Abertillery Blaenau Gwent RFC
It was an afternoon where the Green Army very much paid the penalty, literally; as seven kicks of that ilk kept the Cuckoos in the match until they were able to deliver a sickening knock out punch in the dying minutes,the home side having been ahead three times during the 80.
It was a mixed looking Abertillery BG XV which took the field but the players settled quickly and made the early pressure tell. After a series of drives the ball was eventually moved left. Ryan Price, in from the right wing did well to recover a pass he at first seemed to lose and cross to the left of the posts. Liam Crandon added a conversion for 7-nil, but the pattern changed very soon afterwards. A series of missed tackles almost saw Risca cross the whitewash, but they were happy to take the resultant penalty to get points on the board in the 8th minute and another such score in the 18th brought the score back to 7-6. Aled Penn seemed to cross but was held up over the line, before Crandon was able to land an easy penalty for 10-6.
A 3rd Risca kick reduced the deficit back to one and a Mike Williams tackle was crucial in preventing a try even though the visitors’ flanker was in the sin bin. Penalties #4 and #5 put the visitors ahead either side of Scott Hoskins joining the naughty boys in the corner after a high tackle. The interval arrived, Abertillery BG 10 Risca 15
The second period began with another yellow card for the Risca centre, the penalty goaled by Crandon to move within two points. In the 50th a quick turnover was transferred left and Aled Penn raced away for an 80 metres try and 18-15, but minutes later it was penalty #6 and scores level.
A try almost came but a kick ahead eluded both Risca centre and Williams to roll harmlessly over the dead ball line.
Jack Woodland had made an impact but was withdrawn when Hoskins returned. However, he was back in the fray as a replacement for second row Mike Thomas before Crandon restored the lead with his 3rd penalty, but it seemed inevitable that number 7 would not be a long time coming and the Risca full back duly equalised the scores again. Jordan Legge had replaced Anthony Isgrove at hooker by now and the scrum was on top, but somehow the pressure fell on the Green and whites and from a clearance kick which narrowly missed its touchline target, the ball was run back and the defence breached in the left corner, an uppercut punch which proved a sickening and knock out blow. Final Score Abertillery BG 21 Risca 26
The defeat was a 4th consecutive League loss and most disappointing in its manner, but a disjointed team had battled hard and must now rise to the challenges of the weeks to come, starting next week at Brecon.
Man of the Match; Mike Thomas started prominently but it was Lewis Prosser who was the pick of the forwards, his battling effort deserving better support.
Abertillery BG; 15 Mike Williams; 14 Ryan Price,13 Darren Miles,12 Kurtis Haile,11 Aled Penn; 10 Liam Crandon, 9 Shaun Gwilliam; 1 Dafydd Cripps (captain),2 Anthony Isgrove (Jordan Legge), 3 Scott Hoskins; 4 Mike Thomas (Jack Woodland),5 Luke Rees: 6 Iestyn James, 8 Lewis Prosser (Adam Collins), 7 Matthew Jones