WRU East One

Risca 34 Abergavenny RFC 37

ABERGAVENNY 1st XV travelled to Risca on Saturday for a must-win game for both sides in their quest to avoid relegation from WRU East One, reports COLIN EVANS.

Abergavenny selected Jay Admans, Oscar Greenland, Matt Hancock, James Trumper, Rhodri Evans, Morgan King, Harry Judd, Aaron Scrimgeour up front, with Rhob Connick, Rob Lewis, Lloyd Holder, Rhys Jones, James Lewis, Anthony Squire and Nathan Williams in the backs.

An early penalty put Aber ahead before a clean break from Risca then gave the hosts a 7-3 lead.

Scrum time for Abergavenny and Risca
Scrum time for Abergavenny and Risca (Delwyn Edwards)

But with both sides keen to play an open game, one such move from Abergavenny put Anthony Squire into space where he showed his pace to run in the visitors' first try, converted by Rhys Jones.

Another penalty from Jones extended their lead before Risca scored a breakaway try to close the scoreline to 13-12.

Dayle Price then replaced the injured Rob Lewis. And having won a penalty on halfway, Nathan Williams took a quick tap penalty, and broke through to find wide open spaces.

A well-judged tackle brought him down just short of the line, but poacher Morgan King scooped up the ball to dive over for Abergavenny’s second try, converted by Jones.

An Abergavenny player makes a break
An Abergavenny player makes a break (Delwyn Edwards)

A Risca penalty closed the gap just before half-time with Abergavenny going into the break 20-15 up.

Risca restarted strongly putting Abergavenny’s defence under pressure, but Rhys Jones cleverly took an interception pass near the visitors' line, and with 80m to the tryline, he found a gear he hasn’t used before.

And although brought down a few metres from the line, recycled ball was then spread wide for Harry Judd to go over for Abergavenny’s third try.

Abergavenny secured a vital win in the battle to secure their East One status
Abergavenny secured a vital win in the battle to secure their East One status (Delwyn Edwards )

Rhys Ferguson and Eoin Shackleton were then introduced to provide fresh legs to help put the result beyond Risca, but the hosts had other ideas.

A flowing three-quarter move put their winger in at the corner for their third try, followed by a driving lineout resulting in a converted try to tie the scores up at 27-27.

With 15 minutes left the future of both teams in East One was now on the line.

A penalty near halfway was expertly converted by Rhys Jones to nudge Abergavenny in front again.

Rhys Jones had a good day with the boot
Rhys Jones had a good day with the boot (Delwyn Edwards)

And despite the pressure the visitors continued to play an expansive game, which was rewarded when a flowing move between forwards and backs put Ferguson into space to score Abergavenny’s bonus-point try under the posts.

With a ten-point lead that should have been it, but Risca came straight back scoring under the posts to close the scoreline to 37-34.

Crunch! An Aber player tries to break through
Crunch! An Aber player tries to break through (Delwyn Edwards)

Abergavenny desperately now wanted to keep Risca in their own half and through determination and togetherness they saw out the game to secure a priceless win which will go a long way to help secure their status next season.

Champions elect Brynmawr beat Senghenydd 50-5 at home and can still reach 100 points for the season.

Usk lost 40-20 at Cwmbran in East 2, but Nantyglo beat Llanhilleth 45-29 in E3 and Forgeside beat promotion rival visitors Hollybush 25-5 in E5.

Usk host Abertillery BG on Wednesday (ko 7.30pm) before travelling to Caldicot on Saturday (April 13), when Abergavenny visit Pontypool United, Brynmawr host Ynysddu and Crickhowell are home to New Tredegar.