Abertillery Blaenau Gwent RFC
It was always going to be a tough proposition at second placed Nelson and so it proved under a clear blue sky but on a bitterly cold afternoon. Although the team which that took the field for the Green Army looked stronger than in recent weeks, they were quickly under the cosh as the black and red shirted home team burst into action from the first whistle.
Early pressure brought two penalties which enabled a lineout catch and drive and in the 4th minute outside half Alex Knott dummied over from close range. Wing Joseph Cook converted and two minutes later was converting his own try after a poor clearance kick. 6 minutes,14-nil and a long afternoon in prospect.
Cook got his second in the 18th minute, again converted, after a series of attacks which could not be repelled and Tillery were finding it difficult even to gain a foothold in the attacking half of the field but they stemmed the tide further until the 35th minute when the bonus point try was conceded. Half time deficit 28-nil and it had taken until the 38th before there was any pressure on the Nelson line, a series of forward drives being held up in the shadow of the posts.
Unfortunately, the second 40 began as did the first and left wing Davies crossed in the corner, and on 51 the outstanding flanker, Joel Knott scored under the posts after good support work and outstripping the covering defenders. Cook again added the goal points and celebrated a hat trick try in the 57th minute as Liam Crandon was led from the pitch. Shaun Gwilliam replaced him, Darren Miles moving up from full back where the youngster slotted in. Dan Crandon entered the fray for the first time in 13 weeks, replacing Iestyn James at flanker and Anthony Isgrove took Jordan Legge’s place at hooker. The introduction of Jack Woodland on the tighthead improved an already strong scrum and Tillery enjoyed their best spell of the afternoon as a penalty try was awarded following another scrum infringement. Kurtis Haile converted but the home captain Knott got his second try and Cross converted for a match haul of 29 points.
A heavy defeat, but lots of determination shown, especially in the final quarter. Cripps, Prosser, Smith and Hoskins carried well but MoM was Mike Thomas who was prominent in lots of stages throughout the match.
Next week, January 28th v Blaenavon Home, kick off 2:30pm
Abertillery BG: 15 Darren Miles;14 Ryan Price,13 Kurtis Haile,12 Sean Thomas,11 Aled Penn;10 Liam Crandon (Shaun Gwilliam),9 Ryan Sullivan;1 Dafydd Cripps,captain,2 Jordan Legge (Anthony Isgrove),3 Scott Hoskins (Jack Woodland):4 Christian Smith,5 Matthew Catlin;
6 Iestyn James (Dan Crandon),8 Mike Thomas,7 Lewis Prosser