ABERAVON 14 EBBW VALE 14
(from Howard Evans)
Neither head coach was too disappointed with this result, there being only one previous drawn match in the Premiership this season, though Cardiff and Llandovery have also drawn today.
It was always going to be a close affair and so it proved, but Aberavon may well regret the loss of two more points (for a win) as there were several penalty chances that were again ignored.
While there are 12 players in the Premiership this season who have scored over 80 points, Aberavon has yet to have one player with over sixty.
Therein is the weak link for the Wizards for whom Chris Banfield leads with 56 from James Garland on 52.
A tight hard-fought match saw Ebbw Vale stay five points ahead of Aberavon as two good defences gave little away, but it was the Steelmen who scored two of the three tries.
Ebbw Vale head coach Greg Woods said: “I am over the moon with the result. To come to Aberavon and get a draw is not easy and we did well. These are two good points for us and I am quite happy to come away with them especially with the likes of Joe Tomalin-Reeves so good against us.”
Aberavon head coach Jason Hyatt commented: “We were probably the better in a hard game played by two good teams. We had the edge of the tussle up front and Jordan Walters was outstanding on the loose head for us. We totally dominated the last 20 minutes, but just could not score.”
Walters and fellow prop Geraint James were outstanding while Andrew Waite always looked dangerous and though it is hard to say who pushes hardest at the scrummages, Andrew always appears to shove strongly.
Aberavon led 14-7 at the interval before Ebbw Vale took over, for the third quarter, but it was the ‘Wizards’ who totally dominated the final quarter, yet they ignored penalties to go for forward drives.
It is easy to be wise afterwards however and many referees would have awarded a penalty try or two!
Ebbw’s prop Luke Garrett was yellow-carded, but even then their defence did not crack.
After Chris Banfield and Carl Meyer missed, it was Banfield who placed a penalty and then wing Stef Andrews kicked ahead and followed up to score for an 8-0 lead.
Ebbw hit back after 26 minutes when good passing move saw full back Dan Haymond over and Rhys Jones landed a touchline conversion.
Banfield then kicked two penalties to take Aberavon to a seven-point interval lead.
In the second half Jones hit an Aberavon post with a penalty shot and after 59 minutes good play by the visiting pack saw No 8 Cameron Regan gain a try.
Another good Jones kick saw the conversion added and it was all square at 14-14.
From then on it was nearly all Aberavon, but they could not score and with the clock on 83 minutes Banfield just failed with a penalty attempt.
Aberavon 14 – 14 Ebbw Vale
Chris Banfield; Frankie Jones, Will Price, Rheon James, Stef Andrews; James Garland (capt), Jacob Flynn (rep Rhodri Cole 60 min); Jordan Walters, Luke Davies (rep Ieuan Davies 60 min), Geraint James, Ben Thomas, Rhodri Hughes, Ashton Evans, Andrew Waite, Joe Tomalin-Reeves (rep Jac Morgan 54 min).
Replacements Not Used:
Liam Popham, Luke Joseph, Lee Purnell, Rhys Forse, Rhys Henry.
Frankie Jones, Jordan Walters and Rhys Henry appeared from the Ospreys.
T – Stef Andrews
PG – Chris Banfield (3)
Ebbw Vale Scorers:
T – Dan Haymond, Cameron Regan
C – Rhys Jones (2)
Man Of The Match:
1 – Andrew Waite
2 – Joe Tomalin-Reeves
3 – Jordan Walters
14 min: Aberavon – PG – Chris Banfield (3 – 0)
20 min: Aberavon – T – Stef Andrews (8 – 0)
24 min: Ebbw Vale – T – Dan Haymond & C – Rhys Jones (8 – 7)
28 min: Aberavon – PG – Chris Banfield (11 – 7)
40 min: Aberavon – PG – Chris Banfield (14 – 7)
40+5 min: Half Time
59 min: Ebbw Vale – T – Cameron Regan & C – Rhys Jones (14 – 14)
67 min: Ebbw Vale – Yellow Card – Luke Garrett
78 min: Ebbw Vale – End Yellow Card – Luke Garrett
80+3 min: Full Time