02 April 2018 / Club News


Abercwmboi 20 pts   Porthcawl 23
History was made at Taffs Well RFC on Saturday as Porthcawl reached the final of the Bowl for the very first time, in a scintillating match of great quality that culminated in an extraordinary finish.
A very cold and windy afternoon saw Abercwmboi almost open the scoring after 10 minutes of opening exchanges, with both packs sizing each other up, and the village side appearing to have opened the door with full back Matthew Jones coming close to scooting over for the opening try, only for the ball to be lost in a tackle.
Seaweeds outside half Josh White tried his kicking boots moments later as he went for a 55 metre shot at a penalty from inside his own half, his effort falling just below the bar.
Porthcawl were getting plenty of possession from lines-out against a huge Aber pack through skipper Richard Hnyda and the irrepressible Leon McNally and when full-back Ben Thomas’ mazy run and pass to Jon Phillips set up flanker Ben Asprea for a typical charge, White’s long pass unfortunately went astray, as the promising position came to grief as Porthcawl pressed.
White made up for it two minutes later as he secured the opening points for Porthcawl as the Abercwmboi defence gave away an easy penalty from 15 metres in front and nil-3.
Abercwmboi are enjoying a tremendous season and when they reacted strongly to the Seaweeds score, it was full-back Jones who made no mistake this time, steaming his way over for a super try out wide for 5-3, the conversion well adrift.
A wayward high tackle by Aber presented White with another penalty opportunity from 45 metres and the outside half made no mistake to put Porthcawl back in front. It was White again moments later, snatching a further three points and 5-9 with a punishing penalty from 52 metres, bringing down the curtain on the scoring at the break.
Abercwmboi kicked off the second half and took just two minutes to get in front as Porthcawl’s vaunted defence, the best in the league this season, erred uncharacteristically and Aber scrum half Tom Owens, a very competent operator, needed no invitation to scamper over at the posts for a try converted by Jordan Rees for 12-9.
When Rees slotted a penalty as the Seaweeds fell offside at a ruck for 15-9 Porthcawl knew that it would take everything they had in the tank to avoid falling further behind and to get back on terms.
It all seemed to have got away from Porthcawl when Abercwmboi colossus Lee Jarvis at No.8 finished off an almighty forward drive with an unconverted try to make it 20-9 and the Seaweeds needing two scores to pull the match out of the fire.
It seemed to go from bad to worse as White left with a leg injury for Porthcawl, with a re-jigged backline as Jordan Skidmore came on and Phillips moving to fly-half.
This apparent setback however, seemed to galvanise Porthcawl as they sensed their opponents starting to tire deep in the second half and with less than 10 minutes of normal time remaining, the match suddenly turned. Porthcawl’s pack found another gear and some new found pressure on the Aber defence forced a series of scrums in their 22.
Seaweeds flanker Owen Thomas, having been a scourge to the opposition with surge after surge following his second half introduction to the match, profited from the quick ball and used all his strength to plough over for a try under the posts, defenders hanging from his back. Ben Thomas’ conversion brought it to 20-16, with time ticking away and an improbable comeback on the cards.
A huge Abercwmboi attacking kick upfield found its’ way to Aled Davies then to Phillips deep in home territory and as the Porthcawl attack advanced between 22 and halfway, Phillips huge pass eventually reached prop Tim Lunn whose great hands found centre Gareth Rees. The mercurial speedster produced a sublime ‘show and go’ to scythe through an unbelieving Abercwmboi last line of defence and gleefully strode under the posts for a glorious individual try, that covered more than 50 metres, to snatch the match from the fire, converted by Ben Thomas to bring it all at 20-23.
Aber came back for one more assault only for a handling error to bring it all crashing down and as the referee’s whistle blew for no-side, the huge travelling Porthcawl support triumphantly greeted their side, with unbridled joy, a momentous result and with Porthcawl having played in every round of the competition, with no byes.
This was a superb match and a credit to both sides, played in a marvellous spirit and the generosity of Abercwmboi’s players in congratulating Porthcawl as both teams shook hands, was greatly appreciated and brought a great occasion to a close.
So, all roads from Porthcawl will lead to the Principality Stadium on 29 April when the Seaweeds will aim to make more history against the students of Cardiff University.        

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