07 September 2015 / Team News

1st Game of Season

Welcome to season 2015-16 in the dizzy heights of Division 2 East. I write from the heady position of club Vice Chairman, but as there is no “Chairman” I am, by default, in the proverbial Chair for the season (Only). A bit like today’s team, I feel out of position and/or ready to step aside for the first team choice. I was trying to find a way not to disrespect the lads who started today, and I don’t want to belittle any of them in any way, but Caerleon had more than a dozen of the first team of last year unavailable for today’s game, for various reasons,  including Captain Chris Macey and last years player of the year Dai Burgess.  That's why Pork Chop was at centre with Chris  Taylor, Couchy and Saul on the wings, Tomcat at 10 and Rhys Macey at 9. John Burgess was at 15. The pack started with M'Lud, Pete Loader and Eddie Grant, Bailey and Richie Collins in the row with a back row of Duly, Adam Break and Jordan Davies.

As is my usual standard I arrived nearly 15 minutes late at Abertillery Park, today’s opponents. This did have an advantage, however, as the gate men had departed so I was spared the 4 pound entry fee. (4 pounds a bit steep if you ask me, but as from next week Caerleon will be selling programs to address the balance as we are/were one of the only clubs not charging entry fees). It turns out that our boys had been under the cosh (or fish as I texted to Sheldon)   for most of that time. Their line was eventually breached after around 20 minutes, followed quickly by a penalty for a 8-0 lead. 5 minutes later a quick dab and dash just in Caerleon half by Rhys Macey a bullocking run by Porky saw Caerleon on a rare attack. Couchy did well down the flank fed the supporting Dules who flipped inside when his legs tied up for JB to go under the sticks. Tomcat took the 2 and it was 8-7 showing what the boys can do. Unfortunately, soon after, a penalty for not releasing gave Aber another 3 points that may have been cancelled out by Tom but the ball fell off the T twice on his approach leading to a hasty atempt that went wide. Half time 11-8.

Richie Collins came off at the break and Adam Howels went on. Aber were straight on the offensive again and got a driving try in the left corner after 7 minutes (not converted) and carried on their relentless attacking. Caerleon were defending well, epitomised by a try saving covering tackle by Saul after Achey Breaky  had attempted a chip as he was obviously carrying an injury. He came off and Herbie came on to join Howelsey in the second row. There was more pressure, M'Lud & Granty were down at one point, both needing attention, but they battled on under the pressure of a more experienced well drilled pack. Tom takes a massive hit in defence under the posts and was in clear distress, and salt in the wound Porkey got carded for hands and there was still 20 to go. Tom needed to go off, but the management must have been strugling as to how the could shuffle things. The boys eventually cleared the decks after defending 3 attacking scrum 5's. With around 9 minutes to go Aber scored another, unconverted, forward orientated try in the opposite corner to lead 21-7. Then it was all change. Tom off, JB to out half. Saul to full back, Rhys on the wing, Eggy on at 9. George Doors on for Granty and after 3 minutes Doods on for Herbie. Despite all this Caerleon put some pressure on Abertillery for the final 5-6 minutes with evergreen Duly making a couple of great mid field sorties .   The game ended with John Burgess having to make a try saving cover tackle to deny Aber a bonus point and the whistle went for a home win 21-7.

With my chairmans hat on I’d like to, metaphorically,  shake every player by the hand for their efforts yesterday. Players out of position and players stepping up against an opposition who are battle hardened at this level. Your efforts were marvellous and you played for the Helmet  Badge with pride. Well done lads, take it all in as a learning experience and take it forward into the season.

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