THERE was Ivor Jones Cup semi-final disappointment for Monmouth Druids as they were pipped 23-16 at the Sports Ground by Crickhowell 1sts in midweek.

The encounter was well attended and had all the hallmarks of a classic cup game, reports MAL POWELL. Both sides gave their all, running rugby was the order of the day and the lead changed hands several times to make it a real thriller.

Crickhowell took an early lead after Lewis Evans slotted over a penalty awarded for offside.

Monmouth then had the opportunity to level the scores shortly afterwards but were unlucky in their attempt.

The hosts then had a period where they dominated possession and were rewarded with another penalty which Rhys Evans converted, leaving it 3-3 at the break.

After the restart Crickhowell took the lead again after an elusive run from Harry Summers following a break by Evans, who then added the conversion (10-3).

Both sides put in tremendous defensive efforts and Crickhowell did well to counter the larger Monmouth pack.

It was their power, however, that led to them forcing their driving maul over the line but, unluckily for them, the ball was adjudged to have been knocked on.

Shortly afterwards, the hosts were awarded another penalty after handling in the ruck and Evans cut the deficit to 6-10.

They then took the lead after securing the ball at the line-out and some slick handling across the line saw Kester Mobbs Morgan cross the whitewash with Evans adding the conversion (13-10).

After driving upfield, Crick were rewarded with another penalty at the breakdown which Lewis Evans punted high and gained the points by the narrowest of margins (13-13).

He gained another not long afterwards but, not be outdone, it was then Monmouth’s turn to take the play to their visitors and another successful kick from Rhys Evans drew the scores level at 16 all.

With time running out and extra-time looming, in the dying moments, a searing break by Crick’s Tom Young was halted but not before he passed the ball to Will Bevan, who cut inside and raced through the gap to score the winning try, again converted by Lewis Evans.

Crickhowell will now face Abergavenny Quins, 36-19 winners at Blaenavon Forgeside, in the final at Pontypool United tonight (Wednesday, April 26), kick-off 7pm.