Pl 26 W 10 D 2 L 14
In the end the league position showed that Cardiff finished in 9th place in the league. But as disappointing as that may seem there were plenty of positives to come out of the campaign.
The season started oddly enough with a trophy. Cardiff entered the Abercynon sevens for the third time having finished 3rd and 2nd in previous seasons the next logical step was to win the White Dove trophy. The Blue & Blacks duly obliged, having come through a relatively simple group the came up against the holders Pontypridd in the semi-final. Having led for most of it Cardiff were behind until the last play when Sion Hopkins squeezed in at the corner flag to put the Blue & Blacks through to a final against Merthyr, a game they won comfortably. Then it was on the fifteen-a-side warm up games.
UWIC were despatched at the Arms Park, the home side scoring five tries in the process before the visit of Mike Rayer’s Bedford Blues, and a try scoring appearance by a future Welsh international star, Alex Cuthbert scoring in a 13-31 loss.
The season proper started away at Llandovery, normally one of the whipping boys of the league, but they showed that they were destined for a high finish in the league as the Blue & Blacks lost at Church Bank, another defeat to Cross Keys followed before the first league points were gained at bottom finishers Tonmawr, that being the first of four wins on the road. Cardiff’s youthful side was proving more than a match for the Premiership’s best, each of the first seven games saw a side that contained at least ten players below the age of 21.
From that moment it went a little bit wrong, those youthful players had rightly earned call ups to the Blues squad during the Autumn Internationals leaving the squad somewhat depleted. Add to that six players being called into the Welsh sevens squad and the team showed many changes from week to week. Continuity of selection became very difficult and subsequently the performances suffered. Four losses, two draws and two wins in seven games saw the Blue & Blacks slip down the table, the only bright spot being the fifty points against Tonmawr that including a record equalling six tries in a league game by Tom Williams.
With that bad run behind them the last thing Cardiff needed over Christmas was a game against top of the league Pontypridd at Sardis Rd. With most fans fearing the worst the Blue & Blacks gave one of the best performances of the season in a creditable 5 point loss. The other Christmas fixture saw a heavy defeat at the Arms Park to a Newport side to end the year on a unhappy note.
The New Year started must brighter, Swansea were beaten in true Blue & Black style by twenty plus points and having been handed a home draw in the SWALEC cup local rivals Glamorgan Wanderers were despatched in Round 2. Then it was back to the highs and lows of the season. Newport providing the lows, this time at Rodney Parade before defeating Llanelli to progress again in the cup in what was a pulsating game. That cup run came to an end at Pandy Park against eventual finalists Cross Keys. Sandwiched between the cup games were two defeats on the road and a win over The Wizards at home. That win on a cold Friday night in the middle of the Six Nations was a credit to the squad that played, again shorn of half the squad Shaun Powell and Rory Watts-Jones scored a try a piece, Scott Sneddon and Rhys Patchell both adding five points from the boot to give the Blue & Blacks a narrow victory over eventual play-off bound Aberavon.
The last four games of the season summed up the season. At Parc-Y-Scarlets Cardiff did everything but win, having scored four of the best tries of the season they somehow managed to loose the final restart and concede a late try that cost them the game. Pontypridd came to the Arms Park and scored two tries in as many minutes that seemed to deflate Cardiff, they never recovered and were taken apart in the end by a rampant Ponty outfit. The last two games saw a bit more of what the squad had to offer. Neath hardly ever win at the Arms Park, and so it was to be this season, having led by 21 points at one stage the Blue & Blacks looked like they were going to throw the game away again until a late try by Cory Allen sealed a bonus point win. At Cross Keys in the last game of the season caution was thrown to the wind and the bonus point try was in the bag just after half time. Cardiff played some sparkling rugby in the first half, but as tired legs and substitutions took their toll the game drifted away in the last twenty minutes as had the season.
For the record
League Position: 9th