INJURIES and unavailability forced Wrexham to field a scratch side at runaway North Wales League Division Two leaders Bro Ffestiniog on Saturday – but they rose to the occasion and only just fell to a 29-15 defeat.
The fourth-placed visitors ran out of steam late on after storming into a 10-point lead.
With lock Jason Parry coming out of retirement to power the engine room and flanker Mike Ward making a welcome return to action, Wrexham’s pack dominated the opening exchanges and forced the home forwards to concede a 14th-minute penalty, from which outside-half Roger Chadwick made no mistake.
And their advantage increased seven minutes before the break when scrum-half John Roberts broke smartly from a ruck on Bro’s 10-metre line and slipped the ball to centre Andy Clutton, who created space for winger Scott Davies to touch down for a splendid try wide out.
Chadwick’s accurately added the extras before the hosts countered with an unconverted effort.
Bro, following a half-time dressing down, were transformed after the restart and wrestled control of the contest with three straight tries, one of which they converted.
Wrexham then introduced their ‘old guard’ of Kelvin Bryan, Matt Arnold and Dennis Weston, totalling 145 years between them, and the trio had a steadying influence on the play.
Bryan, operating at scrum-half, broke from a scrum with nine minutes to go and combined with Ward to send Davies over the whitewash for an unconverted score.
Sensing their plucky opponents were getting too close for comfort, Bro sealed their seventh successive success with a converted try in the dying moments.
Wrexham, for whom new French centre Mhidi Zaidi and flanker Gareth Owen made good impressions, are without a match on Saturday.
Wrexham 2nds made it back-to-back Division Four wins on Saturday as they edged out previously unbeaten Nant Conwy 2nds 15-14.
A brace of tries by flanker Dave Morris and a conversion and a penalty by outside-half Carl Pugh secured a victory in which Adam Jones produced some scorching runs down the wing and prop Iwan Roberts and flanker Keir Harding carried the fight to the high-flying visitors.
Wrexham Youth slipped to their first North Wales League Division One defeat of the season on Saturday as they went down 16-12 at Llangefni Youth.
Wrexham, missing a number of regulars, led through touch downs from Danny Sissons and Dafydd Kember, one of which outside-half Jamie Morris converted. Prop Ben Harrison and flanker Declan Simms, supported well by Gareth Griffiths in the threequarters, were in outstanding form.