Abertillery Blaenau Gwent RFC
At last! The first League victory in eight outings, a battling win in a tough local derby at Banna Park, outstanding defence in the last few minutes sealing a narrow two points verdict.
‘Tillery struggled at the first scrum and Nantyglo were just held up at the corner with the first meaningful attack, but good cover tackling saved the day. Not for long, however as a wide angled penalty opened the scoring in the third minute. Fortunately this was wiped out with Tillery’s first excursion into home territory as Liam Crandon’s half hit kick went over via the upright. 3-3.
Luke Morgan looked sharp and created an opening but the ball was kicked dead; moments later another kick to the corner gave the forwards a chance. With a yellow card against the ’Glo for playing a man off the ball, and penalty to follow it was in for the kill. The lineout was driven and hooker Anthony Isgrove emerged from the bottom of the heap having grounded the ball.
More good work by Morgan earned another kickable penalty and Crandon duly obliged with three points, but shortly afterwards the full back was taken off with an ankle injury to be replaced by Mike Williams.
The story of the half was really good carrying by Nantyglo and solid defence from the visitors who held out for 11-3 at the interval, although Aled Penn had a break out chance which ended at the 22.
The second period began with another Crandon penalty stretching the lead to 14-3. There was an immediate surge in scrummage success when Jack Woodland replaced Scott Hoskins at tighthead prop, ’Glo being shoved off their own ball at the next scrum and conceding a strike against the head two minutes later, but Dafydd Cripps was yellow carded and the game changed.
Nantyglo had two opportunities in the same right hand corner, butchering the first with a failure to pass and taking the second in the 58th. 8-14.
Woodland and his opposite number joined the naughty boys club with an off the ball scuffle, the following passage of play producing the second try for the hosts, a left corner effort which was expertly converted from the touchline. For the second time ’Glo led, literally for seconds as they conceded another penalty from the restart. Crandon thumped over the chance from 30 metres, but back came the home team. Several times they looked to have breached the line but staunch defence eventually earned the Green Army a relieving penalty. Two more lineouts and two more penalties later they were on the home line and battered away but failed to cross and time ran out with the result at Nantyglo 15 Abertillery BG 17, the first League win since beating Senghenydd on October 15th.
Next up, Rhydyfelin visit The Park in two weeks time.
Man of the Match; Luke Morgan looked sharp before his departure, Matthew Catlin carried well but without Liam Crandon’s accurate kicking no win could have been possible. Crandon.
Abertillery BG; 15 Luke Morgan (Mike Williams);14 Ryan Price,13 Kurtis Haile (Iestyn James),12 Cobi Edwards,11 Aled Penn;10 Liam Crandon, 9 Shaun Gwilliam; 1 Dafydd Cripps, captain, 2 Anthony Isgrove (Jordan Legge),3 Scott Hoskins (Jack Woodland);4 Dan Crandon,5 Matthew Catlin; 6 Lewis Prosser, 8 Joel Wright, 7 Conor O’Leary