Preview: Aberavon v Llandovery

Aberavon play their last home game of the season this Saturday when they welcome Llandovery to the Talbot Athletic Ground in the Indigo Group Premiership, kick-off at 2:30 pm.

In the Premiership this season, the Drovers have won three from seven games. They have beaten RGC 1404 (bonus point win), Merthyr (bonus point win) and Swansea, but have lost to Newport, Pontypridd, Ebbw Vale and Cardiff.

In the Premiership Cup, the Drovers finished the pool stage of the competition in top spot of the West division after winning nine of their ten games. They then beat Pontypridd at home in the quarter-final stage before narrowly losing to Aberavon in the semi-final held at Merthyr a couple of weeks ago.

Looking at the Premiership, in “attack”, Llandovery have scored 24.4 points on average per game (ranked 7th) and 3.7 tries (ranked 5th). In “defence” they have conceded 26.9 points on average per game (ranked 10th) and 3.6 tries (ranked 9th). Aberavon have scored 29.6 points per game (ranked 4th) and 4.1 tries (ranked 3rd), and conceded 19.0 points (ranked 2nd) and 2.1 tries (ranked 1st).

Head-to-head, Aberavon and Llandovery have met each other 48 times in the Welsh National League (including playoffs), with the Wizards leading the series 30 – 16 with 2 games drawn. At the Talbot Athletic Ground, the Wizards lead 18 – 5 with 1 game drawn with them winning the last time the sides met at the ground (31 – 26 in 2018-19).

Looking back twenty seasons ago the Wizards won the Division One fixture against Llandovery 22 – 13. Wizards outside-half Jamie Davies and Drovers full-back Stuart Harries traded penalties in the first half to make the score 6 – 6 at the interval. Early in the second half centre Tracey Lewis intercepted for the visitors inside their own 22 to set up a try for wing Ioan Davies. Harries added the extras to put Llandovery 13 – 6 up. This seemed to be the impetus that the home side needed as their 15 game unbeaten run in Division One came under threat. Wizards flanker Andrew Thomas set up an unconverted try for Davies in the corner, before Davies kicked his third penalty of the afternoon to help the Wizards into a narrow 14 – 13 lead with half-hour to go. As the match entered the final quarter scrum-half Daniel Hawkins scored from a scrum five while Davies kicked another penalty in the 70th minute as the Wizards consolidated their lead at the top of the table.

The Wizards team that day was: Matthew Back; Sam Greenaway, Barry Maddocks, Scott Leighton, Daran Griffiths; Jamie Davies, Daniel Hawkins; Mike Harris, Jason Hyatt, Greg Dix (rep Andrew Clatworthy), Mervyn Meredith, Steve Rees (rep Chris Gittins), Natano Tiatia (rep Marvin Thomas), Richard Morris, Andrew Thomas.

The referee for Saturday’s game is Gareth Newman, aided by Wayne Davies and Owen Wrangham.

Match Report: Aberavon 33 – 14 Ebbw Vale

by Howard Evans

Aberavon had gained the try-bonus by half-time and it was just as well because for most of the second half the whistle dominated.

There was little rugby played in the second spell with both sides having players yellow-carded, but it was the fault of neither side as they tried their level best to play rugby.

However many spectators left feeling they did not get their moneys-worth and replacements of both sides waited and waited to get on.

Aberavon had made 11 changes, including two league debutants and the side played as if they certainly wanted a place in the forthcoming cup final.

The ‘Wizards’ tried to open play up at every opportunity and it is no criticism of the ‘Steelmen’ that they kept it tight and tackled their hearts out.

Though Aberavon had the slight edge in the scrum, where Rhys Fawcett excelled, they found the Ebbw pack as strong as any they have played against.

Both sides put in splendid tackling, but Aled Thomas found willing runners in centres Joe Gage and Chay Smith who made some fine bursts.

The Vale had several young players in their midst while Aberavon had the teenage Ben Williams at ‘7’ and 18-yr-old Ceri Lewis-Jenkins on a wing.

All those young men played well and how young Vale hooker Harry Bee lasted through the first half, hobbling badly, was astonishing.

Gage produced the form that won him Wales Youth caps thanks to the half-back combination of Thomas and Iwan Temblett.

In the pack, lock Rhodri Hughes carried on with a cut on his head that will probably need stitches as both sides went strong in the contact area.

It took Aberavon just five minutes to score through flanker Ashton Evans and soon after Temblett gave a splendid backflip to Smith, who raced over for Aled Thomas to convert.

