07 March 2017 / Club News

Blaina Triumphant In Away Victory At Aberbargoed

Last Saturday 4th March Blaina travelled to Aberbargoed to face a side riding high in the table, and to whom we had lost fairly convincingly at home in October. Couple this with the fact that we were missing a dozen or so players – some of whom even had genuine reasons for not being there (!), and it looked like we were going to have a long day at the office.

The comeback kid Kevin Knapp (who foolishly believed it when told that he’d “only be on the bench”), put in a brilliant 80 minute shift. Same went for Carl Brimble, in only his second game since coming back from a serious foot injury; and Tyson Mochan, in making his first start, gave his absolute all. Mention also should go to Tom Bell, who again helped us out by playing centre rather than his preferred front row berth; and last but by no means least, big thanks to Linford Lewis, who filled the bench, and especially to coach Kieran Dash. Dashy ended up on the field, so did get his boots dirty, even if everything else was Persil white! Kieran went on for the last few minutes at full back, so emulating his hero Phil Steele, of the “non-tackling school of full back play”!

But it’s really unfair to single out anyone, as the whole side put in a huge effort for the full 80 against tough opponents. Make no bones about it, this was a massive performance, caused a few raised eyebrows, and could well turn out to be season-defining come April.

We started playing into the face of a strong wind in the exposed conditions. Aberbargoed used their local knowledge to kick intelligently, and so spent large chunks of the first period camped in the Blaina half. Dogged and determined defence kept the opposition at bay for most of the first quarter, but pressure eventually told and a converted try midway through the half set Blaina back a little. However, an overall superb defensive effort restricted the home side to just another penalty, so 10-0 on the half hour mark.

Blaina then managed to work their way into the Aber’ half, and spent long periods pressing; several penalty awards meant that the Lambs had a number of lines out close to the Aber’ line – one of which meant that the pressure was eventually rewarded with loose head Carwyn Perry crashing over for his third try in three games. So 10-5 at the interval.

Turning around meant that Blaina now had the strong wind at their backs – would they be able to make best use of it was the burning question?

Aberbargoed had obviously had some harsh words spoken at the interval, as they came out firing on all cylinders. They spent large chunks of the third quarter camped in Blaina territory, again with only strong and determined defence keeping them from crossing. One good turnover and a hefty hoof from Carl Brimble pushed the visitors deep into the opposition half, providing welcome relief. Shortly after the resulting lineout a penalty was awarded to Blaina; Carl Brimble’s cunningly-disguised fluffed kick, coupled with a good chase, almost resulted in a second Blaina try!

The visitors continued to press, and two swiftly-awarded penalties in succession saw Carl revert to the more traditional method of aiming AT the posts, resulting in Blaina edging into the lead at 11-10 – a lead they were not to relinquish.

The hosts then proceeded to throw everything at the visitors, resulting in further long periods spent in the Blaina half; but heroic and sometimes last-gasp defence kept the line intact. Jon Daniels sustained a blow to the head, resulting in him having to leave the field. It was commented that he was concussed, to which the obvious response was “How can you tell”?!?! Also replacement Lee Stevens had to leave the field after a bump on the swede, and it is this which resulted in Dashy getting his boots dirty!

It must be said that the home side did manage to incur the wrath of the referee on several occasions, largely down to their inability to keep answering back to a minimum; but having been on the other side of that coin many times, all decisions that went in Blaina’s favour were gratefully received! The final whistle couldn’t come soon enough, and when it did sound there was predictable delight from the visiting side.

A superb performance all round, great attitude and dogged determination, and a fantastic result which consolidates our position in the league; with games in hand over most other teams, we can now have real hopes of moving up the table. Huge thanks to all of the players who turned up on Saturday – no-one could have asked for more.

Author :  Duane Pipe


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