It was a cold night at the Talbot Athletic Ground – not Brynmawr Square cold, but chilly nonetheless – but the sparse crowd was treated to some quality rugby, with the the Aberavon backs looking particularly lively throughout.
Almost 20 minutes went by before there was any scoring and, having defended well, it was Ebbw who obliged when, after sustained pressure from the pack, quick ball went left and Dai Langdon finished with a try that he also converted.
Aberavon continued to press and, although superb defending by the Steelmen kept them at bay for some time, eventually flanker Luke Joseph bundled over to score. James Garland converted to tie the match at 7-7. Within a minute it was 14-7 to the Wizards as winger Jay Baker gathered the re-start and outpaced the defence. Lucky, perhaps, as he appeared to knock on in taking the ball, but the finish was quality.
Penalties from Langdon and Garland closed the half at 17-10 to Aberavon.
The game had flowed well in the first period, and continued to do so, but this was sometimes at the expense of penalisable offences being dealt with via warnings rather than sterner sanctions. Ebbw’s scrum dominance was counteracted in the second half by Aberavon getting an early push on: not allowed but (like many things in rugby) fine if you can get away with it! No excuses and no sour grapes, though: the home backs were excellent, the back row got the uper hand in the loose, and tries came for Baker and Joe Tomalin-Reeves (a real nuisance all evening, and the type of player you’d love in your team!) Garland converted both.
Ebbw, with the injury crisis telling, never gave up and defended bravely. The hard-working forwards earned a penalty try when Aberavon, who had struggled all evening, were deemed to have illegally stopped a try bound shove. Langdon converted, and that’s how the game finished, 34-17 to the hosts who thoroughly deserved their victory.
Post match reflections concluded that, as far as highlights of the evening went, Jay Baker’s second try was pretty good, but the homemade corn beef pie from the snack bar was in a league of its own.
Dan Haymond, Will Talbot-Davies, Nathan Preece, Liam Jones, Craig Duncan; Dai Langdon, Chris Thomas; Ross Jones, Joe Franchi, Gethin Robinson; Josh Jacas, Damien Hudd; Ronny Kynes, Dawid Rubasniak, Rhys Clarke.
Substitutes: Jonny Bowen, Ian George, Rob Sevenoaks, Mike Preece (Risca RFC), Ben Papp (Usk RFC), Dai Jones, Jordan Howells, Srdan Majkic.
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Mae pobl Blaenau Gwent yn gyfarwydd â thywydd oer, ond noson iawn oedd hi yn Aberafan, nos Wener, wrth i Glynebwy wynebu’r Dewiniaid sydd ar frig y cynghrair ar hyn o bryd.
Di-sgôr a chael a chael oedd hi am ugain munud, gydag Aberafan efallai yn cael gorau’r chwarae, ond daeth y sgôr gyntaf i’r ymwelwyr. Yn dilyn gwaith da, amyneddgar gan y blaenwyr, yn pwyso’n drwm ar amddiffyn Aberafan, aeth y bêl yn gyflym i faswr Dai Langdon a chroesodd yntau am gais. Gyda’i drosiad, 7-0 oedd hi.
Ymosodd y Dewiniaid ar unwaith ac roedd angen ar Lynebwy amddiffyn yn ddewr ac yn ffyrnig. Yn y pendraw, sgoriodd Luke Joseph a, gyda throsiad James Garland, 7 yr un oedd hi. Yn syth o’r ailddechreuad, aeth cyfle i asgellwr Aberafan, Jay Baker. Yn ffodus iawn siwr o fod, ar ôl iddo gnocio’r bêl ymlaen, ond roedd ei gyflymder yn ardderchog a sgoriodd ail gais ei dîm yn y cornel. 14-7 oedd hi ar ôl trosiad gan Garland a chyfnewidodd Langdon a fe gigicau cosb i wneud y sgôr yn 17-10 ar yr egwyl.
Goruchafodd Aberafn yr ail gyfnod ond sgorion nhw dau gais yn unig – gan Baker a Joe Tomalin- Reeves – diolch i amddiffyn Glynebwy a oedd o dan bwysedd yn aml iawn. I fod yn deg i’r Dewiniaid, nhw gafodd y gorau o bopeth ond y sgrym, lle roedd cryfder blaenwyr Glynebwy yn amlwg iawn. Yn y pendraw, a braidd yn anochel, daeth cais cosb i Wyr y Dur ar ôl i’r tîm cartref eu rhwystro rhag sgorio. Trosiad Langdon oedd gweithrediad olaf y gêm, a chymerodd Afan y fuddugoliaeth yn hollol haeddiannol.