Crickhowell 33 Usk 2nds 9
CRICKHOWELL RFC completed an incredible turnaround in the club’s fortunes with this clear-cut victory in the Ivor Jones Cup final, having successfully regrouped after last season’s debacle in which they had to abandon their season after only a handful of games.
This 33-9 win came after Usk 2nds had a player sent off early in the second half - but nothing could spoil the Crick celebrations. It came after Crickhowell travelled to the neutral Pontypool United’s ground and ensures they have one hand on the first half of a remarkable double.
Both teams started with high intensity but Crickhowell had the upper hand in the scrums from the off. After half an hour it was scrum-half Lewys Cooke who broke the deadlock with a searing run up the wing to score the first try of the game with Tom Keane converting. Usk replied with a penalty some minutes later but almost immediately Keane slotted over a penalty for his side to keep their nose in front. Shortly before half-time Crickhowell hooker Ed Jones was sin-binned and Usk scored a further three points from the resultant penalty followed by a third shortly afterwards leaving the the scoreline 10-9 at the interval.
Five minutes into the second-half one of the Usk players was controversially red-carded and Crick began to gain the upper hand with another coolly placed penalty from the boot of Tom Keane. Next, a long kick upfield from Keane was followed by a crunching tackle from Harry Purvis and from the ensuing scrum it was Ryan James at number 8 who once again scored for his side with Keane converting. As the subs were brought into play captain Leon Rees burst through his opponents and passed the ball smoothly out to winger Ben Crocket who went over for Crick’s third try of the match. With Crickhowell’s forward dominance the ball was once again secured, Keane made ground and passed the ball to top try-scorer Harry Purvis who made more yards before offloading the ball to the speedy Harry Summers who rounded off the game with Crick’s fourth and final try.
The jubilant Crickhowell team then lifted the cup to the delight of the many supporters who had travelled down to watch and the warmest applause of the evening was when the man-of-the-match award was presented Crickhowell prop Andy Nicholl. The team was sponsored for the evening by ex-captain D.Penny of Transwave Ltd, Ebbw Vale.
With the season nearly over and with three games left to play Crickhowell look almost certain to complete a league and cup double, a remarkable turnaround for a team that all but folded last season.
Crickhowell squad for the final: Ken Birch, Ed Jones, Andrew Nicholl, Jack Dobbs, Lewis Logan, Darren Dunstun, Tom Canning, Ryan James, Lewys Cooke, Tom Keane, Ben Crockett, Harry Purvis, Matt Botting, Bleddyn Carrington, Harry Summers, Matthew Lorentz, Ryan Williams, Richard Roberts, John Jones, Kieron Llewellyn, Leon Rees (captain), Nick Dixon.