Gwent rugby – around the clubs

LEAGUE leaders Caerphilly came to The Park with a proud 100 per cent record but were put to the sword 53-17 as home side Abertillery ran riot.

Abertillery’s pack provided a solid platform for ex-Ospreys and Newport Gwent Dragons outside-half Shaun Connor to orchestrate events wonderfully as the visitors were overrun.

The September sunshine was matched by the high-octane brilliance of the rugby in the opening ten minutes when two tries apiece saw the hosts take a 14-12 lead.

After the frenetic opening, the rest of the half wasn’t played at quite such a high tempo.

Tillery’s scrum was destroying the opposition and the hosts should have stretched the lead when Aled Penn was denied what seemed a definite try, the only further scoring coming through a Daniel Haile penalty.

Tillery started the second half like the first with great ball being provided up front.

Connor put Haile away with a great short pass for a try.

The next 30 minutes saw a turbocharged home side run away with the game.

Caerphilly simply had no answer to the onslaught as they were outgunned everywhere.

The hard working Greg Lane finished off a move wide out for a bonus point try.

This was before the Caer-philly scrum was routed completely as the visitors’ pack conceded a penalty try.

The next two home tries were simply stunning.

Kurtis Hale initiated the first with a break in his own 22 and Tillery moved the ball through ten pairs of hands for Penn to cross.

Penn then completely bamboozled the visitors’ defence, stepping in and out past five defenders on a 40-metre run, before feeding Hale for a try.

Caerphilly continued to battle and gained their reward with a Michael Lynch try but Tillery deservedly had the last word with a Chris Stevens touchdown.

LLANHILLETH travelled to Bettws looking for their third win in a row but took to the field with a much changed team from the previous week and lost 44-29.

They had no recognised scrum half due to injuries and unavailability so young outside half Kyle Sterry played his first ever game there.

He acquitted himself well but this reshuffle caused disruption among the backs and as a result Bettws played a free flowing game and put Llan to the sword, running in six tries.

The visiting pack, with Darren Crimmins, captain Scott Pitt, Mark White, Danny Brimble and Terry Blackwell playing well, started to get on top as the game progressed.

With Bettws on the back foot, Llan scored four tries for a bonus point through White, Brimble and two from super sub Paul Annetts, whose second was the try of the game after he smashed his way over.

Llan put together a good second half performance following a forgettable first.

Full back Luke Yates had a fine game as did James Foreshew on the wing.

This weekend Llan play neighbours Brynithel in the Swalec Bowl competition.

NEWBRIDGE UTD travelled to top of the league side Whitchurch for a hard fought contest.

Both sides cancelled each other out in the first half and the game was scoreless at half-time.

However, Whitchurch managed to pierce the Utd defence twice early on in the second half to go 14 points up.

To make matters worse, Utd prop Chris Jones was sent off.

Refusing to let their heads drop, Newbridge battled on and scored a try through Greg Brown.

Despite Utd’s valiant efforts, they were unable to close the gap with the game finishing with a 14-5 victory for Whitchurch.

Utd’s man of the match was James Gougerty.

THE week before it was all pats on the back but last Saturday was quite the reverse as home team Cwmbran leaked six converted tries to lose 14-45 to Caldicot.

In brilliant sunshine the Crows, who are still short of a number of front line players, never got out of first gear in all phases of play.

Mike Peart’s men trailed 17-0 at the interval with the visitors scoring a penalty and two converted tries.

It was hoped that with the slope in their favour in the second half the Cwmbran team would up their game.

However, chances were few, the errors increased and Cwmbran’s defence let in three more converted tries before scoring themselves.

Cwmbran’s best forwards on the day, Mike Lang, Todd Elliott and Mike Peart, all figured in the build up to Mike Davies’ try, which he converted. Caldicot responded with a try of their own prior to Ian Bradfield scoring, backing up Chris Wannell on his way to the line. Luke Brown converted to end a game best forgotten by the hosts.

Coaches Kirkup and Bailey, with no first team game this week, hope the injury list decreases and training numbers increase in the coming weeks as the club looks to get back on track. AFTER 15 years without a second team, ST JULIAN’S HSOB SECONDS travelled to Risca to open their season.

Expectations were high but the reality of second team rugby was soon highlighted when Risca opted for passive scrums.

With several tight forwards looking to impress coach Sean Duggan for the forthcoming cup game against Girling, the lack of scrummaging was a major blow for the visitors.

Risca started the game strongly and were better suited to an open game, their mobile forwards keeping a constant supply of ball going to their threequarters, met in most by some brilliant scrambling defensive work.

Sam Williams, ably supported by Ryan ‘Pitbull’ Rees, were outstanding.

Stalwart John Compton worked hard, keeping his younger teammates committed to the final whistle, and although Saints went down 34-0, the game marked an important day for the club.

They are hoping to continue with the seconds but need more players.

Anyone who wants to come along is welcome. Training is at 6.45pm on Tuesday and Thursday at the Glebelands.

NEWPORT SARACENS continued their good early season form with a well earned three points away at RTB Ebbw Vale, the spoils shared in a 24-24 draw which saw both sides scoring four tries in an exciting game.

On a bright sunny afternoon ideal for running rugby, Sarries went into an early 7-0 lead with a solo try from full back James Casey after a mazy individual run where he beat man after man.