Thomas then cleverly grubber-kicked for the flying Smith to somersault over as he touched down and Aled again converted.

Ebbw ground it out down to the home line and lock Ethan Doyle went over for fly-half Evan Lloyd to convert.

Just before the half-time whistle, the home scrum shunted and a penalty try was awarded for a 26-7 scoreline.

Early in the second spell, Aberavon’s fifth try came from the exciting running of Gage and Thomas goaled from the touch-line.

Thereafter, what rugby was allowed to be played was mostly on the Aberavon line before No 8 Alex Howes scored and Lloyd converted with a fine kick.

By then, both sides had a player yellow-carded.

Ebbw coaches Jason Strange and Geraint Lewis can both take a pat on the back for the way their side worked hard throughout, never taking a back step.

For Aberavon, it was another five-pointer well done, but the spectators were robbed of seeing flowing rugby in the second half.

Score:
Aberavon 33 – 14 Ebbw Vale

Aberavon Team:
Chris Banfield (capt) (rep Stef Andrews 68 min); Cori Lewis-Jenkins, Chay Smith, Joe Gage, Frankie Jones; Aled Thomas (rep Will Price 54 min), Iwan Temblett (rep Rhodri Cole 68 min); Rhys Fawcett (rep Rowan Jenkins 68 min), Luke Davies (rep Cameron Lewis 68 min), Chris Davies (rep Geraint James 68 min), Sam Pailor (rep Shay Smallman 68 min), Rhodri Hughes (off injured 80+1 min), Ashton Evans, Andrew Waite, Ben Williams (rep Lloyd Evans 54 min).

Notes:
Cori Lewis-Jenkins appeared from the Ospreys; Sam Pailor appeared from Trebanos RFC; Ben Williams appeared from Gilfach Goch RFC. Cori Lewis-Jenkins made his debut for the club. Ben Williams league debut for the club.

Aberavon Scorers:
T – Chay Smith (2), Ashton Evans, Penalty Try, Joe Gage
C – Aled Thomas (3)

Ebbw Vale Scorers:
T – Ethan Doyle, Alex Howe
C – Evan Lloyd (2)

Referee:
Ben Whitehouse

Man Of The Match:
1 – Joe Gage
2 – Ashton Evans
3 – Chay Smith

Time Line:
05 min: Aberavon – T – Ashton Evans (5 – 0)
14 min: Aberavon – T – Chay Smith & C – Aled Thomas (12 – 0)
23 min: Aberavon – T – Chay Smith & C – Aled Thomas (19 – 0)
27 min: Ebbw Vale – T – Ethan Doyle & C – Evan Lloyd (19 – 7)
39 min: Aberavon – T – Penalty Try (26 – 7)
39 min: Ebbw Vale – Yellow Card – A.N.Other
40+3 min: Half Time
53 min: Aberavon – T – Joe Gage & C – Aled Thomas (33 – 7)
69 min: Aberavon – Yellow Card – Lloyd Evans
71 min: Ebbw Vale – T – Alex Howe & C – Evan Lloyd (33 – 14)
80+6 min: Full Time

Howard Evans (Ebbw Vale Programme Notes)

Welcome for the second time this season to the Steelmen from Eugene Cross Park and to their coach Jason Strange.

At the same time as welcoming Jason, let me also say how sad I was that Greg Woods, a good Rugby man, has departed, but Jason is back home, well nearly, because I seem to recall he is from nearby Nantyglo, that hotbed of fly halves.

I do not think the great Roy Lewis will be hear today, but now in his 90’s, Roy still keeps in touch with me and he has written so many good words on his club and rugby in general.

Aberavon first met and entertained Ebbw Vale on December 29, 1894 – 128 years ago!!

I have to say that Ebbw Vale fought hard before losing to a Jack Heywood try (3-0).

I just missed that game, but Roy may have been there in his pram.

Ebbw have already won a ‘friendly’ here this season. I’m sure it will be a good game between two great clubs.

Cliff David

I must break away at this point to mention the death of a dear friend of mine and of so many people – Cliff David.

Cliff was on the finest men I have ever known. He died last Sunday, aged 90, having been a headmaster, Pilot Officer in the RAF and rugby player for Aberavon, Swansea University, RAF, London Welsh and Ranji Walker’s XV.

Cliff was club treasurer, committeeman and life member. A good, good man. I will miss him dearly.

