Dowlais RFC | 1st Team 29 - 14 Abergavenny RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
05 January 2024 / Team News

16/12/2023 Dowlais v Abergavenny Admiral National League 1 EAST Match Report

Dowlais Vs Abergavenny 16/12/2023 Match Report


Dowlais: 29

Abergavenny: 14

A well-earned bonus-point win and redemption for Dowlais this week, at home against Abergavenny.

Despite the relatively high score that the match ended up with, for a large chunk of it, there really is startlingly little to talk about. For the entire opening quarter and for a fair while afterwards, both the home side and visitors were locked in a seemingly endless back-and-forth, with neither of them managing to get even the slimmest number of points on the board.

At the rate that things were going and the 0-0 stalemate that the match had been stuck at since the very first whistle, it began to look as though the both sides could be looking at an entirely scoreless first half.

But that all changed in dramatic fashion around 30 minutes in when Dowlais finally managed to break through with an excellent try, thanks to a powerful run through the Abergavenny twenty-two by Jonathan Sutton and an offload for Kyle Prosser to touch it down. Thanks to a conversion from Connor Murphy, Dowlais took the lead at 7-0.

Although getting the long overdue first points of the match and coming out on top of the lengthy stalemate was certainly advantageous and encouraging for Dowlais, the truly special part followed very shortly after.

Mere minutes after their first try, Dowlais managed to break through Abergavenny’s lines once again and claim another in almost identical fashion to their previous one, from the assist courtesy of Sutton to the final grounding of the ball by Prosser. Although this strike on the scoreboard would go unconverted, Dowlais had nonetheless managed to massively improve their standing in a very short amount of time.

But remarkably, mere minutes after that, they managed to do it yet again with a third try, this time ran and touched down by Ben Thomas.

In a truly remarkable turn of events, Dowlais had managed to score three times in the span of less than five minutes and had entirely shifted the balance of the game from a tense stalemate to one that was leaning heavily in their favour, with a 17-0 lead.

From that stunning assault, Abergavenny would fail to launch a successfully counterattack in the remaining five minutes, ending the first half with Dowlais sitting at their reassuring 17-0 lead.

But although things were certainly looking good for the home side going into the second half, players and supporters alike were wary of getting too comfortable, based on their previous experience with the visitors.

During their previous bout against Abergavenny for the second match of the season, Dowlais had ended the first half with a similarly vast 26-13 lead, a lead that they’d later blow and a game that they’d later lose despite scoring five tries in total.

But thankfully, those fears were alleviated as the second half got underway, with the home side managing to not concede within the opening seconds, as they’d done in their away match against the visitors.

In fact, similarly to the first forty minutes, a large chunk of the second half would be very uneventful points-wise, with the score remaining at Dowlais’ 17-0 lead for the first fifteen minutes or so.

When that silence was eventually broken, it would actually end up being in Dowlais’ favour yet again, as they secured a well-earned bonus point with a fourth try, this time touched down by Chad Powell, and converted yet again by Connor Murphy.

But after a wholly unsuccessful sixty minutes, Abergavenny would eventually strike back and land their first points of the match with a try of their own as the game sped into its final quarter.

But although their first real success of the match seemed to invigorate the visitors somewhat, their hard-fought attack on Dowlais’ lead was almost entirely neutralised five minutes later when the home side struck back once again with their fifth and final try of the match, this time touched down by Cameron Trowbridge, though unconverted.

While Abergavenny fought hard and didn’t go gently into the night, even managing to claw away at some of Dowlais’ lead with a converted try another five minutes later, ultimately they simply didn’t have the time to stage the comeback that they needed, and their efforts to take the lead fizzled out into a quiet final ten minutes.

As the final whistle blew, the game came to a close with a score of 29-14 and a bonus-point victory for Dowlais.

For the most part, I’d describe this performance as a very solid one, albeit one with a truly spectacular five minutes.

For the majority of the match, Dowlais did everything that they needed to. They defended well during the score-less lulls at the beginnings of each of the halves and managed to keep pace with the visitors during the latter part of the second half once they began having some success, answering both of their tries with ones of their own.

But without a doubt, the greatest part of the performance was the incredible five minutes towards the end of the first half, where the boys managed to score three excellent tries back-to-back.

It stands as some of the best minutes of rugby that I’ve ever seen any Dowlais side play and completely shifted the landscape of the game, to the point that perhaps one could even argue that it single-handedly won them the game. While Abergavenny did make a solid attempt at a counterattack later on, the lead that Dowlais had managed to accumulate during these five minutes just proved too much for them to get through with the time that they had left and the pace that they were scoring.

Overall, it was a more than solid victory, and a well-earned redemption for the boys from their previous, bitter loss at the start of the season.

Let’s hope that this fortune can carry through until after Christmas, when Dowlais face Bedlinog away.


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