Preview: Aberavon v Swansea

The Indigo Group Premiership Cup takes a back seat for a while as the Indigo Group Premiership (league) campaign starts this week with Aberavon hosting Swansea at the Talbot Athletic Ground this Thursday evening (December 9th), kick-off at 7:30 pm.

The Indigo Group Premiership involves all twelve clubs playing each other on a home or away basis. The top four teams will be entered into play-offs to determine the Indigo Group Premiership champion (1st home to 4th and 2nd home to 3rd with the winners playing each other to decide the champions). There will be no promotion or relegation this season between the Indigo Group Premiership and the Admiral National Championship.

Before the cancellation of the 2019-20 season, Swansea were ninth in the Premiership after winning seven of their seventeen games, whilst Aberavon were third after winning eleven of their sixteen games.

In the Indigo Group Premiership Cup, Swansea finished the pool stage of the competition in fifth place in the West division after winning three of their ten games. The All Whites missed out on a quarter-final place after Bridgend won late on in their last game of the pool stage. The Wizards finished second in the West division and beat Swansea 27 – 14 at the Talbot Athletic Ground in September and 30 – 20 at St Helen’s in November in that competition. Aberavon will host Merthyr in the quarter-finals of the Cup next year after the Ironmen finished third in the East division.

Head-to-head, Aberavon and Swansea have met each other 36 times in the Welsh National League, with the All Whites narrowly leading the series 18 – 17 with 1 game drawn. At the Talbot Athletic Ground, Aberavon lead 13 – 5 and have won the last two times the sides have met in the league at the ground.

Fifteen seasons ago Aberavon won the fixture 33 – 12. The evening game saw the home side take a 13 – 5 lead at halftime as Jamie Davies scored a try, conversion and two penalties to a try by Ben Lewis. The Whites reduced the Wizards lead early in the second half thanks to a try by David Watts, converted by Nicky Thomas. However, a third successive penalty by Davies was followed by three Aberavon tries in the last quarter as Richard Carter, Simon Peters and Darren Ryan all touched down. Davies added a conversion for a personal match tally of 18 points.

The Wizards team that day was: Liam Gadd; Richard Carter, Paul Bamsey (rep Gareth Knox), Darren Ryan, Daran Griffiths (rep Richard Thomas); Jamie Davies, Dan Hawkins; Mike Harris (rep Neil White), Chris Wells, Anthony Edwards (rep James Jones), Andrew Fisher, Chris Gittins (capt) (rep Ian Moore), Darryl Thomas, Robbie Morgan, Simon Peters.

The referee for Thursday’s game, which will be shown live on S4C Clic (S4C Clic player, S4C Facebook Live page and S4C YouTube page), is Dewi Phillips, aided by Tom Spurrier, Joseff Rees and Stuart Vaudin.