Match Report: Aberavon 8 – 31 Newport
by Paul Williams
Something of a ‘perfect storm’ struck Aberavon as a strangely out-of-sorts display, hardly helped by the Wizards’ ongoing injury problems, combined with a strong Newport team hitting top form to run in four tries for a bonus-point win.
It was, however, more than a quarter of the way through the match before any score came. The visitors, with a healthy share of early possession, were finding the Aberavon defence difficult to penetrate, and it was a 23rd minute penalty from Newport fly-half Matt O’Brien that finally got the scoreboard moving.
The first half then continued in much the same fashion until swift passing finally prised open the home defence for centre Joe Westwood to touch down for an unconverted try.
This seemed to galvanise the home side, and a period of intense forward pressure ended with a driving maul crossing the visitors’ line for hooker Luke Davies to claim the try, taking the score to 5-8 at the interval.
An exchange of penalties between O’Brien and opposite number James Davies took it to 8-11, but at the end of the third quarter centre Jon Morris extended the visitors’ lead to eight points with a well-taken try.
There was no shortage of effort from the Wizards as they strove to narrow the gap, but all too often promising initial moves foundered on an uncharacteristically high error-rate. While the scoreline remained close going into the final ten minutes, O’Brien was able to land a further penalty to make it 8-19, all but sealing victory for the visitors, but there was more to come as Newport turned up the pressure once again with replacements Garin Harris and Carwyn Penny crossing from close range, with O’Brien converting the latter.
It was a disappointing result after a fairly positive start to the season from this young Aberavon team, but it was always, to a degree, destined to be something of a rebuilding season at the Talbot Athletic Ground, and the situation is exacerbated by the long-term absence of certain key players. Under the circumstances the club has been forced to introduce new blood rather less gradually than it would have liked. Head Coach Jason Hyatt expressed his own disappointment at the result, but there can be no doubt that lessons will have been learned.
Saturday October 14th, 2023
Aberavon 8 – 31 Newport
Scott Delnevo (rep Callum Carson 57 min); Chris Banfield, Frankie Jones, Bradley Roderick, Stef Andrews; James Davies (rep Aled Thomas 76 min), Iwan Temblett (rep Aron Hemmings 76 min); Rowan Jenkins (capt) (rep Jordan Walters 68 min), Luke Davies (rep Cameron Lewis 68 min), Geraint James (rep Rhys Fawcett 68 min), Shay Smallman, Rhodri Hughes, Ben Gregory, Rhys Thomas (rep Travis Huntley 68 min), Joe Tomalin-Reeves (rep Iestyn Davies 47 min).
Iestyn Davies appeared from Tondu RFC.
Geraint James made his 100th appearance for Aberavon RFC.
T – Luke Davies
P – James Davies
T – Joe Westwood, Jonathan Morris, Garin Harris, Carwyn Penny
C – Matt O’Brien
P – Matt O’Brien (3)
Man Of The Match:
1 – Luke Davies
2 – Ben Gregory
3 – Rhodri Hughes
23 min: Newport – PG – Matt O’Brien (0 – 3)
38 min: Newport – T – Joe Westwood (0 – 8)
40+2 min: Aberavon – T – Luke Davies (5 – 8)
40+3 min: Half Time
44 min: Newport – PG – Matt O’Brien (5 – 11)
53 min: Aberavon – PG – James Davies (8 – 11)
57 min: Aberavon – Yellow Card – Rhys Thomas
59 min: Newport – T – Jonathan Morris (8 – 16)
67 min: Newport – Yellow Card – Nathan Evans
68 min: Aberavon – End Yellow Card – Rhys Thomas
75 min: Newport – PG – Matt O’Brien (8 – 19)
80+1 min: Newport – End Yellow Card – Nathan Evans
80+2 min: Newport – T – Garin Harris (8 – 24)
80+4 min: Newport – T – Carwyn Penny & C – Matt O’Brien (8 – 31)
80+5 min: Full Time