RHAYADER opened their Swalec Division Three East D campaign with a thrilling 31-26 victory at home to Beaufort.

The Gwent side arrived as favourites but found their bolstered hosts keen to make their mark in their opening game of the campaign following a summer overhaul led by newly appointed player-coach Danny Davies, formerly of Builth Wells.

The Rams handed debuts to Aaron Martin, Danny Davies, Lewis Pryne, Dexter Evans, Paul Griffiths and the Boore brothers, Steve and Matty, and led when young hooker Bowen Hamer crossed for his first senior try.

Andre Potgeiter linked with Steve Boore to claim the second try with Davies converting before the Rams discipline lapsed and allowed the visitors back in the game with three penalties from Chris Bridges.

Bridges kicked a further two penalties as Beaufort led early in the second-half before the Ebbw Vale side were reduced to 10 men with a Davies penalty restoring parity.

Potgeiter beat five players to cross for his second try of the day, converted by Davies, as Rhayader regained their lead.

However Bridges continued to keep his side in the game with two penalties before crossing for a try to give his side the lead with 10 minutes remaining.

Rhayader were not to be denied and forward pressure from Ben Gaskell, Gavin Rees and Tommy Walsh culminated in Potgieter to cross and complete his hat-trick with Davies converting before sealing victory with a late penalty.

Davies said: “It was a massive squad effort to get the ball rolling and we would also like to thank everyone who made the effort to come cheer the boys on on Saturday.”

Elsewhere Knighton-based Trefyclawdd opened their division three D campaign with a 29-12 victory at Girling.