Cardiff RFC Season Review 2004 – 2005
The second season of Premiership rugby saw Cardiff return a better showing than in the first, eventually finishing eighth
The league season started with a win at home against Pontypridd. The Blue & Blacks had warmed up to the season with wins at Merthyr and Llanishen and a loss at home to Bristol. Ponty as ever came to the Arms Park expecting to win. A late Matthew Nutall try from a Chris Anderson chip saw the former Sardis Rd favourite send his old club home empty handed. The following week though the problems from the previous season re-emerged. Defending was proving to be an issue when at the Gnoll when a James Hook inspired Neath ran in seven tries. The visitors did though gain a bonus point for four tries themselves in what was a highly entertaining game. Notable personnel in Blue & Black that day were Chris Czekaj, Martyn Williams and this season’s captain – Johnathon Edwards in his first spell at the Arms Park.
A week later another loss at Cross Keys was followed by defeat at the Arms Park against Newport. The second win came at the Dairy Field Llanharan where five tries and sixteen points from Anderson gave the visitors a 41-33 bonus point win. The losses though seemed to come in groups. Two more followed at Llanelli and Bridgend before Caerphilly were thumped at the Virginia Park. Elgan Jones scoring a hat-trick in the nine tries scored. That at the time was a record Premiership score – that record falling last season with the win over Newport. Llandovery also perished this time at home as did Pontypool in front of a crowd of over 1000. Another bonus point was also gained as Jones added a brace to his growing try tally.
The normal loss at the Talbot Athletic ground was followed by a home loss to Swansea. And a very disappointing loss at Eugene Cross Park where the team simply failed to turn up, only registering three points on a perfect afternoon for the brand of rugby Cardiff were playing. Neath did the double in early December at the Arms Park in a game that was notable for a young replacement full back – Jamie Roberts – marking his debut in Blue & Black.
Pontypridd gained revenge for the early league defeat at Sardis Rd despite leading for most of the match. Two late tries gave the home side the points. Relief from the league came in the Konica Minolta cup when the Blue & Blacks travelled to Bargoed to record a 55-15 win. That set up a run of five wins. Bedwas were beaten without the opponents scoring a single point – 17-0. Then a six try Christmas win over Cross Keys gave everyone a lift. Robin Sowden-Taylor and Czekaj among the scorers.
Another cup win was recorded at Bonymaen before high flying Llanelli were destroyed in the best performance of the season to date. A win at Church Bank Llandovery followed. This time a brace from Liam Roberts was the highlight among five converted tries. The cup run came to an end at Carmarthen Quins in a tight game. The Blue & Blacks losing 11-17 in the rain and wind.
A narrow win at home to Aberavon was followed by another Rodney Parade defeat before a second visit to Taffs Well, again Bridgend were the visitors and were beaten 22-18 in a very tight match. Johnny Edwards fourth minute injury time try securing the points for the Blue & Blacks. Tight scorelines were becoming a bit of a habit though and Cardiff were on the wrong end of one at St Helens during the next week and yet again the following Saturday, both games lost by 4 points. But with the bottom three sides visiting the Arms Park during the next three weeks Cardiff looked to score some much needed wins to lift them away from the bottom of the table. Caerphilly were beaten 19-16, the home side being behind at half time came back to win with a Dan McShane try. A bonus point was gained against Llanharan, McShane again on the score sheet before a big win over Newbridge. 54-24. Eight tries in all with seven different scorers. Revenge for the cup defeat was gained the following week at Carmarthen Park and the return fixture against Newbridge again saw the Blue & Black triumphant. The biggest win of the season came against Ebbw Vale at the Arms Park 64-0. Nine tries in all a brace each for Richard Jones, Nick Gill and Shaun James in one of the most open games of rugby seen at the ground in a long time.
That flowing rugby continued on the last day of the season as both today’s visitors and the home side entered into a Barbarian style game, throwing the ball around at every opportunity. 70 points in all 44 to the Blue & Blacks, hooker Ryan Price surprised as most to be on the wing twice to touch down.
Neath were crowned champions but it was a better season in terms of results for the Blue & Blacks was rounded off by a two match tour of Ontario, Canada – the tourists winning both of the games and many friends in the process.