(by Howard Evans)

Aberavon scored six tries and ran up 40 points, but the try they conceded three minutes from time meant that Llanelli stay in fourth spot and Aberavon remain in fifth.

Twice - once in each half - Aberavon scored 'tries' with the scorer being announced over the tannoy and twice the teams returned downfield with the scores disallowed.

It was a patchy game with some good running and tons of hard work; ten tries and eight conversions with not one penalty goal, yet there were also errors galore.

Dropped passes by both sides and the failure to catch high kicks plus the poor scrummaging of the Llanelli pack left neither side satisfied one suspects.

It needed one figure to stand out and luckily Aberavon had him in the shape of James Garland, who showed what a good wicketkeeper he is by catching splendidly.

He also happens to have a fine rugby brain and kicked and ran splendidly and rarely gets the credit that he thoroughly deserves.

He also took his tally to 101 points in the league this season.

Aberavon gifted the opening try to scrum half Gareth George that Jake Newman converted before Ben John, an Osprey returning from injury, scored a good try.

Then Llanelli came again with prop Ben Leung crossing for Newman to goal but Aberavon's pack went over for Luke Davies to score and Garland converted.

After 31 minutes the teenage centre Kieran Griffiths crossed and Llanelli led 19-12 at the break.

Aberavon took until 51 minutes before another forward effort took Ben Jones across with Garland converting and after 58 minutes Luke Davies was adjudged to have scored and again Garland added the extra at 26-19.

With 70 minutes gone Garland raced clear and goaled splendidly for 33-19 and Aberavon looked to be in fourth, but more defensive errors let replacement prop Richard Bassett cross and Newman converted.

So suddenly Llanelli had two bonus points only to see scrum half Jacob Flynn go over and Garland convert superbly.

It was 6-4 on tries and 5-1 on points which means that with one round of games left over Christmas, Aberavon are fifth out of eight and only four points off the top spot.

Work it out! Only the WRU can.

Now on to Boxing Day at the Gnoll and Neath are bottom but only seven points off the top. 

Merry Xmas to one and all and let us hope for a Cup final to come in May.

Aberavon 40 - 26 Llanelli

Aberavon Team:
Liam Popham (rep Chris Banfield 48 min); Shaun Pearce, Will Price, Rheon James (rep Steffen Williams 71 min), Ben John; James Garland (capt), Jacob Flynn; Mike Burgess (rep Tomos Northey 71 min), Luke Davies (rep Ieuan Davies 68 min), Jon Thomas (rep Rhys Forse 48 min), Ben Thomas, Ben Jones (rep Sam Williams 64 min), Lee Purnell (rep Craig Price half-time), Rob Dudley-Jones (rep Luke Joseph half-time), Joe Tomalin-Reeves.

Ben John appeared from the Ospreys; Tomos Northey appeared from Gowerton RFC.

Aberavon Scorers:
T - Luke Davies (2), Ben John, Ben Jones, James Garland, Jacob Flynn
C - James Garland (5)

Llanelli Scorers:
T - Gareth George, Ben Leung, Kieran Griffiths, Richard Bassett
C - Jake Newman (3)

Daniel Collins (RFU)

Man Of The Match:

1 - Luke Davies
2 - Joe Tomalin-Reeves
3 - Ben John

Time Line:

07 min: Llanelli - T - Gareth George & C - Jake Newman (0 - 7)
10 min: Aberavon - T - Ben John (5 - 7)
13 min: Llanelli - T - Ben Leung & C - Jake Newman (5 - 14)
18 min: Llanelli - Yellow Card - Ben Leung
20 min: Aberavon - T - Luke Davies & C - James Garland (12 - 14)
28 min: Llanelli - End Yellow Card - Ben Leung
31 min: Llanelli - T - Kieran Griffiths (12 - 19)
40+2 min: Half Time
51 min: Aberavon - T - Ben Jones & C - James Garland (19 - 19)
58 min: Aberavon - T - Luke Davies & C - James Garland (26 - 19)
70 min: Aberavon - T - James Garland & C - James Garland (33 - 19)
75 min: Llanelli - T - Richard Bassett & C - Jake Newman (33 - 26)
80+1 min: Aberavon - T - Jacob Flynn & C - James Garland (40 - 26)
80+5 min: Aberavon - Yellow Card - Joe Tomalin-Reeves
80+6 min: Full Time