Preview: Aberavon v Llanelli
After a break of sixteen days, Aberavon are back in action this Saturday when they welcome Llanelli to the Talbot Athletic Ground in the Indigo Group Premiership, kick-off at 2:30 pm.
Last season, the West Walians finished in twelfth place in the Premiership after winning one of their eleven games.
In their opening, and only, Premiership game of the season so far, they won 46 – 26 at home to Swansea. The Parc y Scarlets side led 21 – 14 at the interval with them outscoring their visitors by 6 tries to 4. Llanelli’s first-half tries were scored by hooker/captain Llew Phillips-Taylor, number eight Nathan Hart and wing Rhys Harris. In the second half, replacements Harrison Button and Luke Davies and centre Jack Price scored tries. Full-back Josh Phillips converted five of the tries and also kicked two penalties.
Last weekend, Llanelli played Swansea in the Premiership Cup at St Helen’s where the Whites got revenge for their league defeat by beating the West Walians 40 – 13. The home side led 19 – 6 at half-time with the visitor’s points coming through the boot of outside-half Josh Phillips with two penalty kicks. Although Llanelli were awarded a penalty try to start the second half and reduce the White’s lead to six points, Swansea went on to score three further tries to take the win.
Head-to-head, Aberavon and Llanelli have met each other 44 times in the Welsh National League (including playoff games), with the West Walians leading the series 25 – 17 with 2 games drawn. At the Talbot Athletic Ground, the Wizards lead 13 – 7 with 2 games drawn and won the last time the sides met in the league at the ground (45 – 14 last season).
Looking back nineteen seasons ago to when the sides met on January 3rd 2004, the visitors scored early in the game when Welsh International wing Mark Jones sprinted 80 metres for a try under the posts. Centre Cerion Thomas added the extras. The Wizards clawed their way back into the game with three successive penalties by outside half Jamie Davies making the score 9 – 7 to Aberavon at the end of the first quarter. Thomas retook the lead for Llanelli with a try he converted but Davies reduced their lead to just two points with his fourth penalty of the afternoon. At the end of the half, Aberavon went back ahead when Davies scored a try to make the score 17 – 14. Thomas and Davies traded penalties early in the second half before wing Sam Greenaway crashed over for a try in the 68th minute to make the score 25 – 17. Thomas kicked a penalty late on but the Wizards came away with the 25 – 20 win.
The Wizards team that day was: Richard Lewis; Sam Greenaway, Darren Ryan (rep Aled James), David Hawkins, Ricky Price; Jamie Davies, Daniel Hawkins; Mike Harris, James Jones, Mark Thomas (rep Greg Dix), Dafydd Owen, Chris Gittins, Ceri Thomas (rep Jamie Summers), Richard Morris (rep Steffan Edwards), Howard Merrett.
The referee for Saturday’s game is Ben Breakspear, aided by Dai Cambourne and Jon Hardy.