Carmarthen Quins 7 Aberavon 9
(by Howard Evans)
Aberavon completed the ‘double’ over Carmarthen Quins, yet have only scored one try in the 160 minutes of play!
It was not a day for fancy football, but it was a nail-biting, enthralling, whole-hearted affair which Aberavon dominated territorially, yet may have lost if not for their splendid defence.
Quins also defended well and when they had the ball they looked the more dangerous side, possibly because Aberavon had no fit outside backs to go on the bench and Joe Gage struggled gamely, though injured, in the second half.
Head coach Jason Hyatt stated: “I thought we had forgotten how to win ‘ugly’ as we normally play such an expansive game, but today the conditions dictated the way we had to play.
“Our pack, and the front row in particular, did a wonderful job with young Rhys Forse outstanding for us, well aided by Ieuan Davies and Geraint James.
“We held onto the ball and showed a lot of patience and discipline and really adapted to the conditions.”
Yes, Aberavon ground out the win at Carmarthen Park as skipper James Garland landed a penalty hat-trick against one of his former clubs.
The match was played in a swirling wing with misty rain falling, though both sides tried hard to beat two firm defences.
Aberavon’s pack held the key and the ‘Wizards’ had far more of the play, though not looking likely to get a try.
In a dour first half Garland kicked goals after 15 and 35 minutes, though on two other occasions he elected to kick to the corner rather than at goal.
Just before the break Aberavon lost lock Sam Williams to a yellow card as Quins scrum half Gareth Rees left with his arm in a sling.
Quins started the second spell in determined fashion and after 48 minutes after several drives at the line flanker Ed Siggery scored underneath the crossbar for Aled Thomas to convert and Quins led 9-7.
It stayed that way with Aberavon getting back on top until the 59th minute when Garland fired over a splendid effort to retake the lead.
Thomas had a chance to put the Quins back in front, but he found the conditions too much for him and his penalty shot fell wide.
Aberavon ran down the clock and could feel it was a fine effort and four very well-earned points.
There is no doubting that the Williams-Hughes lock pairing is very good and also a special mention to centre Will Price, whose efforts in attack and defence were of a high order, while Rhodri Cole was splendid at scrum half.
This pack has the making of even better things to come with youth very much on its side.
On the wing, Jordan Condon of Swansea University, made his debut, though he had few chances.
Now there are two weeks for Sam Williams, Joe Gage, Andrew Waite and Chris Banfield to get over injuries, not to mention Liam Popham, Jonny Phillips, David Pritchard, Luke Davies, Stef Andrews, Lee Purnell and Ben Thomas, the latter having turned out for Tondu.
Carmarthen 7 – 9 Aberavon
Chris Banfield; Shaun Pearce, Joe Gage, Will Price, Jordan Condon; James Garland (capt), Rhodri Cole; Rhys Forse (rep Jon Thomas 79 min), Ieuan Davies (rep Cameron Lewis 59 min, rep Ieuan Davies 80+4 min)), Geraint James (rep Chris Davies 79 min), Rhodri Hughes, Sam Williams (rep Ben Mayers-Davies 69 min), Ashton Evans (rep Iwan Shenton 62 min), Andrew Waite, Joe Tomalin-Reeves (rep Luke Joseph 79 min).
Replacements Not Used:
Jacob Flynn, Iwan Temblett.
Jordan Condon appeared from Aberavon Quins RFC; Iwan Temblett & Iwan Shenton appeared from the Ospreys; Cameron Lewis appeared from the Blues; Jon Thomas appeared from Baglan RFC.
PG – James Garland (3)
T – Ed Siggery
C – Aled Thomas
Man Of The Match:
1 – James Garland
2 – Joe Tomalin-Reeves
3 – Chris Banfield
16 min: Aberavon – PG – James Garland (0 – 3)
35 min: Aberavon – PG – James Garland (0 – 6)
40+2 min: Aberavon – Yellow Card – Sam Williams
40+6 min: Half Time
45 min: Carmarthen – T – Ed Siggery & C – Aled Thomas (7 – 6)
50 min: Aberavon – End Yellow Card – Sam Williams
58 min: Aberavon – PG – James Garland (7 – 9)
80+8 min: Full Time