(by Marina Jones)

The Wizards travelled down to Carmarthen Park looking for back to back victories after a hard-fought win against Swansea last week.

The forecast rain did not arrive and conditions were good as the teams took to the pitch. The Quins came out of the blocks quickly and were immediately looking to get their outside backs into the game. We were equal to their threat, defending doggedly for large periods in the first half. We began to create chances for ourselves but handling errors prevented us from getting onto the front foot. Outside half Steffen Williams suffered a knock to his back which certainly affected him for several minutes and we just could not build on the attacking platforms we were creating.

The scrum seemed to be a lottery, both teams trading penalties throughout the match and referee Robert Price did not seem to have a handle on that aspect of the game. We lost lock Ben Davies in first half injury time and a momentary loss of concentration in the following play saw the Quins scrum-half race in the corner for a try. We trailed 8-0 at the interval. 

The second half started in much the same vein, Quins adding a penalty and another converted try. We lost replacement prop Jordan Walters to a yellow card on 60 minutes and the resulting penalty took Quins to 21-0. It didn’t look like there was any way back for us at this point. However, when Quins received two quick yellow cards for trying to slow us down illegally, we saw an opportunity. 

It should be said that there was no shortage of effort from the Wizards in this match. They tried hard throughout and at times it was clear to see the frustration on their faces.  But they didn’t give up. James Garland came on for Steffen Williams and began to play the territory game, moving us down the field and creating attacking platforms in the Quins ‘22. We capitalised on the yellow cards on 64 minutes with a try from Shaun Pearce, following an excellent touchline break. For large portions of the game, we were unable to get the ball to our outside backs but a change in midfield saw us try out a 10/12 axis of Popham and Garland and we immediately looked threatening. Lock Ben Jones scored in the 74th minute and we spent much of the final minutes of match trying to get the try that would have drawn the game, but Quins held out well and we couldn’t get the score. 

Man of the Match was awarded to ‘Magic’ MIke Wilson, who is quickly becoming a fan favourite. He never fails to surprise with his committed defence and seems to be learning that aspect of the game quickly. Even with little ball, he was a threat throughout the match, always drawing the attention of two defenders. Ben Jones also had an excellent game, his handling at times superb and his defensive work did not go unnoticed. 

A losing bonus point seemed unlikely with 20 minutes left and it was a point well earned in the end, but we will have to be much more clinical with ball in hand if we are to secure a victory next week when RGC 1404 visit the Talbot Athlectic Ground. 

Don’t forget, we are under lights next Friday, with kick off at 7:15, and if you are a season ticket holder you can bring along a mate for half price! Please do come and support.

Carmarthen Quins 21 - 14 Aberavon

Aberavon Team:
Chris Banfield; Shaun Pearce, Will Price, Rheon James (rep Liam Popham 65 min), Mike Wilson; Steffen Williams (rep James Garland 51 min), Jacob Flynn (rep Iwan Temblett 65 min); Mike Burgess (rep Jordan Walters 47 min), Ieuan Davies (rep Luke Davies 47 min), Jon Thomas (rep Rhys Forse 51 min), Ben Jones, Ben Davies (rep Luke Joseph 40+4 min), Lee Purnell (capt) (temp rep Mike Burgess 71-74 min, rep Rhydian George 74 min), Jacob Blackmore, Craig Price.

Jordan Walters appeared from the Ospreys; Mike Wilson appeared from Swansea Uplands RFC; Jacob Blackmore appeared from Waunarlwydd RFC; Iwan Temblett appeared from Trebaons RFC; Rhydian George appeared from Mumbles RFC.

Aberavon Scorers:
T - Shaun Pearce, Ben Jones
C - James Garland (2)

Carmarthen Scorers:
T - Ifan Beynon-Thomas, Josh Batcup
C - Aled Thomas
PG - Aled Thomas (2), Steffan Marshall

Robert Price

Man Of The Match:
1 - Mike Wilson
2 - Ben Jones
3 - Lee Purnell

Time Line:
03 min: Carmarthen - PG - Steffan Marshall (3 - 0)
40+6 min: Carmarthen - T - Ifan Beynon-Thomas (8 - 0)
40+7 min: Half Time
45 min: Carmarthen - PG - Aled Thomas (11 - 0)
57 min: Carmarthen - T - Josh Batcup & C - Aled Thomas (18 - 0)
60 min: Aberavon - Start Yellow Card - Jordan Walters
61 min: Carmarthen - PG - Aled Thomas (21 - 0)
62 min: Carmarthen - Start Yellow Card - Aled Thomas  
63 min: Carmarthen - Start Yellow Card - Josh Batcup
64 min: Aberavon - T - Shaun Pearce & C - James Garland (21 - 7)
74 min: Aberavon - End Yellow Card - Jordan Walters
76 min: Aberavon - T - Ben Jones & C - James Garland (21 - 14)
76 min: Carmarthen - End Yellow Card - Aled Thomas
78 min: Carmarthen - End Yellow Card - Josh Batcup
80+3 min: Full Time