So, for today’s match please spend at least a minute remembering Cliff. And to the players, please play this one for Cliff. Thank You.

Action Replay (Ebbw Vale Programme Notes)

Llandovery 23-24 Aberavon
Premiership Cup Semi-Final, 26th March 2022 at The Wern, Merthyr

(by Paul Williams)

A remarkable fact about this match is that Aberavon’s victory ultimately came from the only touch of the ball by a player who came on as a late replacement. It was a match that saw first one team then another gain ascendancy, before play swung one way then the other during a frenetic final few minutes.

After a scoreless opening quarter, the Wizards quite suddenly seized the initiative from a defensive scrum in the shadow of their own goalposts, opting to run the ball out of defence. A long pass from Aled Thomas found Jonathan Phillips on the far left, and the full-back’s acceleration took him clear of the first-up defence. A short pass out to Stef Andrews saw the winger kick ahead into the Llandovery 22, and while the Drovers’ defence desperately chased back to cover the danger, Aberavon centre Joe Thomas had too much pace, superbly judging the bounce of the ball and regathering to crash over in the left-hand corner for namesake Aled to add the conversion with a well-judged kick.

Almost immediately the Wizards were back on the attack, but a second try was prevented, albeit illegally, by Llandovery fly-half Kristian Jones whose deliberate knock on earned a ten-minute spell in the sinbin. In truth there was a strong case for a penalty try as Jones’ intervention prevented the ball from reaching Phillips with a clear run to the line. The match officials, however, thought otherwise and the result was Aled Thomas kicking for touch, the Aberavon forwards driving on and Llandovery being penalised as the maul was brought to ground. The Wizards opted for the scrum and, having already gained the upper hand in that particular phase of play, drove the set-piece relentlessly on until the Drovers infringed under pressure and the penalty try was at last awarded.

With the Drovers still reeling from that quick one-two, the Wizards then went on to add to their tally when centre Will Price went off on a diagonal run that took him clean through to posts without a hand being laid on him, with Aled Thomas adding the extras to give his side a 21-point lead.

Llandovery were far from done, however. Adopting a more attritional approach that seemed to rattle the Wizards, they clawed their way back into contention as the interval approached with tries from scrum-half Lee Rees and centre Tomi Lewis, with Lewis also converting Rees’ effort.

Late in the third quarter Jones got the scoreboard ticking again with a penalty goal to reduce the arrears to six points, and two minutes later Rees was again in for an unconverted try. Jones then took his team ahead by two points with another penalty before further drama saw Aberavon awarded a penalty some 45 metres out and fifteen metres from the left-hand touchline. With Aled Thomas sizing up a shot at goal, it transpired that the Wizards had already alerted the officials that they wished to send on Dan Edwards to replace Thomas, and so it was the Cwmafan teenager who found himself facing the prospect of attempting the long-range attempt on goal. Apparently unfazed, however, the youngster judged the wind to perfection and the ball sailed between the uprights to put the Wizards back ahead, albeit by a single point.

It was to be Edwards’ one and only touch of the ball, but what a crucial touch it was. As the Drovers redoubled their efforts to get the result, they managed to battle their way back downfield and into Aberavon territory, but a penalty award close to the right-hand touchline was too much for Jones, who sent his attempt on goal across the face of the posts and into the welcoming arms of Chris Banfield, who gleefully ran the ball out of play to bring this most tense of matches to a close.

Paul Williams (Ebbw Vale Programme Notes)

The Business End

So, we enter the final month, as things stand, of the 2021-22 season. I say ‘as things stand’, because things can still change – our visit to Merthyr, scheduled for April 23rd, will need to be rearranged (at least, we hope so, as the Wizards now have a rather important date on April 24th which must surely take precedence). April is traditionally the month when success or failure over an eight-month season is evaluated, although during the years preceding the pandemic-induced disruption to sport generally, the club game in Wales went through a period of considerable flux, featuring fixtures running into May and involving additional play-offs for those at either end of the table.

This being something of a ‘transitional’ season, following the forced abandonment of 2019-20 and complete cancellation of 2020-21, has at last seen the wheels our beloved sport at club level begin to turn again, for which we must all be thankful. The Wizards have enjoyed success in the unusual format of the Premiership Cup, hence the important date in just over three weeks’ time, but at the same time face something of a league fixture backlog thanks to a Winter riddled with postponements, with four matches still to be played after today, making for a busy few weeks before we even consider preparation for a Cup Final.

