ABERAVON 36 – 15 BRIDGEND
by Howard Evans
Aberavon stay in front of the Western Division after picking up another five points and running in another five tries.
Bridgend worked hard to give good opposition, but after just three minutes of play, prop Curtis Hicks went down and it was a further 17 minutes before he could be stretchered off.
The try-count was 5-2 in favour of Aberavon with the lively Chris Banfield, at full-back, converting four and adding a penalty.
Bridgend had much of the play in the second half, but Aberavon showed their fitness and ability to defend well, before coming on strongly in the final quarter.
Head coach Jason Hyatt said: “I was delighted with our play, but I must also credit Bridgend for the effort they gave.
“We had to regain our composure halfway through the second half and showed that the 40 minutes we displayed against Llanelli a few weeks ago was repeated throughout this game.
“We are very fit and have the ability to keep going right to the final whistle.”
It was hard to pick one player out from the Aberavon side, but Ashton Evans again gave a rousing display in the back row and Ieuan Davies and Lloyd Evans were lively performers.
There was a debut for the Wales under-20 forward Tristan Davies, who settled in well and wing Stef Andrews showed his class on the left-wing.
Despite a penalty by Banfield, Aberavon fell behind when Bridgend intercepted and full back Ed Howley crossed for fly-half Jacob Chilcott to convert.
However, Aberavon replied before the interval with tries by Ieuan Davies and Lloyd Evans with Banfield converting the latter for a 15-7 half-time scoreline.
Chilcott then kicked a penalty, but Aberavon roared back with replacement prop Rhys Fawcett scoring for Banfield to convert and then replacement wing Frankie Jones intercepted and ran clear with Banfield again adding the extras.
Bridgend gained some reward when replacement scrum-half Harvey Nash crossed in the corner, but the ‘Wizards’ immediately replied with a superb run by centre Chay Smith that saw him send the flying Andrews over and Banfield gleefully goaled from the touchline.
One should also mention that the experienced Simon Rees (Beaufort) handled the game splendidly and made it a good match to watch.
Aberavon 36 – 15 Bridgend
Chris Banfield; Matthew Jenkins (rep Frankie Jones 52 min), Chay Smith, Will Price (capt) (rep Rheon James 76 min), Stef Andrews; Joe Thomas, Rhodri Cole (rep Rhodri Lewis 76 min); Jordan Walters (rep Rhys Fawcett 56 min), Ieuan Davies (rep Llew Phillips-Taylor 76 min), Geraint James (rep Chris Davies 71 min), Sam Pailor, Shay Smallman (rep Tristan Davies 46 min), Ashton Evans, Andrew Waite, Lloyd Evans (rep Lee Purnell 71 min).
Matthew Jenkins, Sam Pailor & Llew Phillips-Taylor appeared from Trebanos RFC; Rhodri Lewis & Tristan Davies appeared from the Ospreys.
Club debut for Tristan Davies.
T – Ieuan Davies, Lloyd Evans, Rhys Fawcett, Frankie Jones, Stef Andrews
C – Chris Banfield (4)
PG – Chris Banfield
T – Ed Howley, Harvey Nash
C – Jacob Chilcott
PG – Jacob Chilcott
Man Of The Match:
1 – Lloyd Evans
2 – Rhodri Cole
3 – Chris Banfield
31 min: Aberavon – PG – Chris Banfield (3 – 0)
34 min: Bridgend – T – Ed Howley & C – Jacob Chilcott (3 – 7)
38 min: Aberavon – T – Ieuan Davies (8 – 7)
40+9 min: Aberavon – T – Lloyd Evans & C – Chris Banfield (15 – 7)
40+14 min: Half Time
50 min: Bridgend – PG – Jacob Chilcott (15 – 10)
66 min: Aberavon – T – Rhys Fawcett & C – Chris Banfield (22 – 10)
74 min: Aberavon – T – Frankie Jones & C – Chris Banfield (29 – 10)
79 min: Bridgend – T – Harvey Nash (29 – 15)
80+1 min: Aberavon – T – Stef Andrews & C – Chris Banfield (36 – 15)
80+5 min: Full Time