Gwent County League & Monmouthshire Windows East Gwent League

IT could be a nervous end to the season after the race for the Gwent County League Division 2 title took a few unexpected turns recently, writes Bob Cypher.

Managers like Sudbrook CC boss Daryl Cann will be hoping to field their strongest team to take advantage of any similar slip-ups by their rivals.

Leaders Ynysddu’s march to Division 1 suffered an unlikely setback when they dropped two points in a 4-4 home draw against relegation certainties Marshfield, and fourth-placed Abertillery Excelsiors – everyone’s tip for the title – lost 3-2 at home to ninth-placed Newport Corries.

That result heaps greater significance onto this Saturday’s fixtures when Excelsiors are home to Wattsville – who are second in the table – while Sudbrook are home to seventh-placed New Inn.

Although three points wouldn’t boost the Mill Lane outfit into a promotion spot, it would pile extra pressure on their rivals for the run-in.

Abertillery are also due to welcome Ynysddu while Sudbrook have a tricky match at Lucas Cwmbran to play later this month and the final game – away to Excelsiors on March 31st – could be a promotion decider.

Following another weekend’s programme which suffered from the weather, both matches involving Sudbrook (v Tredegar) and Mathern (v Clydach Wasps) were postponed.

The same problem affected the East Gwent League’s planned cup-ties with only Mathern v Severn Tunnel and Rockfield Rovers v Underwood Athletic surviving.

In a rain-affected match played on Caldicot Leisure Centre’s 3G all-weather surface, both Mathern and Tunnel found the ball’s pace difficult to control as it zipped off the wet surface, but skipper Wayne Duffield settled the nerves with a clean strike on the half-hour and Ash Pearce added the second just as the heavens opened to dump another deluge on the players and spectators.

Soon after half time, Mathern replaced Matt Edwards with James Burchill who booked Mathern’s place in the final of the Fishwick Cup with two more goals.

The final is due to be played at Caldicot Town on March 30th when Mathern will play Portskewett & Sudbrook or Caldicot Town. Their semi-final was postponed and has been rescheduled for this Saturday.

In the Gill Cup semis, Rockfield Rovers booked their place in the final when they beat Underwood Athletic 4-1 on penalties after the teams were level at 4-4.

Again, their opponents are unknown until this rearranged match between Undy Athletic and Caldicot Castle takes place this Saturday.