Of course, we aren’t the only club playing ‘fixture catch-up’. Our visitors today have their own busy schedule with which to deal. Looking at the table, it’s rather surprising to see them positioned just above the three clubs battling it out to avoid the wooden spoon, albeit with a decent cushion in terms of points. When they last visited here for a pre-season ‘friendly’ in August last year, they left with a well-deserved victory built around an impressive forward pack that controlled much of the second half and looked well equipped to take on the Premiership’s best. It has, however, been a strange, stop-start season, and with no threat of relegation (which would have created a grossly unfair situation given the ‘home or away’ nature of the league competition, with half the clubs having one fewer home match than the other half) it has provided the option for clubs to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses rather than chase success in something of a half-hearted league. I share the views of many of my fellow Premiership supporters in hoping we can return to a proper play-one-another-twice league format, and also a more traditional knock-out tournament, as the hopeful quest back to normality in all walks of life continues. Club rugby needs consistency in order to thrive, and while the surreal landscape of the past couple of years was always going to wreak havoc with the game’s traditions, we need to see things settle back into a regular and equable structure for all our sakes.

It would be remiss of me not to mention here the recent loss of a true Aberavon RFC stalwart before signing off. While I know that this is referred to by others elsewhere in these pages, Cliff David, former player, lifelong supporter, former Club Treasurer, Life Vice-President and Trustee was also a man I could rightly call ‘cousin’, but more than all of this he was a kind, gentle, humorous and generous soul who was never, ever anything other than cheerful, even during spells of ill-health during his latter years. His presence in his customary seat behind me in the stand at home matches will always be missed.

Enjoy the game, but please spare a thought for Cliff, who will without doubt be smiling down on us all.

Team v Ebbw Vale

The Aberavon team to face Ebbw Vale at the Talbot Athletic Ground on Saturday at 2:30 pm is…

Aberavon Starting XV:
Chris Banfield (capt); Cori Lewis-Jenkins, Chay Smith, Joe Gage, Frankie Jones; Aled Thomas, Iwan Temblett; Rhys Fawcett, Luke Davies, Chris Davies, Sam Pailor, Rhodri Hughes, Ashton Evans, Andrew Waite, Ben Williams.

Replacements:
Rhodri Cole, Stef Andrews, Will Price, Cameron Lewis, Lloyd Evans, Shay Smallman, Rowan Jenkins, Geraint James.

Preview: Aberavon v Ebbw Vale

Aberavon welcome Ebbw Vale to the Talbot Athletic Ground this Saturday in the Indigo Group Premiership, kick-off at 2:30 pm.

In the Premiership this season, the Steelmen have won three from seven games. They won one of their opening five games with them beating Llanelli but losing to Merthyr, Cardiff, Newport (losing bonus point) and RGC 1404. Since then, the Gwent side have won their last two games – both at home – with them seeing off both Swansea and Llandovery.

In the Premiership Cup, Ebbw Vale won two of their ten pool games with them beating Merthyr away and Pontypridd home at the start of the campaign before losing the next eight games.

Looking at the Premiership, in “attack”, Ebbw Vale have scored 16.7 points on average per game (ranked 10th) and 2.0 tries (ranked 11th). In “defence” they have conceded 25.3 points on average per game (ranked 10th) and 3.7 tries (ranked 10th). Aberavon have scored 29.0 points per game (ranked 4th) and 4.0 tries (ranked 4th), and conceded 19.8 points (ranked 2nd) and 2.2 tries (ranked 2nd).

Head-to-head, Aberavon and Ebbw Vale have met each other 34 times in the Welsh National League, with the Wizards narrowly leading the series 17 – 16 with 1 game drawn. At the Talbot Athletic Ground, the Wizards lead 12 – 4 with 1 game drawn with them winning the last time the sides met at the ground (26 – 11 in 2019-20).

Looking back to when the sides met at the ground during the 2006-7 season, the Wizards outscored the then league leaders 5 – 3 on try count to run out 39 – 19 winners. However, there was never a 20-point difference between the two sides, though Aberavon were more than willing to play running rugby and Scarlets under-20 centre Richard Thomas was outstanding with a two-try contribution. Both packs had their moments with Richard Morris searching for a club record-breaking 126th try and Ian Moore and Darryl Thomas supporting to the hilt, yet the Ebbw Vale back-row of John Bowd, Hywel Jenkins and skipper Craig Cleaver never yielded. Darren Ryan, Jamie Davies and Liam Gadd also scored tries for the Wizards while Davies kicked 14 points with the boot. For the Steelmen, tries were scored by Simon Hunt, Rhodri Dicks and Andrew Bevan, whilst David Langdon converted two tries.

