Newport 35 - 38 Aberavon
Posted by Gareth Gange on 08/10/2018
(by Howard Evans)
A strange, yet exciting, game saw Aberavon outscore Newport by three points and by 6-5 on try-count, thus giving Aberavon 5-2 on points gained.
The win takes Aberavon into third place in the table and though the Wizards played splendidly at times, Newport overall probably deserved a draw.
Aberavon led 21-5 after 20 minutes; 26-18 at half-time and 38-18 on the hour, but the last 17 points of the match went to Newport, who totally dominated the final quarter with the Wizards hanging on - just.
There was an outstanding performance by lock Sam Williams for Aberavon, though he finished, not only exhausted, but with a head bandage added, having lost his fine young partner Rhodri Hughes, who was bulldozed (fairly) by a good Newport charge.
For Newport fly half Matt O'Brien had a fine game with excellent tactical kicking, but it was just not enough after Aberavon had sealed a bonus point only 33 minutes into the opening half.
There was a long-awaited return for Stef Andrews, though he did not come out for the second half and two tries for both speedy hooker Luke Davies and young scrum half Iwan Temblett.
There was also fine performances from two good full-backs, though with completely different styles, in Geraint O'Driscoll and Jonny Phillips.
It was a high-speed game in which referee Tom Spurrier kept up with well and though Newport led 5-0 after three minutes, they never again got in front, yet looked a fine outfit, nevertheless.
After Jon Morris had flashed over, Aberavon hit back with Sam Williams putting Will Price clear and skipper James Garland converted and a splendid run by Luke Davies was also converted.
Phillips then showed his football brain as he spotted the tracking Temblett and chipped perfectly for Iwan to cross and Garland convert.
O'Brien kicked a penalty and then ran well to put Chay Smith over and the '10' converted, but Temblett was worked clear and dived in at the flag.
O'Brien added a penalty just on the interval.
Aberavon then increased the lead from hooker Davies in the corner and Jac Morgan pushed off two defenders for a try that Garland converted.
It looked all over, but it was far from it as hooker Will Evans and replacement centre Tom Lucas went over with O'Brien goaling the latter at 30-38.
With seconds left Newport came again and O'Driscoll was over though this time O'Brien failed to convert.
Somehow Aberavon hung on and claimed the win.
Newport 35 - 38 Aberavon
Jon Phillips; Matthew Jenkins, Will Price, Rheon James, Stef Andrews (rep Frankie Jones half-time); James Garland (capt) (rep Liam Popham 58 min), Iwan Temblett (rep Jacob Flynn 76 min); Mike Burgess (rep Rhys Forse 59 min), Luke Davies, Chris Davies (rep Geraint James 48 min), Rhodri Hughes (rep Ben Thomas 66 min), Sam Williams, Lee Purnell (rep Andrew Waite 63 min), Ashton Evans, Jac Morgan.
Replacement Not Used:
Iwan Temblett & Frankie Jones appeared from the Ospreys; Cameron Lewis appeared from the Blues.
T - Luke Davies (2), Iwan Temblett (2), Will Price, Jac Morgan
C - James Garland (4)
T - Jonathan Morris, Chay Smith, Will Evans, Tom Lucas, Geraint O'Driscoll
C - Matt O'Brien (2)
PG - Matt O'Brien (2)
Man Of The Match:
1 - Luke Davies
2 - Iwan Temblett
3 - Sam Williams
01 min: Newport - T - Jonathan Morris (5 - 0)
05 min: Aberavon - T - Will Price & C - James Garland (5 - 7)
17 min: Aberavon - T - Luke Davies & C - James Garland (5 - 14)
19 min: Aberavon - T - Iwan Temblett & C - James Garland (5 - 21)
22 min: Newport - PG - Matt O'Brien (8 - 21)
30 min: Newport - T - Chay Smith & C - Matt O'Brien (15 - 21)
34 min: Aberavon - T - Iwan Temblett (15 - 26)
40 min: Newport - PG - Matt O'Brien (18 - 26)
40+1 min: Half Time
49 min: Aberavon - T - Luke Davies (18 - 31)
57 min: Aberavon - T - Jac Morgan & C - James Garland (18 - 38)
61 min: Newport - T - Will Evans (23 - 38)
65 min: Newport - T - Tom Lucas & C - Matt O'Brien (30 - 38)
77 min: Newport - T - Geraint O'Driscoll (35 - 38)
80+5 min: Full Time