20 May 2018 / Club News

Reg Buttress Shield final West Mon 23 Abersychan 10

Whilst this may not have been their best performance of the season, it was certainly the most significant one as West Mon deservedly won its first silverware in 69 years of competing.

West Mon were made to fight tooth and nail by a spirited opposition which contributed greatly to an entertaining game in this inaugural competition, one which promises to be of great benefit to all sides in the Pontypool District for years to come

The team went into the game full of confidence having won their last 3 league games over quality opposition but as so often happens in cup finals, this had little bearing on the outcome.

Although dominating most aspects of play, West Mon had their work cut out in the scrums and it was probably this part of the game which kept Abersychan in the match for long periods. 

Ironically it was from one of their better scrum platforms that West Mon scored the try of the game when No 8 Bobby Cundick picked up and went a bullocking 30 yard run up to the half way line before passing inside to Dukie who took play deep inside opposition territory.

From the resulting ruck, the ball was moved sweetly along the backs for fullback Dion Perry, who enjoyed an excellent game, to cross over in the corner.

With Luke Shelton and Dafydd Thomas dominating the line out possession as a result of some pin point throwing by hooker Ryan Clark, scrum half Jon Wells was able to send out a stream of passes to his back line which saw Alex Maddocks and Alex Willcox punch many holes in the Abersychan midfield.   

There were also plenty of trade made bursts by Pat Daly and it seemed only a matter of time before another try arrived.  However a combination of heroic defence and indifferent handling meant that  West Mon reached the break with a 11-3 lead, with just 2 penalties by captain Robbie Baldock to add to the earlier try.

The second half followed a similar pattern with Craig Buffin going close whilst prop Scottie Leonard was all action.

Just as a certain amount of frustration was creeping in, West Mon secured their second try from the polished Mark Leighton and with Robbie adding the extra points, it seemed to most of the large crowd that this would now turn into a comfortable victory.

  However the old adage that a side is at its most vulnerable after it has scored was never more true, as from the resulting kick off, a series of errors resulted in an opportunist try putting Abersychan right back in the game with 30 minutes to go.

The opposition tails were now up and it was no surprise that West Mon deployed their bench with Connor Whitcombe and Chubba Lewis both making welcome returns after injuries whilst Bepe James continued to ensure that the lineout functioned well.

Abersychan were now enjoying their best period of the game but as an upset was being considered by the large and vocal crowd, up stepped Mark Leighton to cross for his second and decisive try for West Mon.

The remaining 10 minutes seemed like an age for the West Mon supporters but hopes that the opposition had of any further scores were sniffed out by that silent assassin Craig Jenkins and replacement wing Jason Morgan

The last play of the match saw long serving prop DJ Winter replace the effervescent Jonny Coleman, and it was fitting that he should have been on the field at the final whistle, having played for the club in 20 consecutive seasons.

And so a season that started on the 13th August 2017 with a pre season friendly in Cardiff against CIACS, ended some 9 months and 16 wins later with a triumphant victory over Abersychan RFC in the final of the Reg Buttress Shield at the Pontypool United ground.  That sounds pretty good to me

Ni yw'r pencampwyr

Footnote: The shield was presented by Dragons chairman David Buttress

Team 1: Scott Leonard.2: Ryan Clark.3: Jonny Coleman.4: Luke Shelton.5: Dafydd Thomas.6: Patrick Daly.7: Daniel Gibbings.8: Bobby Cundick.9: Jon Wells.10: Robbie Baldock (Captain). 11: Alex Willcox.12: Mark Leighton.13: Alex Maddocks.14: Craig Buffin.15: Dion Perry.

Subs 16: D J Winter.17: Richard James.18: Connor Whitcombe.19: Kyle Lucas.20: Craig Jenkins.21: Richard Prosser.22: Jason Morgan.

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