Normal service has been restored and the bragging rights for the city's rugby are back at the Arms Park.
Any fears that the Wanderers would complete an historic Premiership double over the Blue and Blacks had long been forgotten by half-time. Though Cardiff only led 8-3 at that point, they had comfortably defended their line throughout a first period played against a strong wind and mostly in their own half.
The Wanderers did well in the scrums but were blown away (in every sense) in the lineouts where the three-pronged targets of James Down, Damian Welch and Chris Stamatakis were outstanding. Better still was the ball-carrying in the loose where all three of the front row and Adam Powell had big games and Richie Pugh was at last looking a vital cog in the machine.
Behind the scrum it was always likely that the Blue and Blacks would eventually capitalise on their superior pace and so it proved, though the only blot on the horizon was the failure to claim a fourth try and bonus point.
The Wanderers fielded a host of former Arms Park players in their match day 22 – Nathan Trevett, Alex Murphy, Alex Luff, the two Gareths – Knight and Williams-Davies – and the venerable Keith Stewart. They also had Lloyd Williams who featured for Cardiff in the cup match at Carmarthen Quins in January. Such is the camaraderie of the regional rugby fraternity these days but there was no mistaking the competitive nature of the challenge at the Memorial Ground.
The Wanderers started well but missed two goal-kicking chances from penalties and showed little threat behind the scrum. When Cardiff eventually got to the home 22 in the twenty-second minute, a lineout catch and drive ended with a try for the outstanding Ross Johnston. Gareth Davies missed the conversion but soon added a penalty goal for a 10-0 lead against the wind after 37 minutes. Aled James did reduce the arrears with a penalty goal on the brink of the interval but it was soon apparent that the second half would be a tale of one-way traffic.
At first it was slow progress. Davies did add a second penalty goal immediately but it was not until the end of the third quarter that Cardiff pulled away with a 15-point burst inside 10 minutes. Craig Evans came on and boomed over a 45-metre special and from the restart the ball rebounded to Owen Ruttley who headed for the open pastures of downtown Ely, found Gareth Chapman in support, and Nathan Rees had no difficulty in finishing off the overlap on the left. Evans again converted brilliantly from wide out before the scoring was completed with a try from Chapman that featured text-book off-loading from Stamatakis and Darren Ryan.