17 September 2018 / Club News

Aberbargoed fall short in a 11 try thriller!

 This weekend’s action saw us take the short trip up the valley for yet another local derby, this time against Abertysswg in the SWALEC Bowl Competition.

With Abertysswg playing a league above Aber knew this was going to be their toughest test of the season so far. The last time the teams faced each other was in the Cyrus Davis Cup semi-final, in which Abertysswg came away with the W and went on to lift the trophy.

Aber again had to tinker with their squad slightly due to a few absentees who were unfortunately injured or had work commitments. They were hit with even more bad luck before kick off as 3 of those named on the bench had to drop out, one with an injury, another who couldn’t get from work in time, and a no show. Nevertheless, Aber were still confident with the squad at their disposal.

The first 10 minutes were played at a frantic pace with barely a moment for either team to catch breath. Both teams got into their rhythms early on and were building good pressure and retaining the ball well, from the outset you could see this was going to be a physical test with Abertysswg having some big ball carriers, their number 8 in particular.

Aber conceded a soft penalty on the half way line for playing the ball on the floor, which Abertysswg placed well into touch in Abers 22. With a good platform from the lineout, the home side were heading towards the try line with some good pick and gos from the base. Aber made a try saving tackle just inches from the line, but with nobody in behind the ruck the line was gaping for Abertysswg who simply picked up and dotted over the line, a soft way to concede after a positive opening for Aber.

Soon after kick off Aber again found themselves in their own 22, this time with their own lineout. A miscommunication allows the ball to go flying over the top where Abertysswg were quickest to react to gain possession. A carbon copy of the first try saw the home side make hard yards around the breakdown and yet again with the line gaping crossed the line for a 2nd.

14 – 0

Aber began to work their way back into the game as they started to put the home team under pressure in their own territory. Aber were rewarded for their efforts and clawed their way back into the game with 2 well taken penalties by Chris Jenkins.


With only moments to go until half time, ill-discipline again gave Abertysswg the opportunity to pump the ball down deep into Aber territory. With such a strong set piece it seemed like every time they got into this position they would come away with points. This time they worked a clever line out move which saw the maul peel off down the blind side, and with only scrum half Aaron Matthew covering that side the Abertysswg pack crashed over for a 3rd.


The last play of the half saw the home side concede a soft penalty in their own half, and with Chris Jenkins not looking like missing slotted over to go in at half time 19-9.

With the game still in the balance, you’d think the half time team talks would be to keep it tight, play for territory, and play “cup rugby” as the saying goes. Both teams decided to go completely against this and went all out attack for an entertaining end to end half of rugby in which over 50 points were about to be scored.

Unfortunately for Aber, the first 2 tries came in quick succession after the home sides big 8, who Aber had managed to keep relatively quiet in the first half, went on some bullocking runs and made big, big yards down the middle of the field. You can’t go high on someone as big and surpassingly quick as this. Within 5 minutes of the 2nd half kicking off Aber seemed to be down and out of it, with the score board reading 33-9.

As seen in previous games already this season, the character and real sense of togetherness came shining through for Aber as they regrouped and refused to just roll over to have they belly’s tickled. With the return of old head Craig Brownett, a level of aggression and never say die attitude is always simmering away not far underneath the service. From the kick off, a chase led by winger Ricky who catches hold of the receiver and with Brownett in close support, both manage to keep the Abertysswg player on his feet and drive him backwards. Holding the ball up Aber are awarded a scrum in the home sides 22. A devastating scrum saw Abertysswg going back at a rate of knots and the ref had no hesitation but to immediately award a penalty try.


The theme continued from the kick off with both teams wanting to attack from every opportunity. Not looking to slow the game down at all, Abertysswg were awarded a penalty and with no hesitation were tapping and going again. The home side recycled the ball quickly and it was the turn of their back line to show they could also score tries, a soft pair of hands by their full back puts their winger in space and out paces the covering defence to stretch their lead and regain their scoreboard dominance.


With the game all but gone, Aber began playing with freedom and like the home side were tapping and going from everywhere. Aber were awarded a penalty in their own 22. I can only assume he’d forgotten to take his medicine that morning, but 26 times retired, 58-year-old veteran prop found himself with the ball in his hands and he was tapping and he was away – after quickly making 25 meters (10 of those sideways, another 5 backwards to the safety of his players after realising what he was doing). It was a laugh if nothing else, and it seemed to lift our players again – I mean, if a 60-year-old can find that bit of pace and energy I’m sure the younger boys have some left in the tank.

With a scrum bang on half way in the middle of the pitch, it gave make shift scrum Chris Jenkins a great platform to attack from. After picking up from the base, he clears the covering back row and breaks into the home team’s 22. He’s brought down but not held and gets back to his feet to make another 5 meters. The support was quickly there to win the ruck and a powerful pick from back rower Craig Brownett beats the covering defence to stretch over for another try to the visiting team.



Aber were once again on the attack, with Abertysswgs back rows attention now on Aber’s make shift 9, it gave the backs that extra yard of room out wide. 2nd rower Huw Meyrick spotted this and came into the line at first receiver, and with a pass Danny Cipriani would be proud of floats one over the last man to centre Clarkey who gasses the covering winger. With only the full back to beat, and winger Ricky Rowlands in support, Clarkey pulls the defender over to the touch line and pulls back a beautiful inside pass putting Ricky in under the sticks


From the kick off the ball found its way to replacement back rower Ching, and like any good back rower does in this situation, he decides to showcase his kicking skills. Unsurprisingly the ball goes a good 20 meters, down the middle of the pitch, straight into the oncoming full backs arms. I must add at this point, the fact Ching caught the ball from the kick off was enough to let him off the hook for the abysmal clearance kick. Well done Ching.

Meanwhile, due to the Aber XV noticing the ball heading to Ching from the kick off they were already setting up for the scrum for the inevitable knock on. This caught the Aber defence out and a chip over the top and a fortunate bounce allowed the home team to cross over for yet another try.


Not knowing whether to congratulate Ching for the catch, or berate him for the kick, it was a weird last team talk behind the posts for Aber, but they were adamant to have the final say it what had been an entertaining game of rugby.

From the kick off, Clarkey and Ricky both chased hard as they had done all game, both collecting man and ball at the same time and drove him back a good 10 meters before Ricky ripped away the ball and Aber were in possession in their opponents 22. The forwards were in quick support and took ownership of the situation – they got their systems in place and a few good carries by the likes of Luke Roberts and Gavin Thomas got Aber within 2 meters of the line. A clever little offload in the tackle to Huw Meyrick and with the assistance of Ching powered over the 11th and final try of the game.

FT 47-35.

Although disappointing to lose the game and go out of the cup at such an early stage, it was heartening to see the boys pick themselves up after a nightmare opening 5 minutes to the 2nd half. It could have gone a completely different way, but Aber stuck in the game and contributed to what was a fantastic half of rugby. Conceding 7 tries is of course a concern, but after the blistering first 30 minutes there were always going to be tired legs out there in 2nd half.  Big congratulations to Abertysswg who were clinical in the periods that Aber switched off – we wish you well in both your cup and league campaigns.

We are back to league action next week as we play yet another local derby against Blackwood Stars. 

Men of the match selected by Abertysswg and the Aberbargoed coaching team respectively were Ben Rowe and Ricky Rowlands.






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