitting a penalty between the posts. Ystrad Rhondda came back with a run from Liam Davies but another superb tackle from Harri Evans led to the ball being spilt on the line. Both teams were looking for that first try and it was the Gogs who got it when Carwyn ap Myrddin picked up the ball on the half way line, beat a couple of tackles before kicking towards the line, and as he followed up it was spilt by an Ystrad player with the RGC winger going over in the corner for an 8-0 lead.
RGC centre Harri Evans had an impressive spell as he skipped past the Ystrad Rhondda defence with some sparkling runs on a number of occasions only to be stopped by some last ditch tackling. The Gogs finished the opening half strongly and were unlucky not to have scored more points in the last 10 mines.
Ystrad Rhondda started the second half with a bang showing why they are league leaders as RGC were camped in their own half for the opening five minutes.
RGC's scrum and line-out were put under pressure and the penalty came soon after to put three points on the board for Ystrad Rhondda.
RGC were given a chance to score a penalty right after but McGahan couldn't convert from distance.
As the rain started to fall the wet conditions started to play a part in the flow of the game. Both teams struggled to pass the ball with a number being spilled.
RGC had looked fairly comfortable dealing the Ystrad Rhondda attacks all game but finally the home side got the try when winger Alex Webber skipped over a tackle to score under the posts. With the conversion they took a 10-8 lead. RGC continued to play composed rugby with Iolo Evans once again breaking through on a couple of occasions.
In the 70th minute the home side were reduced to 14 men when forward Kyle Evans was sin binned for an elbow.
RGC began to pile the pressure on Ystrad and pinned them back in their own half and Harri Evans looked like going over for a try but knocked on as he closed down approaching the line.
RGC had a number of scrums under the post and Ystrad Rhondda were being made to work hard to protect their lead.
The referee's whistle was going against RGC when it looked like Ystrad Rhondda had spun the scrum with the RGC push.
Then after an eight-yard drive over the line No8 Kelvin Davies was penalised for a knock-on when it looked like RGC had got the try their pressure deserved.
Ystrad survived the late onslaught to remain top of the standings.
RGC scrum-half Afon Bagshaw digs the ball out from a ruck against Ystrad Rhondda