Gwent rugby round-up

First published in Sport

LLANHILLETH, ravaged by injuries to their backline, travelled to face Beaufort with two 40-year plus players, Darren Coleman on the wing and Mike Hurn at full back.

Young scrum half Dan O’Brien played at outside half and wing forward Phil Leonard played centre.

Then in the pre-match warm-up, veteran prop Darren Crimmins injured his back.

These problems obviously put Llan on the back foot but they started in a determined mood following two controversial defeats against local opponents who had opted for passive scrums.

Beaufort however had a scrum and a fierce battle took place up front and play went from end to end throughout the game, with some very good tries being scored.

Llan scored four tries through prop Mark White who crashed over for a brace, Fred Evans at scrum half got one and second rower Terry Blackwell, who had his best game for Llan, scored the other when he crashed over following a determined run.

This secured Llan a bonus point.

Centre Dominic Bevan-Jones also converted three tries.

Beaufort scored some excellent tries of their own and on the day deserved their win, the final score 52-26.

Next up for Llan are old friends RTB Ebbw Vale, The coaches hope backs Luke Yates, Kyle Sterry, Nathan Harris and John Williams and forwards, prop Crimmins and Steve Falatau, overcome injuries.

On October 27 are looking for a game at Llan Park Llan as they are out of the Welsh cup.

Anyone interested can contact fixture secretary Mel Yates.

Risca 15 Abertillery 25 – Deprived of their potent scrummage, trailing by 15 points within ten minutes and down to 14 men for much of the second half, a tremendously spirited Tillery triumphed over adversity to secure a bonus-point win and top spot in the table.

The game started with passive scrums and the Cuckoos’ 100 per cent record seemed safe after a blistering start through a penalty and two well-taken tries.

Tillery showed great strength in the loose, fine driving play sending Kyle Griffiths over to reduce the deficit.

The visiting pack started controlling matters and Chris Stevens latched onto a great pass from Daniel Crandon to feed Aled Penn who danced his way over for a second try.

Dafydd Jones was spectacularly up ended in a tackle which resulted in a yellow card before Tillery ended the half with Daniel Hale’s penalty.

The injured Jones returned to the fray before being sensibly withdrawn, leaving the visitors permanently down to 14 men.

Numbers were temporarily levelled as the Risca’ No 8 saw yellow but they then brought on fresh legs, the hosts looking to stretch Tillery.

Remarkably, though, Tillery got stronger, taking the lead as Luke Pegler hacked through to gather the ball wonderfully well to score.

Darren Miles was then called into action, forcing the Risca right wing into touch before touching down.

The Green & Whites’ Kurtis Hale did well as fellow wing Penn went close.

Then as Risca cleared, Nicky Thomas caught the ball tremendously, feeding namesake Greg whose delightfully weighted pass put Griffiths through and over for the bonus point win.

Cwmbran 18 Oakdale 31 – a minute’s silence was held for Merv Hinnem on Saturday prior to the game.

A club stalwart and character, Mervin’s son, Anthony captained Cwmbran for a number of years and grandson Jarrad also wore Black and Whites colours.

On Saturday Cwmbran fell behind to two early tries and responded after 20 minutes with a Mike Davies penalty.

A piece of intelligent play by man of the match Jamie Edwards closed the gap further when he scored off a tap penalty.

Playing some good attacking rugby, Cwmbran’s likely next score was intercepted by Oakdale who scored and took a 17-8 lead into the break.

In the second half Cwmbran’s midfield defence fell apart with some individuals well below par as Oakdale ran in two further converted tries.

A Dan Powell try and penalty and conversion by Mike Davies gave the score a look of respectability.

If Cwmbran improve their defensive displays, they will win games of this type.

Players who stood out on Saturday were Jamie Edwards, Todd Elliot, Mike Davies and Mike Lang. On Saturday Cwmbran are away to Blaina.

Abertillery arrived short of front row forwards so the encounter was played with passive scrums as Risca exploded into the game with a penalty within the first minute.

Lloyd Mellon obliged and after four minutes quick ball to Owain Biddiscombe saw him breeze through to put Rhys Morgan on a run who delivered a excellent pass to Owain Cooper to score under the posts, Mellon converting.

Rhys Meredith then scored with a good solo effort from 30 metres but the conversion failed.

In the first ten minutes, Risca were in complete command.

But Abertillery had other ideas and replied with two tries and a penalty before half-time to make it 15-13.

After the interval Abertillery continued to dominate, their lineout in total control.

Risca’s pack were unable to provide consistent ball and any ball they did get it was always on the back foot.

Abertillery scored two more tries to get the 25-15 bonus point win they really deserved. Risca travel to Abergavenny next Saturday.

Pill Harriers entertained Garndiffaith in a Division Two East league fixture.

It was always going to be tough match as both sides finished first and second to gain promotion from the third division last season, Garndiffaith finishing as champions.

The game started at quite a high tempo with no quarter given by either side.

