CARDIFF 26 ABERAVON 20
(by Howard Evans)
An exciting game saw Aberavon score 4-2 on the try-count but Gareth Thompson kicked six out of six and Aberavon failed with all four kicks at goal.
It was great stuff with some wonderful defending by both sides, but the missing kicks cost Aberavon the game.
A splendid duel at centre saw Cardiff’s talented duo of Ben Thomas and Will Rees-Hole against the powerful Will Price and Rheon James and honours ended even.
Aberavon took two deserved points and the score does not show just how well the team played and just how much the fine support from the terraces urged them on.
Both sides tackled well and young student Gwyn Parks made a splendid debut at fly half for the ‘Wizards’, bringing out the best in James and Price.
Once again Stefan Andrews showed his fine brain in attack and defence and all over the park the lads did well with Lee Purnell particularly outstanding on the flank.
Aberavon struck first when No 8 Luke Joseph finished off a touchline break, but Cardiff hit back and Morgan Allen finished off a move that had started from near the Cardiff line.
Thompson kicked a conversion and penalty and right on the interval Rees-Hole ran a fine line to score a good try and Thompson converted at 17-5.
The second half opened with the wind in Cardiff’s favour and Thompson placed a penalty, but Price crashed over for Aberavon at the Taff End of the ground.
Two more Thompson penalties took Cardiff to 26-10 and almost out of sight, but Aberavon still most of the possession.
Cardiff opened up just inside the Aberavon half, but suddenly there was a flash and replacement prop Rowan Jenkins took an interception to completely outrun many defenders to score an amazing try.
More great possession by the pack saw a fourth try two minutes from time scored by the flying Stefan Andrews after Iwan Temblett broke and Joe Gage take it on to give Stefan the pass.
The match ended in a mass brawl, but to be fair to Cardiff they were defending their lead with excellent tackling.
Cardiff 26 – 20 Aberavon
Chris Banfield (rep Joe Gage 57 min); Stef Andrews, Will Price, Rheon James, Frankie Jones; James Garland (capt) (rep Gwyn Parks 57 min), Rhodri Cole (rep Iwan Temblett 62 min); Rhys Forse (rep Rowan Jenkins half-time), Cameron Lewis, Geraint James, Ben Mayers-Davies (rep Sam Williams 50 min), Rhodri Hughes, Lee Purnell, Luke Joseph (rep Iwan Shenton 62 min), Joe Tomalin-Reeves.
Replacements Not Used:
Craig Hawkins, Jon Thomas.
Frankie Jones, Iwan Temblett & Iwan Shenton appeared from the Ospreys; Cameron Lewis appeared from the Blues; Craig Hawkins appeared from Dunvant RFC; Jon Thomas appeared from Baglan RFC.
T – Luke Joseph, Will Price, Rowan Jenkins, Stef Andrews
T – Morgan Allen, Will Rees-Hole
C – Gareth Thompson (2)
PG – Gareth Thompson (4)
Man Of The Match:
1 – Joe Tomalin-Reeves
2 – Rowan Jenkins
3 – Rhodri Hughes
15 min: Aberavon – T – Luke Joseph (0 – 5)
28 min: Cardiff – T – Morgan Allen & C – Gareth Thompson (7 – 5)
37 min: Cardiff – PG – Gareth Thompson (10 – 5)
40+2 min: Cardiff – T – Will Rees-Hole & C – Gareth Thompson (17 – 5)
40+2 min: Half Time
41 min: Cardiff – PG – Gareth Thompson (20 – 5)
45 min: Aberavon – T – Will Price (20 – 10)
49 min: Cardiff – PG – Gareth Thompson (23 – 10)
62 min: Cardiff – PG – Gareth Thompson (26 – 10)
65 min: Aberavon – T – Rowan Jenkins (26 – 15)
78 min: Aberavon – T – Stef Andrews (26 – 20)
80+3 min: Full Time