HAVING already guaranteed promotion, Abergavenny 1st XV travelled to Ynysddu on Coronation Saturday for an important second plays third fixture at Ynysddu, reports COLIN EVANS.

 Abergavenny had a full-strength squad to choose from, so this fixture would provide a good indication as to how the visitors will cope in League 1 next season.

The early exchanges were even with the Abergavenny forwards fronting up to Ynysddu and Connor Davies, Ryan Morgan and Matt Charles combating the powerful home pack at scrum time.

Ynysddu however were able to exert considerable pressure at the lineout, which enabled Jason Tovey the hosts’ outside half to kick deep into the corners, thus controlling territory and imposing a stranglehold on the game.

The opening score came from a scrum in midfield, as slick handling in the Ynysddu midfield put their winger in the corner for the opening try.

And a penalty soon afterwards extended the lead to 8-0. 

Abergavenny then came back into the contest with solid defence and by being particularly good over the ball, gaining several turnover penalties, one of which was well converted by Nathan Williams to close the deficit to 8-3. 

A key moment in the game then came just before half-time when a charged down kick was capitalised on by Ynysddu, with a few quick passes securing their second try to extend their lead to 15-3 going into the break.

Steady rain greeted the players for the second half, which suited Ynysddu as the long kicks came more regularly, with several achieving a 50-22 lineout. 

A converted penalty for the home side took them three scores ahead and it seemed a long way back for Abergavenny. 

This brought a little more urgency into the visitors’ play, and from a breakdown in midfield, quick hands from Dan Beavan and Connor Davies put Anthony Squire into space on the outside. 

He had space to show his skills and squeezed into the corner for a well-taken try. 

Closing the score to 18-8, the visitors had an opportunity to come back into it.

But the home side took control again, playing the game deep in the Abergavenny half. 

And following a series of forward drives Ynysddu scored their third try to extend their lead to 25-8 going into the final ten minutes.

Abergavenny had defended strongly and to their credit held Ynysddu out for the rest of the game, denying them a bonus point try.

Abergavenny will have a quick chance of revenge though, with the Ynysddu return fixture at Bailey Park on Saturday, May 20 – their final league game of the season.

Blaenavon lost 26-14 at home to Monmouth in East One in midweek, just a week after beating their visitors 15-13 away.

A Monmouth penalty put the visitors in front before Blaenavon hit back by stealing a line-out throw and making good ground via another line-out and driving maul to the top right-hand corner where the visitors conceded a penalty try to make it 7-3.

Monmouth kicked another penalty for 7-6.

Two yellow cards for the hosts then saw Monmouth wing Kester Mobbs-Morgan go over as the visitors went 13-7 in front, folowed by two more penalties before half-time (19-6).

And a strong back row-led break upfield after the break led to a try by Monmouth skipper Jack Edwards as the visitors stretched their lead to 26-6.

In overtime, the host pack finally forced the ball over the line to cut the deficit, but it was too little, too late.

Usk RFC are promoted from East Three in second, but missed the chance to finish off with a bang when Tredegar Ironsides forfeited.

Nantyglo moved top of East Four with a 14-10 home win over previous leaders Chepstow and are guarenteed promotion, but their title rivals have a game in hand.

And Forgeside Blaenavon stayed on course to top East Six with a 25-17 Friday night win at Magor.

Fixtures this Saturday (May 13) include Nantyglo v Newport Saracens and Girling v Forgeside. 

Blaenavon host Brecon on Tuesday (May 16), while Forgeside host Old Tyleryan on Wednesday (May 17).