Pill’s forwards took control of the game with some outstanding performances all round from a young side, most of whom have come through the youth structure. Young prop Billy John had an outstanding game along with the youngest player on the park, flanker Kyle Pyart who capped his man of the match performance with a try to help Pill win 50-5 in a fast and furious game. Next, Pill travel to Abercynon, the home team winning 100-0 in their last encounter.

Newport Saracens secured a bonus point win after winning 30-26 away at Trinant to move them back into the top half of the league.

They scored five tries in a topsy turvy encounter which they should have won more comfortably.

In fact they almost blew it after an early 13-point lead and trailed 26-23 with a few minutes to play.

Victory was secured after a last gasp try under the posts by flanker Josh Davidson, Rhys Hendley converting.

Davidson was outstanding with his commitment, hard tackling, winning the ball on the floor in his own half to set up a long distance handling move which he rounded off, taking the final pass to score the vital try.

No 8 Eithan Doyle opened the scoring with a fine individual try after a superb run after which some lovely handling saw wing Dan Halpin go over.

Hendley added a penalty as Sarries went 13-0 up.

Trinant bounced back with a try and the half ended with Sarries ruing what should have been a bigger lead.

On half-time, they blew a four-to-one overlap, a certain seven points.

After the break, hooker Delme Fisher scored a fine try after a sidestepping run but the hosts’ confidence increased after being awarded a penalty try and they went ahead after scoring more two tries.

Replacement Richard Tuohy got a Sarries try before Davidson’s last minute clincher.

Sarries stand out players were Davidson, Doyle, the front row of Fisher and props Shaun Griffiths and Neil Phillips.

Backs Liam Foley, Hendley and Joe Corten were fully committed. Saturday, Sarries host Usk. Blaenavon attacked from kick off and went close to the Monmouth line early on. Monmouth were penalised at a scrum and No 8 Lee Wright scored Blaenavon’s first try, outside half Dan Phillips converting from near the touchline.

When centre Richard Dennington scored their second try after 20 minutes, Phillips was on target again from a wide angle. Blaenavon scored their third try through centre Mark Thorley after some great passing and running.

At the half hour point Monmouth took play up to the Blaenavon line but could not break down their defence before half-time.

From the restart, Monmouth put pressure on Blaenavon but they forced play back into their opponents’ half.

Scrum half Gareth Betts charged down a kick and scored Blaenavon’s fourth try. Mid way through the second half Monmouth scored their first try.

After great driving play by the Blaenavon pack, Mark Thorley scored Blaenavon’s fifth try. In the last 15 minutes Monmouth scored their second try but at the final whistle Blaenavon were the deserved winners.

Second row Paul Jones, Blaenavon’s most senior member, put in a great performance, showing his fitness and skills.

On Saturday the visitors to the Recreation Ground are New Tredegar.

The club extend their condolences to the family of former full back Gareth Meredith, who passed away recently.

Chepstow 22 Hafodyrynys 15 – Hafod were left wondering how they ended up losing after putting in a good performance for most of the game.

They started off well and Jeremy Parsons kicked an early penalty.

But after that the hosts had their best spell of the match, scoring two converted tries and a penalty to lead 17-3.

The Hafod came back and with the scrum sending the Chepstow pack backwards at a rate of knots they got a pushover try through Cerrig Wilson, converted by Jeremy Parsons.

The second half saw the Hafod came out fighting, getting stuck into the bigger home side pack .

They were clearly getting on top but every time they got near the home side’s try line, they were left frustrated.

The Hafod though kept plugging away and Chris Wall’s unconverted try saw them trail 17-15.

The hosts came back and had a good ten minutes, scoring another unconverted try.

The last 15 minutes belonged to the Hafod and they pounded the home defence, just failing to score time and again.

The players can take heart and if the they continue to play with the same effort, the first win must be just around the corner.

This week the Hafod are at home to Machen (kick-off 2.30pm).

Croesyceiliog 23 Tredegar Ironsides 8 – Croesy secured their first win of the league season with a strong set-piece performance.

The scrum dominated and in the lineout, man of the match Mark Wheeler and Richard Gibbins stole possession almost at will.

With both sides struggling for confidence, it remained scoreless for 30 minutes.

Croesy eventually broke the deadlock when centre Matthew Entwistle burst through to score under the posts.

He converted his own try and followed it up with a penalty.

Croesy seemed to relax, allowing the Ironsides an easy penalty.

But they started the second half determined to get the next score and an attack left the Ironsides defence severely stretched.

With Croesy almost certain to score a try, one of the Ironsides’ centres deliberately knocked on, earning him a yellow card and Matthew Entwistle kicked the penalty to stretch their lead to ten points.

Croesy again seemed to sit back and allow Ironsides back into the game and were made to pay as full back Chris Small was yellow carded and the Ironsides crossed for an unconverted try. Again they came back strongly from this setback and a sustained assault on the Ironsides try line eventually allowed Dale Price to cross in the corner for an unconverted try.

