Preview: Aberavon v Pontypridd

Posted by Gareth Gange on 13/09/2018

Aberavon (10th) welcome Pontypridd (1st) to the Talbot Athletic Ground this coming Saturday in the Principality Premiership, kick off 2:30pm.

Last season, Ponty finished second in the Premiership East during the first half of the season after winning eleven of their fourteen games. In the second half of the season, the Sardis Road side finished third in the combined Premiership after winning twelve of their fifteen games.

This season, Pontypridd have won both of their games. In their opening game of the season, they won 33 - 23 at Bedwas after trailing 3 - 16 at half-time. However, Ponty came back by scoring four tries in the third quarter with centre Alex Knott (2), wing Alex Webber and scrum-half Huw Rees all touching down for the bonus point win. Outside-half Ceri Sweeney converted two of the tries and also kicked three penalties.

Last weekend, Llanelli were the visitors to Sardis Road with Ponty gaining an emphatic 43 - 0 bonus point win after leading 24 - 0 at the interval. Their seven tries were scored by wings Dale Stuckey (2) and Alex Webber (2), centre Alex Knott, flanker Rhys Shellard and number 8 Morgan Sienawski. Stuckey converted three tries and replacement Ceri Sweeney converted one.

Head-to-head, Aberavon and Pontypridd have met each other 37 times in the Welsh National League with Ponty leading the series 24 - 12 with 1 game drawn. At the Talbot Athletic Ground, the Wizards narrowly lead 10 - 9, with Ponty winning the fixture 19 - 15 last season.

Looking back when the sides played each other at the ground during the 2005-06 season, the Wizards let a 22 - 3 lead slip in the final 15 minutes as two late Ponty tries set up a nail biting finish. Aberavon took a 17 - 3 interval lead via a penalty try and touchdown from hooker Chris Wells. Outside half Jamie Davies converted both tries and added a penalty. For the visitors, outside half Dai Flanagan kicked a penalty. Centre Paul Bamsey scored an unconverted try in the 2nd half to give the Wizards a 19 point lead. However, a brace of tries by wing Matthew Nuthall, converted by Flanagan put the visitors within 5 points of their hosts. Only a late penalty by Davies made the game safe as Aberavon won 25 - 17.

The Aberavon team that day was: Liam Gadd; Richard Carter, Paul Bamsey, Darren Ryan (rep David Hawkins), Daran Griffiths; Jamie Davies, Daniel Hawkins; Mike Harris (rep Lloyd Howell), Chris Wells, Anthony Edwards, Andrew Fisher (rep Paul Morgan), Chris Gittins (capt), Darryl Thomas, Ian Moore, Simon Peters.

The referee for Saturday’s game is Aled Evans, aided by Tom Spurrier and Mark Jones.