28 April 2019 / Team News

Aber in dreamland after Bowl Victory

The day had finally arrived when all roads led to Cardiff and the final of the WRU National Bowl and what a day it turned out to be .

Selection was difficult for the coaches with a fully fit and eager squad to pick from but after much deliberation the big announcement was made . Jay Admans and Rob Lothian were selected to prop captain Ieuan James, Will Evans and coach Nathan Thomas were in the second row. Dan Beavan, Josh Davies and Rhys Dawe completed the pack . Rhob Connick and Rhod Webster were the half backs Joe Evans and James Lewis teamed up in the center Antony Squires, Jacob Butler and the young Nathan Williams made up the back three .

A huge and very vocal traveling support welcomed Abergavenny onto the hallowed turf of the principality stadium and the biggest game in the clubs 144 year history was underway.

Aber settled quickly and looked to play an expansive game and early doors wing Jacob Butler looked threatening down the flanks but it was Oakdale that opened the scoring when a few missed tackles gave them good field position and after a short period of pressure their full back scored wide out to give them a 5-0 lead .

From the restart Aber regained possession and kept the ball to put the Oakdale side under pressure and only desperate defence prevented them from scoring. The pressure eventually told and Abergavenny were awarded a penalty kicked by Nathan Williams to close the gap to 5-3 . Aber were now in dominant mood and attacked the Oakdale line time after time eventually getting the score when James Lewis put Nathan Byrne who had replaced the injured Buttler in at the corner to take the lead 5-8 .

The last ten minutes of the first half proved frustrating for Aber as a couple of unforced errors and some silly penalties enabled the Oakdale outside half to kick two further penalties and give them a 11-8 lead at halftime. The second period started in very similar fashion to the way the first had finished with Oakdale keeping Aber pinned down deep in their own half and eventually a defensive error allowed the Oakdale outside half to score a converted try to increase their lead to 18-8 .

Things got worse for the Aber side soon after this when the Oakdale hooker crashed over to score their third try and increase their lead to 23-8 and things were looking grim for 'the Genny' .

The coaches now bought on some fresh legs to join the fray Alex Howes was already on for Rhys Dawe, Curtis Price and Matt Charles came on to prop  and Dan Horler replaced the injured Will Evans who had worked himself to a standstill and Lewis Evans replaced Connick at nine . These  changes saw the Aber side move up several gears and soon had Oakdale back-pedalling. The ball was moved from side to side and the Oakdale defence was beginning to look frail.

Eventually it cracked, James Lewis made good ground before feeding Byrne who produced the finish of a lifetime to score in the corner to reduce the deficit to ten points .

The Abergavenny side were now rampant with two more replacements Dan Smith and Gareth Williams both adding impetus. The Oakdale side were now under constant pressure and they eventually cracked when Dan Horler crashed over to score converted by Williams to bring the score to 23-20 and game on .

The clock was now Abergavenny's biggest opponent and it seemed to be ticking at an alarming pace as they  pushed for that vital score but once again this Aber side never gave up and with the time now on Eighty one minutes thirty seconds they were awarded a penalty in front of the posts which if kicked would have drawn the game and the cup would have been shared. After much deliberation coach Nathan Thomas stepped forward and made the biggest decision in Abergavenny's history  saying 'every man dies but not every man lives, so let's go for it and win this trophy' and opted for a scrum .

The scrum was set and the clock back on ,phase after phase was completed as Aber pushed for that vital score and then with the clock now on eighty five minutes and twenty phases completed Antony Squires scythed through the Oakdale defence to score the most important try of his life to grab victory and the National Bowl for this extraordinary defiant Abergavenny side .

The try was converted by Nathan Williams who was awarded the prestigious man of the match award by S4C and the celebrations started .

A special mention must also go to the three traveling reserves Matt Sevenoaks Luke Williams and Nathan Harris who had all made a big contribution to this cup run in the previous rounds.

Also Abergavenny Rugby Club would like to thank every one who put a massive amount of effort into making this day very special for all involved it will go down  as the greatest day in the history of our club. A mention must also go to the people of the town who turned out in force to support the team and without your encouragement victory might have been a step too far . 

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