WRU East One

Pontypool United 27 Abergavenny RFC 43 

ABERGAVENNY RFC travelled to Pontypool United on Saturday in another bottom-of-the-table encounter, and secured a vital six-try win, reports COLIN EVANS.

With Pontypool not playing this weekend, this was likely to be a stern test for the claret and amber, with the hosts needing points to avoid the threat of relegation.

Abergavenny selected: Matt Hancock, Jay Admans, Matt Charles, James Trumper, Callum Poole, Morgan King, Harry Judd and Alex Howes up front.

And Rhys Ferguson, Rob Lewis, Lloyd Holder, Rhys Jones, James Lewis, Anthony Squire and Nathan Williams lined up in the backs. 

No way through the Pontypool United defence this time
No way through the Pontypool United defence this time (Delwyn Edwards Photography )

Both teams began playing enterprising rugby, and Aber’s Alex Howes soon broke through on halfway, linking up with Rhys Ferguson to score the opening try, converted by Rhys Jones.

An error straight from the kick-off though allowed United to reply immediately with a converted try levelling it at 7-7, before slotting a penalty for 10-7.

Scrum time for the Abergavenny front row
Scrum time for the Abergavenny front row (Delwyn Edwards Photography)

Abergavenny hit back, attacking wide with Anthony Squire rounding his opposition winger to score and make it 14-10.

But from a line-out in the Abergavenny 22, a driving maul resulted in a United try to retake the lead.

The see-saw contest continued when Howes broke free again, eventually being brought down metres from the line before quick ball saw Rob Lewis cross for Abergavenny’s third try.

Abergavenny launch another attack
Abergavenny launch another attack (Delwyn Edwards Photography)

From a tap penalty, James Lewis then crossed for the bonus-point try, converted by Rhys Jones to give the visitors a 28-15 lead at half-time. 

A fired-up United put Abergavenny under pressure in their own 22 after the restart, and ill discipline saw the referee showing yellow cards.

Within minutes the visitors only had 12 players on the field, and United quickly crossed for two tries to close the scoreline to 28-27.

Abergavenny players move in to block a United attack
Abergavenny players move in to block a United attack (Delwyn Edwards Photography)

Abergavenny slowed the game down and held on to get their players back on the field.

And substitutes Seren Strong-Wright, Alun Chesworth-Rickards, Eoin Shackleton, Connor Davies and Dayle Price brought renewed energy to the contest,

Harry Judd then secured a turn-over, recycled for Rhys Jones to cross for a crucial score.

Abergavenny were now back on top of their game, and a flowing three-quarter move put Squire into space, outpacing his opposite number to run in his second try for a 40-27 lead.

Abergavenny players move in to block a United attack
Abergavenny players move in to block a United attack (Delwyn Edwards Photography )

A further penalty late in the game was the only other score, giving Abergavenny a hard-fought 43-27 win. 

Elsewhere, champions-elect Brynmawr lost their unbeaten record 27-26 at home to third-placed Ynysddu, while Usk beat hosts Caldicot 24-22 in E2.

Crickhowell visit New Tredegar on Wednesday night, while Saturday’s fixtures include Abergavenny v Nelson, Bedlinog v Brynmawr, Talywain v Blaenavon, Abertillery BG v Usk, and Chepstow v Nantyglo.