A large Bailey Park crowd crowd cheered Abergavenny Youth RFC to a second cup in as many weeks as they won a nailbiting district final with Caerleon, reports COLIN EVANS.
The starting XV consisted of Matthew Hancock, Oscar Greenland, Will Phillips, Seren Strong-Wright, Ben Main, Angus Brown, Harri Williams, James Trumper (captain), Owen Phillips, Evan Wyatt, Joe Brook, Kiatisak Tinanop, Finley Robertson, Tom Boshoff and Adam Binmore.
Caerleon had some very impressive results in reaching the final and it was an eagerly awaited contest between the two best youth teams in the region.
Both sides looked to run the ball at every opportunity which tested out both sets of defence.
The best early chances fell to Abergavenny when two scoring opportunities went begging in the final movements.
But the deadlock was broken 25 minutes into the game, when Wyatt executed an excellent 50/22 kick, and Brook, who chased down everything all afternoon, spotted the oncoming Phillips and took a quick throw to give the latter a clear 15m run-in for the opening try.
Abergavenny then had their best period of the match until half-time, Hancock and Brown putting in some tremendous hits in contact and Trumper, Williams and Main always getting the home side over the gain line to give the backs good ball on the front foot.
From good field position, Strong-Wright secured clean ball off the line-out, and following a few phases of play Brown off-loaded to Greenland who found Trumper, the captain then powering his way over in the corner to give Abergavenny a 10-0 lead ay half-time.
The second half began with play swinging from one end to the other, with some notable tackles from Main and Brown preventing Caerleon from scoring as Aber’s defence held firm.
Following a penalty kick on halfway, Wyatt then found good touch in the 22.
Strong-Wright secured the line-out, and the other forwards formed a perfect driving maul from 10 yards out to push the Caerleon pack back over the line, with Greenland touching down for Abergavenny’s third try to extend the lead to 15-0.
Shay Lewis, Harry Judd and Sam Woolley were introduced to give renewed energy into the Abergavenny effort.
But the home side then suffered two yellow cards to Caerleon’s one due to indiscipline, which gave the latter an opportunity to exploit gaps in Abergavenny back line.
From a scrum on halfway, a flowing backs move led to Caerleon’s first try in the corner. And the season’s largest Bailey Park crowd was now engrossed as they all recognised Aber’s useful opponents were capable of a comeback.
The tension was further heightened when a loose kick led to Caerleon’s backline linking up to run the length of the field for the best try of the match, the conversion closing the scoreline to 15-12 and suddenly it was anyone’s game
Seth Butler and Will Scrivens entered the fray and with yellow cards back on it was back to 15-a-side.
Caerleon had the bit between their teeth now and were camped in the Abergavenny 22. Twice it seemed easier for them to score than not, but they spilled the ball. They turned down a kickable penalty to level the scores but kicked for the corner, but still determined defence and lady luck kept them out. Finally when the referee called last play, Caerleon’s line-out misfired and the ball was kicked into touch bringing an end to a terrific game of rugby befitting a cup final, as Abergavenny added the district crown to their National Youth Plate triumph.