RTB came back to score a converted try and the lead changed hands several times with the contrasting styles a feature of the game.

Sarries used their fast exciting back line whereas RTB chose to use the more direct driving maul through their heavier pack.

Going into the final quarter, RTB led 24-14 but Sarries countered with two excellent tries from Casey and Rhys Handley to clinch the away draw, the other try scored by Pat James.

Behind the scrum Casey was a constant threat, particularly when running the ball back in broken play.

James also played well and up front the lineout was excellent with captain and flanker Patrick James and No 8 Ethan Doyle gaining plenty of good quality possession, with James’ tackling outstanding.

The scrums also went well, pleasing for the Saracens as this proved to be a problem area last season, with the front row of props Brian Feeney and Carl Burgess and hooker Delme Fisher all contributing to a good all around performance.

On Saturday the Sarries have a bye in the cup but an away friendly has been arranged at Panteg.

An under strength Trinant team travelled to high-flying Nantyglo for a dificult game made worse because three players selected to play failed to turn up on the day.

Nantyglo kindly permitted them two players so they would have a full compliment on the bench.

For the first 20 minutes Trinant gave a good account of themselves and trailed 12-6 with two Ryan Jones penalties.

On 25 minutes the home side increased their lead to 19-6 and added a further three tries in the final ten minutes of the half to lead by 36-6 at half time.

Trinant started the second half by adding a penalty to make the score 36-9.

From loose play Nantyglo spread the ball wide and added a further try to make it 43-9 on the hour.

Trinant then lost scrum half Dwaine Smith with a rib injury after 65 minutes.

Nantyglo added another try to go 48-9 up.

Following another injury and having used their subs, the Troggs were reduced to 14 men for the final ten minutes. Nantyglo added a further three tries to run out winners by 63-9.

Although heavily beaten, the Troggs competed throughout, everyone giving their best, but the stand out players were Ian Beddis, Dwaine Smith, Turner, Jones, Lee Pidgeon and Carl Morris.

With a bye in the cup this week the club will have a couple of weeks to get most of the long injury list fit for their next home league game when Usk will be the visitors.

Bettws scored an emphatic bonus point victory over old rivals Llanhilleth scoring six tries in the process.

Straight from the kick off Bettws were on the front foot with Martin Williams, Anthony Matthews and Kyle Williams carrying the ball to great effect. Bettws opened the scoring after just ten minutes through a Stephen Price try after Gareth Busson made a fine break and offload, Marcello Anderson converting.

With Wayne Whitehead, Lee McDonald and Ryan Bradford causing the visitors all sorts of problems, it was no surprise that Bradford scored Bettws’ second try, outpacing the Llanhilleth defence to score a converted touchdown under the posts.

Llanhilleth then replied with a penalty of their own before Mike Thomas got the third Bettws try after good work by Phil Norville and Shaun Clarke.

Llanhilleth then scored their opening try after good work by their heavy pack.

Bettws then clinched a bonus point on the stroke of half time with their fourth try through Gareth Busson after good work by Lewis Claydon.

At half time Bettws led 24-10. Bettws were quickly on the front foot at the start of the second half, only desperate Llanhilleth defence keeping their line intact until Anderson kicked the first of two penalties after the visitors were caught offside.

Bettws scored their fifth try through flanker Lewis Claydon after good work by scrum half Craig Currie.

Llanhilleth then replied with a try of their own.

With ten minutes remaining Bettws scored their sixth try when Jayjay Whitehead put in a fine grubber kick and veteran Lee McDonald won the foot race to touch down in the corner.

Llanhilleth, to their credit, scored two late tries to take a bonus point, the final score being 44-29 to Bettws.

Coaches Kev Whitehead, Lee Fletcher and Richie Tuck are delighted with the club’s progress and the fact that the second team are also looking strong.

This week the firsts have no game and the seconds are away at Abertysswg.

Forgeside beat Girlings 29-0, scoring four tries to earn a bonus point.

The tries came from Craig Dando (2) and Morgan Parry.

The referee awarded a penalty try to Forgeside against a Girlings scrum on their line.

Three conversions and a penalty were kicked by Morgan Parry.

The pick of the tries was by Morgan Parry when Lee Redman made a break and passed to Parry who chipped over the defence and picked up to beat the defenders.

Other notable performances were by wing Peter Walker and number 8 Steven Howard, on permit from Blaenavon. Hopefully captain Fraser White will make a return for Saturday’s match against Trefil.

New players are welcome at training on Tuesdays at 6.30 at Forgeside and Thursdays at 6.45 at Blaenavon.

Hafodyrynys were a bit shellshocked to lose 41-17 to Monmouth because they were actually leading 12-7 ten minutes into the second half when it was anyone’s game.

Then they just collapsed and allowed the home side to score four converted tries in ten minutes to run away with the game.

Everything started so well for Hafod when they scored a try by Jeremy Parsons in the first minute, which he converted.

They were well on top for the first 20 minutes, but couldn’t add to their score and the home side scored to make it 7-7 at half time.

At the start of the second half Hafod camped on the home side’s line and eventually scored a try by No 8 Cerig Morgan to lead 12-7.

Then came the Hafod collapse and the home side forged ahead and never looked back.

Hafod, though, never gave up and came back in the final minutes and scored another try by Craig Legatt.

They now need to pick themselves up for a cup game this week at home to Blaina Utd, kick off 2.30pm.

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