The Wizards team that day was: Liam Gadd; Richard Carter, Richard Thomas (rep Paul Bamsey), Darren Ryan, James Pike; Jamie Davies, Daniel Hawkins; Mike Harris, Chris Wells, James Jones (rep Lloyd Howell), Paul Morgan (rep Andrew Fisher), Chris Gittins (capt), Ian Moore, Richard Morris, Darryl Thomas (rep Simon Peters).

The referee for Saturday’s game is Ben Whitehouse, aided by Jason Griffiths and Karim Cosslett.

Match Report: Llandovery 23 – 24 Aberavon

by Paul Williams

A remarkable fact about this match is that Aberavon’s victory ultimately came from the only touch of the ball by a player who came on as a late replacement. It was a match that saw first one team then another gain ascendancy, before play swung one way then the other during a frenetic final few minutes.

After a scoreless opening quarter, the Wizards quite suddenly seized the initiative from a defensive scrum in the shadow of their own goalposts, opting to run the ball out of defence. A long pass from Aled Thomas found Jonathan Phillips on the far left, and the full-back’s acceleration took him clear of the first-up defence. A short pass out to Stef Andrews saw the winger kick ahead into the Llandovery 22, and while the Drovers’ defence desperately chased back to cover the danger, Aberavon centre Joe Thomas had too much pace, superbly judging the bounce of the ball and regathering to crash over in the left-hand corner for namesake Aled to add the conversion with a well-judged kick.

Almost immediately the Wizards were back on the attack, but a second try was prevented, albeit illegally, by Llandovery fly-half Kristian Jones whose deliberate knock on earned a ten-minute spell in the sinbin. In truth there was a strong case for a penalty try as Jones’ intervention prevented the ball from reaching Phillips with a clear run to the line. The match officials, however, thought otherwise and the result was Aled Thomas kicking for touch, the Aberavon forwards driving on and Llandovery being penalised as the maul was brought to ground. The Wizards opted for the scrum and, having already gained the upper hand in that particular phase of play, drove the set-piece relentlessly on until the Drovers infringed under pressure and the penalty try was at last awarded.

With the Drovers still reeling from that quick one-two, the Wizards then went on to add to their tally when centre Will Price went off on a diagonal run that took him clean through to posts without a hand being laid on him, with Aled Thomas adding the extras to give his side a 21-point lead.

Llandovery were far from done, however. Adopting a more attritional approach that seemed to rattle the Wizards, they clawed their way back into contention as the interval approached with tries from scrum-half Lee Rees and centre Tomi Lewis, with Lewis also converting Rees’ effort.

Late in the third quarter Jones got the scoreboard ticking again with a penalty goal to reduce the arrears to six points, and two minutes later Rees was again in for an unconverted try. Jones then took his team ahead by a single point with a further penalty before further drama saw Aberavon awarded a penalty some 45 metres out and fifteen metres from the left-hand touchline. With Aled Thomas sizing up a shot at goal, it transpired that the Wizards had already alerted the officials that they wished to send on Dan Edwards to replace Thomas, and so it was the Cwmafan teenager who found himself facing the prospect of attempting the long-range attempt on goal. Apparently unfazed, however, the youngster judged the wind to perfection and the ball sailed between the uprights to put the Wizards back ahead, albeit by a single point.

It was to be Edwards’ one and only touch of the ball, but what a crucial touch it was. As the Drovers redoubled their efforts to get the result, they managed to battle their way back downfield and into Aberavon territory, but a penalty award close to the right-hand touchline was too much for Jones, who sent his attempt on goal across the face of the posts and into the welcoming arms of Chris Banfield, who gleefully ran the ball out of play to bring this most tense of matches to a close.

Score:
Llandovery 23 – 24 Aberavon

Aberavon Team:
Jonathan Phillips (rep Joe Gage 58 min); Chris Banfield, Joe Thomas, Will Price, Stef Andrews; Aled Thomas (rep Dan Edwards 70 min), Rhodri Cole (rep Iwan Temblett 50 min); Rowan Jenkins (rep Rhys Fawcett 50 min), Ieuan Davies (rep Luke Davies 60 min), Geraint James (rep Chris Davies 64 min), Shay Smallman (rep Sam Pailor 60 min), Sam Williams, Lee Purnell, Ashton Evans, Joe Tomalin-Reeves (capt) (rep Lloyd Evans 16 min).

