ABERTILLERY triumphed 35-30 after extra-time in a real thriller against Tredegar in round one of the Swalec Plate.
Seemingly dead and buried with less than ten minutes of normal time to go, a young Tillery team mounted a rousing finish.
Greg Lane’s try levelled matters with the last move of the game, only for Chris Stevens’ conversion to do everything but go over, first hitting the post and then the crossbar before bouncing back out. But Tillery weren’t to be denied and a Kyle Griffiths try in extra time gave them victory and passage through to the next round at the expense of old rivals Tredegar, two divisions above.
Fielding a significant number of youngsters, the Green & Whites were the better side early on with the pack supplied good ball for half backs, Aled Liddington and Keiron Meek, both youth players making debuts, to settle quickly.
Tillery amassed a 13-point lead but the visitors responded superbly to deservedly draw level with a great counterattacking try by strong running centre Lewis before Stevens added his third penalty for a slender home half-time advantage.
That was overhauled within a minute of the restart as a great drive set up an excellent converted try for Harwood.
With play ebbing and flowing from one end to the other, Stevens narrowed matters to a point before the visitors soon cancelled it out with a kick of their own.
Tredegar appeared to gain the crucial score when centre Craig Lloyd scored to make it 30-22.
But the home side fought back and a penalty set up a grandstand finish.
The Tillery scrum forced a penalty five metres out and great work by Chris Davies and Joe Phelps at the line out set up Lane who powered over to equal the scores.
The visitors needed only to hold on without further score in extra time to win on try count. But Tillery eventually got the score their extra time efforts deserved as Griffiths latched onto the ball out wide on the right to surge his way over.
Pontypool United won 22-6 at RISCA to progress to the second round of the Swalec Plate.
Once again Risca made wholesale team changes bringing back Owain Coomer on the right wing and on the left wing giving a debt to Ian Garrimore, who was playing only his third game of rugby after converting from football.
Adam Price and Owain Biddiscombe formed the half backs with Ben Farley at No 12.
It was all Pontypool from the off. Risca’s defence held out until the 14th minute when they conceded a penalty.
The intense pressure continued but Risca then snatched their chance with their first visit to the United half after 35 minutes.
Lloyd Mellon struck a fine penalty against the wind to make it 3-3 at the interval.
It was Risca’s turn to dominate early in the second half and new wing Garrimore showed some great pace and determination but just failed to get over the white-wash.
Rhys Morgan had a great run but failed to find his support runner.
But, despite all Risca’s pressure, United struck to run the ball out of defence and they walked over their first converted try.
With Risca still dominating territory and possession they could not break down United’s defence and the visitors produced two more tries again out of their own half.
Risca’s only consolation was one more penalty by Biddiscombe.
This Saturday Risca welcome Brynmawr.
Croesyceiliog gained revenge for their narrow defeat to Gwernyfed in September with a convincing 25-10 away win in the Swalec Plate.
Croesy travelled with a young team and the few travelling supporters were treated to the teams best performance of the season to date.
After repelling early Gwernyfed pressure, with Scott Copsey leading the line, Croesy started to dominate play.
The driving work by both forwards and backs eventually led to a close-range unconverted try with Copsey driving over from a ruck.
Gwernyfed immediately looked to respond and finally breached the defence through driving work by their forwards resulting in an unconverted try.
Croesy though struck back immediately and within two minutes were ahead through a try by scrum-half Ryan Bates.
He converted his own try and a few minutes later added a penalty to give his side a 15-5 half-time lead.
Gwernyfed threw everything at Croesy after the break but Bates pounced on a clearance kick to run in the third try before Chris Small added a fourth. Gwernyfed claimed the last score of the game with a try from short-range with the last passage of play.
Cwmbran’s young team are out of the Swalec Bowl after losing 29-11 to Nantyglo at the Kings Head on Saturday.
After dominating territory and possession for the first half hour the Crows looked capable of a win.
But they spurned an easy kick at goal and Nantyglo scored a converted try against the run of play.
Mike Davies kicked a penalty for Cwmbran but, as the game progressed, poor execution, wrong options and a strong Nanyglo defence stopped their promising attacks.
After another try by Nantyglo, a penalty by Mike Davies of Cwmbran followed by a try by inside half Dan Powell closed the gap to 12-11 at the interval.
Despite good second half performances by forwards Jamie Edwards, Todd Elliot, Micky Blake and Mike Lang Nantyglo ran in three further tries for a well deserved win.
This Saturday Cwmbran host table leaders Cilfynydd.
Despite six changes from the previous week and still missing injured captain and flanker Pat James, Newport Saracens continued there recent impressive form with a 41-17 victory over visitors Trinant to advance into next round of the SWALEC Bowl.
Sarries outscored their visitors six tries to two with the whole team contributing.
Flanker Josh Broome got two tries and opened the scoring for the hosts after a penalty by Simon Veale on halfway had given the Troggs a 3-0 lead.
Veale had another chance to increase the lead but this time a monster kick from 55yards dropped under the bar.
Broome’s try was followed with further tries from in form No 8 Ethan Doyle and scrum half Tom James.
Centre Rhys Hendley added two conversions and Sarries turned around 19-10 up after the visitors scored a pushover try by Ian Beddis converted by Jamie Lyons just before half-time.
