by Paul Williams
Trebanos 0 – 58 Aberavon (August 13th)
In conditions more suitable for lying on a beach somewhere, the Wizards made the short trip to the Swansea Valley to take on WRU Championship side Trebanos, whose coaching staff include latterday Aberavon legend Ian Moore. The match provided an opportunity to see numerous new signings in action, as well as the chance for some of the more experienced campaigners to go through their paces after a tough few weeks’ training.
The Wizards certainly hit the ground running, scoring five first-half tries including a hat-trick for powerful left-wing Aled Rees, with skipper Joe Tomalin-Reeves also touching down after a fine run by the speedy Frankie Jones, and hooker Ieuan Davies typically burrowing his way over amid a pile of bodies just before the interval. Debutant fly-half Rhys Jones added two conversions.
The second-half brought symmetry to the scoreline with a further five tries and two conversion to match the Wizards’ first-half haul. Ieuan Davies got the ball rolling as he proved he’s more than just a ‘driving maul’ try-scorer by fielding a speculative cross-kick and producing a side-step to beat the last defender as he sprinted over the line. Debutant centre Gabe Lacey then powered his way over, followed by a typically determined Chris Banfield, and another debutant, scrum-half Liam Seaward, followed suit before Joe Thomas brought down the curtain. Jones and Banfield each contributed a conversion.
Nottingham 21 – 31 Aberavon (August 20th)
Nottingham, looking (according to their pre-match publicity) to “put down a marker” at the start of their season, were stunned by a solid Aberavon performance that few would have expected, given the resources at the disposal of clubs competing in the RFU Championship in comparison with those of us in the WRU Premiership. While the scores were level at the interval, the visitors produced too much fire-power in the second half and were in fact holding a 17-point lead until Nottingham managed to score a late consolation try and conversion right at the death.
The Wizards’ first-half points came from a penalty-try and a touchdown from Joe Gage, converted by Rhys Jones. A dominant Aberavon scrum had the home side in all kinds of trouble, and another penalty try was followed by a brace of tries by Cameron Lewis, more or less securing the win some fifteen minutes before the final whistle.
Aberavon 43 – 10 Cardiff University (August 27th)
A spirited display from the students wasn’t enough to stop an Aberavon side, featuring a mix of old and new faces, from running in seven tries, with Aled Thomas and Rhys Jones each kicking two conversions.
Frankie Jones got the ball rolling in the fourth minute, comfortably winning the race to touch down a chip ahead by Stef Andrews. New number eight Dan Baker, a dynamic ball carrier, forced his way over for a brace of tries, with the half time score being 19-nil.
Jones was again in action from the restart, flying down the right-hand touchline before delivering a perfect inside pass for Jonathan Phillips to go in near the corner. Replacement Steff Lewis finished off a prolonged bout of pressure by charging over from close range, and Phillips bagged his second after a counterattack launched by Joe Thomas. Left wing Aled Rees brought down the curtain with a typically powerful run.