Dowlais RFC -36

ABERGAVENNY RFC’s hope’s of emulating last season’s SWALEC plate run were soundly put to bed on Saturday by a more composed and clinical Dowlais side who beat them at the first hurdle.

The Clarets showed several changes from the previous week. Rob Lothian and Ryan Morgan joined Curtis Price in the front row. Will Evans partnered Dan Horler in the second row and Alex Howes returned to join Josh Davies and Rhys Dawe in the back row.

Young Will Robinson formed a new half back pairing with Rhod Webster. James Lewis and Nathan Byrne were in the centre and the back three were made up of Nathan Williams and the two Butler boys, Jack and Jacob.

Dowlais started the game with a strong wind behind them and used it to good effect to keep Aber pinned in their own 22 for the first ten minutes of the game. They were eventually rewarded with a penalty to take the lead.

From the restart Aber managed to get a foothold in the Dowlais half and after a good period of possession levelled the scores with a well struck penalty by Nathan Williams.

From the restart Abergavenny went on the offensive. Jacob Butler expertly regathered a high-kick and off-loaded to put Nathan Williams in under the posts. Williams converted to give Aber a 3-10 lead.

That was as good as it got in the first-half as Dowlais used the conditions to their advantage. Their goal kicker proved deadly accurate and their outside backs clinical, as they racked up 28 unanswered points to go into half time 31-10.

The second-half was a different kettle of fish as Aber now had the elements in their favour and kept the home side pinned down in their own half. Yet resolute defence by Dowlais and some small handling errors prevented the Clarets from scoring .

Abergavenny’s coaches now unloaded the bench with CJ Woodhouse, Ben Roberts, and Fred Pursey bolstering the pack. Rhob Connick also made an appearance as did debutant Rhys Miles - Hewinson.

Abergavenny never gave up and were eventually rewarded with a well worked try by Jacob Butler. Yet Dowlais bounced back and scored in the dying minutes to make it 36-15 as Aber’s dream of returning to the Principality Stadium were well and truly shattered.

Next week Aber return to league action with a visit to Talywain, and the youth are away to Mumbles. If anyone fancies a trip to the Gower, get on the bus and give the young fellas your support.