A losing bonus point seemed scant reward for Abergavenny’s efforts in the county derby at Caldicot, played in wet and very windy conditions, reports Colin Evans.
The Abergavenny team consisted of Tom Powell, Ryan Morgan, Matt Charles, Will Evans, Rhys Dawe, Nathan Byrne, Alun Chesworth-Rickards, Morgan King, Ryan Joyce, Rhod Webster, Ieuan Evans, James Lewis, Rob Lewis, Lloyd Holder, Rhys Jones.
Abergavenny began the game with the advantage of the strong wind which dictated that the high kick would be an important tactic of the half.
One such kick gave Abergavenny good field position, and from the resulting scrum Rhod Webster linked up with Rob Lewis who broke through the Caldicot defence to score under the posts, converted by Rhys Jones.
From the kick-off Caldicot used their powerful forwards to drive play deep into the Abergavenny half, and from a resulting line-out Caldicot drove a rolling maul over the try line to bring the score to 7-5.
Numerous scoring chances came and went for the visitors until Tom Powell carried the ball strongly, breaking several tackles and passing the ball to Morgan King who found James Lewis who scored a well-executed try.
A half-time score of 12-5 did not seem enough as Abergavenny had to face the wind in the second half.
Caldicot seemed to hold all the aces in the second half having a strong set of forwards and the elements to propel them down field, but Abergavenny rolled up their sleeves, defended well and were strong in the tackle.
The task became even greater when Powell had to leave the field with a bad knee injury replaced by Dan Anstey.
Rhys Dawe nobly stepped up into front row duty, but it soon became evident that Abergavenny would have to opt for passive scrums and play with 14 players.
With the majority of play in the Abergavenny half the visitors continued to keep their try-line intact, but infringements allowed Caldicot to score from three penalties giving them a 14-12 lead entering the closing stages of the game.
When the referee declared last play Abergavenny threw caution to the wind and spread the ball wide.
Ieuan Evans found space down the wing, and interplay with Nathan Byrne and James Lewis saw the former race in unopposed for the line only to be called back by the referee who adjudged a forward pass.
A losing bonus point was scant reward for a brave and workmanlike performance by this Abergavenny team.
And on top of that, a lengthy list of injuries and unavailabilities has forced the club to withdraw from the planned Ben Francis Cup tie against Brynmawr this Saturday (February 26), allowing their local rivals to go through unopposed.