With ten minutes to go, Croesy brought on young flanker Alex Watkins for his league debut and he had an immediate impact.

Their final try came from a scrum on the Ironsides five-metre line, Ryan Bates crossing for an unconverted try.

The win gives the team confidence for Saturday’s visit to fellow strugglers Abercarn.

Abercarn travelled to play Newport HSOB and ended up on the wrong end of a 48-15 defeat.

The home side were first on the scoreboard with a penalty before Abercarn scored a fine try after the ball passed quickly through several hands for new signing Chris Hastings to score in the corner on his first outing for the side.

The home side scored three tries of their own and with full back Jason Evans adding a penalty at half-time the score was 22-8.

Immediately from the start of the second half, the home side crossed for their fourth try.

The young Abercarn side however did not let their heads drop and slowly their pack began to take the game back to their hosts.

They were camped in their opponents half and only strong defence kept Abercarn from scoring.

Finally hooker Gavin Herbert crashed over the line and Evans duly converted.

Abercarn were finally undone when their lack of fitness and poor tackling allowed the Old Boys to score three tries in the last five minutes to produce a final scoreline that was not a fair reflection of the game.

This was a much improved performance with the pack again in fine form, the Anderson brothers impressive with their bullocking runs as well as Ben James, Gethin Patterson and Chris Hastings in the back line.

This Saturday Abercarn welcome Croesyceiliog to the Welfare Ground.

Bettws visited old rivals Usk looking to make it five league victories in a row.

After an even opening, Bettws scored their opening try after good work in the lineout by Steven Price, the ball reaching centre Lee Fletcher who sliced through the defence to score near the posts, Wayne Whitehead converting.

Bettws quickly added their second try after good work by forwards Scott Clarke and Mush Stephenson saw scrum half Craig Currie scoring from close range, Whitehead again converting.

Back row forwards Dai Rigden and man of the match Lewis Claydon carried the ball to great effect and Usk were forced to defend until Bettws finally scored their third with Ryan Bradford going over in the corner after a final pass from Mikey Thomas.

Bettws were now playing some fine 15-man rugby, scoring their fourth try after a sweeping move involving forwards and backs saw captain Mikey Thomas going over for an unconverted try.

On the stroke of half-time, Usk scored a fine converted try to trail 24-7. The second half started with Bettws scoring their fifth after good work by Shaun Clarke and Phil Norville resulted in Wayne Whitehead taking the scoring pass from Lee Mcdonald to cross for a try in the corner.

Usk then put Bettws under a lot of pressure, only fine defence, led by Dai Rigden, keeping the hosts at bay.

Bettws’ sixth try was scored by Craig Currie in the final minute after Usk lost the ball on their own line. The final score was 34-7. Bettws coach Kevin Whitehead was delighted with the win but unhappy with their discipline, giving away far too many penalties in an error ridden second half.

Bettws Seconds, ‘The Chancers’, were leading Caerau Ely 10-7, after tries by Gareth Sefton and Rhys Clarke, when the match was abandoned after 60 minutes.

This was due to an injury to a Caerau Ely front row forward and Bettws wish him a swift recovery. The next fixtures see the Firsts host Crumlin while The Chancers visit Tredegar Ironsides. NEWBRIDGE United welcomed fellow mid table team West Mon for a very interesting contest.

West Mon opened the scoring with an unconverted interception try after a Mark Williams pass went astray.

To add to United’s woes, centre Dean Griffiths went off after ten minutes with a knee injury, replaced by coach Dafydd Lloyd. West Mon then scored a penalty before taking advantage of a quick tap penalty awarded for a Chris Jones indiscretion, scoring a converted try.

United full back Owen Lloyd was then yellow carded and they trailed 15-0 at the break.

The second half saw United turn things around with scrum half Mark Williams redeeming himself by scoring two tries, Kris Moses converting one. West Mon replied with a quickly worked line out to score an unconverted try.

Adam Lurvey made a return from injury on the wing, coming on for Byron Hale.

Moses then scored a converted interception try. Mike Peacock replaced Chris Jones, before Moses scored another converted try.

A West Mon penalty made it 26-23 before Ryan Morgan, who with Reuben Hoare and Josh Bussell gave a 100 per cent as a back row, was replaced by coach Mike Peters for the last ten minutes.

At this point United’s younger element combined with Mike Peacock to add considerable beef to the pack who parked themselves in West Mon’s 22 .

Peters was then sent off and Ian Smith replaced Greg ‘DJ’ Brown who suffered a shoulder injury.

The last minutes of the game saw United hooker Lee Green, who had given his all, throughout the game, score the try which sealed a well deserved home victory for Newbridge United by 31-23. The man of the match was Kris Moses.

PONTYPOOL & NEWPORT WRU seconds LEAGUE: Abergavenny 83 Chepstow 12, Caldicot 17 Risca 30, Gwernyfed 58 Cwmbran 5.

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