Blaenavon RFC | 1st Team 16 - 10 Dowlais RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
30 November 2023 / Team News

18/11/2023 Blaenavon v Dowlais Admiral National League 1 EAST Match Report

Blaenavon Vs Dowlais 18/11/2023 Match Report


Dowlais: 10

Blaenavon: 16

A narrow defeat this week for Dowlais, away over in Blaenavon.

As I’m sure you’re able to tell from the eventual final score that it ended on, this match was a notably low-scoring one, but even with that, the first half was remarkably light on points, with both side’s scores staying down in the single digits for the entirety of the first forty minutes.

The first of these miniscule points would take quite a while to hit the score board, with the match lingering at an even, untouched 0-0 for almost a quarter of its duration.

These first points took the form of a try for Blaenavon, with the home side making it past Dowlais’ line shortly after the fifteen-minute mark. Although, the time it took for them to get there certainly wasn’t due to a lack of trying, as the home side had remained very dominant and in control for almost that entire time, putting intense pressure on the Dowlais defence before eventually breaking through.

However, this try would only bring the score to 5-0, not 7-0, due to a missed conversion thereafter, the first in what would be a noticeably extensive list of kicks not quite hitting their mark this game.

This misfortune wasn’t simply limited to the home side either, as while Dowlais attempted to close the fresh point gap over the coming minutes, none of the penalties they chose to kick for managed to make it over, leaving them stuck at the bottom with their score still at zero.

But the visitors’ counterattack wasn’t an entirely unsuccessful one, as while they might have failed to chip away at the score gap with penalties, they eventually managed to close it in one fell swoop, thanks to a try, one born of a golden opportunity that arose when one of Blaenavon’s kicks in their own twenty-two was charged down, giving Dowlais an opening to strike, one that they took full advantage of, with the try being touched down by Luke Price.

However, while this excellent play did manage to erase all of Blaenavon’s lead, it didn’t quite give it to Dowlais, thanks to a missed conversion on the visitors’ part, merely bringing things even to a score of 5-5.

This kicking misfortune would carry through to the rest of the half as well, as while both sides would get their chances to poke ahead and take the lead with a penalty or two over the course of the remaining time, no kicks would make it over. In fact, Dowlais’ try would end up accounting for the final points of the half.

Although things didn’t look like they were going to go that way for a while, as a yellow card for Dowlais shortly after their try seemed to put them in a very perilous situation, especially with all of the pressure that Blaenavon had held over them all game up until that point in key areas such as the scrum.

But despite some clear fear amongst supporters that the following ten minutes would open a floodgate of points for Blaenavon, nothing ended up coming of the time Dowlais spent cut down to fourteen men in the end, with the time ending up being rather uneventful for the most part, and the visitors doing a good job of holding out until their numbers were replenished.

Once Dowlais were back up to fifteen men, the half drew to a rather uneventful conclusion for both sides, with the score still sitting at 5-5 after almost twenty minutes.

But despite having failed to take the lead, Dowlais seemed in good spirits after having managed to keep the game even and under control how they had, even under a set of very daunting circumstances and were able to make it into the second half mostly unscathed and hopeful to finally shoot ahead.

Those hopes wouldn’t last very long at all however, as Blaenavon would score their second try of the game in the opening minutes and opening plays of the second half, reinstating their five-point lead and putting Dowlais right back to square one, thanks to this try too being unconverted.

From there, Dowlais seemed to struggle even more to get ahead and in control of the game, as their attempts to strike at Blaenavon’s try line failed to pick up any meaningful steam and their kicks continued to have similarly unsuccessful results.

The next mark on the scoreboard wouldn’t come until almost twenty minutes later as the game entered its final quarter, in the form of a penalty, the first successful kick of the game, but not for who Dowlais had been hoping, with Blaenavon taking their lead just out of a single try’s range and bringing the score to 13-5.

As the sands of the remaining twenty minutes started to slip away, it began to seem as though Dowlais didn’t stand much of a chance at closing the score gap again, considering their total lack of success for such a large chunk of the game, and indeed, that did end up being the case for a rather significant portion of that remaining time.

But soon after the clock passed seventy minutes and the remaining time dwindled down to single digits, the visitors managed to break through with another try, driven over and touched down by Luke Palmer, although painfully, this too would go unconverted.

Although the try had certainly helped matters, missing out on those two points and only bringing the score to 13-10 had left Dowlais just far behind enough that they still needed another try to take the lead.

And despite hopes that their successful attack would give the boys the second wind that they needed, Dowlais would ultimately fail to close the score gap a second time, with their second try ending up becoming their final points of the game, after an unsuccessful final ten minutes.

Although their second try wouldn’t end up providing the final points of the match as a whole, as Blaenavon would manage to squeeze out three more in the very last play of the game, thanks to one last penalty, bringing the game to a final score of 16-10 to the home side.

Overall, while far from a terrible performance, it’s hard not to feel a tad disappointed with how the match eventually came to an end. Despite the pressure put on them by Blaenavon, Dowlais weren’t thoroughly outmatched or overpowered by any means, at least not in most of the moments that truly mattered, as evidenced by the fact that both sides scored the exact same number of tries, with two each.

Indeed, the only difference in points between both sides’ final scores ended up being the two penalties that Blaenavon managed to get over in the end, compared to Dowlais not managing to kick any throughout the entire match.

With a total of five missed kicks and fourteen lost points as a consequence, it’s certainly fair to say that some stronger execution in that department – or even just one or two of them making it over – could have made a world of a difference.

Penalties proved to be a problem in another sense as well, namely in how many Dowlais managed to concede, with many potentially promising plays once again being brought to an end by a split-second of ill-discipline.

But at the very least, although Dowlais’ efforts to close the score gap weren’t entirely successful in the end, they weren’t entirely unsuccessful either, with their second try having managed to once again secure them a losing bonus point.

Let’s hope that the boys can manage to take the lead of their next bout, as they play Pontypool United at home.


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