Match Report: Ystrad Rhondda 14 – 48 Aberavon

Match Report: Ystrad Rhondda 14 – 48 Aberavon
by Howard Evans

This was a splendid run-out against lively and very useful opponents, with Joe Gage and his men providing some superb running behind the usual solid scrum.

Gage was outstanding and his combination with Brad Roderick was a joy to watch, while Frankie Jones did well – firstly at wing and then at centre.

Chris Banfield celebrated his 100th appearance with a brace of tries; all three scrum halves were sharp and Stef Andrews was splendid at full-back. James Davies gave a solid performance and is a good signing.

In the pack, Luke Davies was a rock, though Cam Lewis and Saul Hurley both impressed as replacements, while all four props were splendid. Shay Smallman ran well and gave his usual honest display, while Rhodri Hughes leapt high and Rhys Thomas looked comfortable on the blind-side.

It is all up for grabs in the back row with Iestyn Davies back from Tondu and Casey Williams gave a ‘Jack Morgan type’ display at open-side. There are several young men ready to step up and James Clegg certainly has the build for it.

The home side were pushed back early on and Luke Davies claimed the first two tries.

Rhys Thomas was given a yellow card, incorrectly it appeared, but more good play led to Chris Banfield going over and Davies converting for a 17-0 lead at half-time.

Changes came early in the second half as the home outfit pressed strongly, but Aberavon defended well and Gage was tearing holes as he gave a superb reverse pass to send Frankie Jones racing clear and Davies converted.

Then Baker and Cam Lewis combined to send Banfield over at 29-0, but Baker was then yellow carded when it seems that a new rule is that if you drop an interception from one hand it is a card. More madness!

Ystrad Rhondda then deservedly scored a fine try as good inter-passing put a wing over and the fly-half nailed a good conversion.

Back they came again and though a player scored between the posts he did appear not to ground properly, but that was also converted at 29-14.

Would Aberavon falter? No was the answer and Rhys Thomas appeared to be underneath a surge for the sixth try before Andrews and Baker combined for Frankie Jones to race over and Sam Jardine converted.

In the final seconds replacement flanker Cerith Davies added try number eight and Jardine kicked a fine conversion.

It should be noted that the match was played to Championship (not Premiership) tackling laws – referee Mike English had to work that one out.

Ystrad Rhondda 14 – 48 Aberavon

Aberavon Team:
Stef Andrews; Chris Banfield, Joe Gage (capt), Bradley Roderick (rep Jay Baker), Frankie Jones; James Davies (rep Sam Jardine); Iwan Temblett (rep Rhodri Cole, rep Aron Hemmings, rep Rhodri Cole); Rowan Jenkins (rep Jordan Walters), Luke Davies (rep Cameron Lewis, rep Saul Hurley), Geraint James (rep Rhys Fawcett), Shay Smallman (rep James Clegg), Rhodri Hughes, Rhys Thomas, Stef Lewis (rep Iestyn Davies), Casey Williams (rep Cerith Davies).

Chris Banfield made his 100th appearance for Aberavon.

Man of Match:
Joe Gage.

Aberavon Scorers:
T – Luke Davies (2), Chris Banfield (2), Frankie Jones (2), Rhys Thomas, Cerith Davies.
C – James Davies (2), Sam Jardine (2).

Mike English

Time Line:
Aberavon – T – Luke Davies (0 – 5)
Aberavon – T – Luke Davies (0 – 10)
Aberavon – Yellow Card – Rhys Thomas
Aberavon – T – Chris Banfield & C- James Davies (0 – 17)
Half Time
Aberavon – T – Frankie Jones & C- James Davies (0 – 24)
Aberavon – T – Chris Banfield (0 – 29)
Aberavon – Yellow Card – Jay Baker
Ystrad Rhondda – T & C (7 – 29)
Ystrad Rhondda – T & C (14 – 29)
Aberavon – T – Rhys Thomas (14 – 34)
Aberavon – T – Frankie Jones & C – Sam Jardine (14 – 41)
Aberavon – T – Cerith Davies & C – Sam Jardine (14 – 48)
Full Time