In the second half, with the strong wind at their backs, Sarries dominated and three further tries were added by Broome, wing Mathew Riley and full back Liam Foley.
Riley scored after a lovely break from fly half Dale Tucker who ran from his own half and linked with Doyle who put the wing in at the corner.
In final minutes minutes Trinant threw caution to the wind and ran the ball from all areas of the pitch, scoring a try which started from inside their own 22 finished off by full back Veale, which he converted.
This Saturday the Sarries are at home to Rogerstone l Saracens officials & coaches are hoping to start an under-13 team. Anyone interested should turn up at Maesglas fields on Saturday mornings at 10.15am.
Blaenavon are through to round three of the Swalec Bowl after an 8-0 win at Ynysddu.
The visitors took the lead after five minutes thanks to a penalty by outside half Morgan Parry.
Forwards Matthew Davies, Peter Loader and Josh Faletau carried well with close support from the others to recycle the ball.
After a great carry by Matthew Davies a long pass by Morgan Parry to Faletau near the touchline saw him running powerfully to score in the corner. Ynysddu threw everything into attack but Blaenavon’s solid defence kept them out with Gareth Betts pulling off a great tackle in the last minutes.
It was a deserved win for Blaenavon, which saw Scott Creese, Jo Cook and Steve Howard making welcome returns.
Hafodyrynys progressed to the next round of the Swalec Bowl with a 25-0 home win over Crickhowell, but it was not as easy as the score suggests.
Hafod made a number of changes from the previous week but it made no difference as they used the wind to good effect to build up a commanding lead of 18-0 by halftime.
Playing down the slope they were far too quick for the opposition and scored tries from Ryan Miller and Tony Pullen, with Jeremy Parsons adding 2 penalties and a conversion.
In the second half, however, it was the visitors turn to use the wind and they had Hafod on the back foot for about 20 minutes but never really looked like scoring.
The home side soaked up the pressure and then clinched the game with a try by Jeremy Parsons, which he converted to put Hafod into the next round.
This week Hafod are away to Blaina (kick-off 2.30pm, bus leaves at 1pm).
Chepstow travelled to the Heads of the Valleys on Saturday for their Swalec Bowl clash with Division Five outfit Beaufort and they came away with a 29-12 victory.
Beaufort had the majority of early possession and they were awarded two penalties in the opening 15 minutes.
But the hosts’ fly half failed to convert either and some darting runs by scrum half Matthew Reid and an excellent performance from centre Alex Price ensured that the Black and Whites got on the front foot.
Midway through the first half centre Neil Evans broke the deadlock with a 50 metre dash to the try line with Ashley Young converting.
Andrew Morris was shown the yellow card shortly after the first try but Chepstow continued to pressure Beaufort and went in 10-0 up after a penalty from Young.
The second half was to be a lot more fruitful for Chepstow and captain Ian Griffiths soon crossed to take the score to 15-0.
Beaufort realised that they needed to up their game and a forwards break allowed them to score in the corner to pull it back to 15-7 and shortly after this they scored another try after building some good phases to come within a score at 15-12.
Chepstow man of the match Horder crossed for his second try in only two appearances for the first XV.
Beaufort then had a man red carded before Chepstow second row Tom Heggs ran the length of the field to set up Ashley Mustoe for the final try.
This Saturday the Black and Whites are back in league action and host Blaenavon at home.
Bettws travelled to Trefil in the Swalec Bowl with a much changed team due to injury and a man flu outbreak but still came away with a 26-20 win.
Bettws shaded the first half and led though three Marcello Anderson penalties to a single Trefil penalty at the interval.
The second half kicked off with Trefil scoring a second penalty after Bettws were caught offside.
But Bettws forwards began to win the forward battle with Kyle Williams and Lewis Clayden heavily involved in most of the exchanges.
The first Bettws try arrived after good work by Gareth Sefton and Steven Murphy released wing J J Whitehead to score in the corner.
Bettws quickly added a second try when Callum Rowlands scored from close range after good work by Craig Currie.
Trefil replied almost immediately with a converted try of their own but, with the game entering the final 10 minutes, Bettws scored a third try after intense pressure led to Rowlands scoring his second of the game.
Trefil had the final say with a well worked converted try in the last minute but victory went to the away side.
Bettws play at Beaufort on Saturday. The bus leaves at 12.30pm.
Croesyceiliog LADIES enjoyed a fine 24-19 win at Sea View, despite only having 14 players available.
Croesy came out firing on all cylinders and took the game to Sea View from the off.
The poor conditions suited the forwards which should have played into the hands of Sea View but, despite really strong ball carrying, Croesy managed to turn over plenty of ball at the breakdown and counter-attack.
Croesy managed to score three tries in the first half, uphill and against the wind through Kerry Jenkins Nicola Smith and Hannah Roberts.
Jenkins converted one and Sea View scored two through Rafiuken Taylor, who showed great pace and vision throughout, and one was converted by Melissa Clay to give Croesy a half-time lead of 17-12.
Croesy managed to hang on in the second half and showed great courage and determination after losing their captain Roberts to injury – forcing them to play the remainder of the game with only 13 players.
Sea View’s Taylor ran the length of the pitch to score under the posts, converted by Clay, to bring the score back to 17-17.
But Croesy dug in and managed the final try of the game through Danielle Gagne.