RGC ended the calendar year on a disappointing note as they were edged out 31-24 at defending Indigo Group Premiership champions Merthyr.

The Gogs’ had nothing to show from a spirited display against the Ironmen in front of the BBC Scrum V cameras on Friday evening, and they will be aiming to start the new year as they mean to go on during their next fixture at home to Llandovery on Saturday.

A disastrous start from the visitors saw them fall behind early on when quick-fire tries from Adam Thomas and Craig Locke, together with a pair of conversion attempts from Matthew Jarvis, left them facing a 14-point deficit with just 12 on the clock.

The away side responded well to the setback and gained a huge boost soon after when a rash tackle from Jack Perkins to halt a Dan Owen run saw him sent to the sinbin, and RGC immediately took advantage when a neat passing move was finished off by Delwyn Jones for their first score of the contest. Billy McBryde added the extras.

This was met by a swift answer from the home side, who restored their commanding cushion when quick-thinking from a penalty saw Locke touch down for his second of the evening, and Jarvis despatched the conversion opportunity in style.

The Ironmen secured their bonus point on 42 minutes when Jack Perkins displayed his trademark pace to go over despite a valiant effort from the Gogs’ rear-guard. Jarvis added the extras.

Credit to the visitors, who remained undeterred in their pursuit to find a route back into the contest, and they were rewarded for their consistent tempo when replacements Jordan Scott and Mei Parry managed to get their names on the scoresheet to make things extremely close heading into the closing stages.

McBryde successfully drilled over both conversions, but the boot of Jarvis proved to be the difference as his well-struck penalty rounded off the scoring.