Notes:
Dan Edwards appeared from the Ospreys, Sam Pailor appeared from Trebanos RFC.

Aberavon Scorers:
T – Joe Thomas, Penalty Try, Will Price
C – Aled Thomas (2)
PG – Dan Edwards

Llandovery Scorers:
T – Lee Rees (2), Tomi Lewis
C – Tomi Lewis
PG – Kristian Jones (2)

Referee:
Rhys Jones

Man Of The Match:
1 – Dan Edwards
2 – Lee Purnell
3 – Will Price

Time Line:
19 min: Aberavon – T – Joe Thomas & C – Aled Thomas (0 – 7)
26 min: Llandovery – Yellow Card – Kristian Jones
30 min: Aberavon – T – Penalty Try (0 – 14)
33 min: Aberavon – T – Will Price & C – Aled Thomas (0 – 21)
37 min: Llandovery – T – Lee Rees & C – Tomi Lewis (7 – 21)
40+1 min: Llandovery – T – Tomi Lewis (12 – 21)
40+6 min: Half Time
54 min: Llandovery – PG – Kristian Jones (15 – 21)
56 min: Llandovery – T – Lee Rees (20 – 21)
68 min: Llandovery – PG – Kristian Jones (23 – 21)
71 min: Aberavon – PG – Dan Edwards (23 – 24)
80+9 min: Full Time

Team v Llandovery

The Aberavon team to face Llandovery at Merthyr’s The Wern ground (Cup Semi-Final) on Saturday at 2:30 pm is…

Aberavon Starting XV:
Jonathan Phillips; Chris Banfield, Joe Thomas, Will Price, Stef Andrews; Aled Thomas, Rhodri Cole; Rowan Jenkins, Ieuan Davies, Geraint James, Shay Smallman, Sam Williams, Lee Purnell, Ashton Evans, Joe Tomalin-Reeves (capt).

Replacements:
Iwan Temblett, Joe Gage, Dan Edwards, Luke Davies, Lloyd Evans, Sam Pailor, Rhys Fawcett, Chris Davies.

Preview: Aberavon v Llandovery

Aberavon take on Llandovery at Merthyr’s The Wern ground this Saturday in the semi-final stage of the Indigo Group Premiership Cup, kick-off at 2:30 pm.

The Drovers finished the pool stage of the competition in top spot of the West division after winning nine of their ten games. They did the double over Aberavon, Carmarthen Quins, Swansea and Llanelli and beat Bridgend away but lost 19 – 25 at home to the Ravens back in October. Earlier this month they beat Pontypridd 12 – 3 at Church Bank in the quarter-final stage to set up Saturday’s semi-final clash with Aberavon.

In the other semi-final this weekend, Cardiff will face Newport at Pontypridd’s Sardis Road.

In the Indigo Group Premiership, the Drovers have won three from six games. They have beaten RGC 1404 (bonus point win), Merthyr (bonus point win) and Swansea, but have lost to Newport, Pontypridd and, last weekend, Ebbw Vale.

Back in the 2010-11 season, the Wizards met Llandovery in the semi-finals of the Swalec Cup at Carmarthen Park with Aberavon winning 18 – 12 by somehow holding off huge Llandovery attacks, especially in the final quarter of the game. Aberavon led 15 – 7 at the break thanks to tries by Nathan Strong and Chris Lewis, with Matthew Jarvis converting both and kicking a penalty. For the Drovers, Dan Evans scored a first half try for them with Howard Thomas adding the extras. In the second half, Jarvis kicked another penalty whilst Llandovery scored a second try when Lee Rees touched down with twenty minutes still left on the clock. It proved the final score but there was great effort by the Drovers attackers and Wizard defenders, with Aberavon’s defensive wall holding out for the win to send the Wizards to their third Welsh Cup final and their first for 36 years.

The Aberavon team that day was: Matthew Jarvis; Richard Carter, Will Price, Liam Gadd, Chris Lewis (rep Ricky Thomas); Jamie Davies, Dan Davies (rep David Pritchard); Neil White (rep Lloyd Howell), Marc Breeze, Anthony Edwards (rep James Jones), Sam Williams, Ian Moore, Aaron Bray (rep James King), Nathan Strong, Chris Davies (capt).

The referee for Saturday’s game is Rhys Jones, aided by Jason Bessant and Dai Cambourne.