Aberavon 7 Swansea 19
(by Marina Jones)

Aberavon welcomed visitors Swansea to the Talbot Athletic ground; our first home game league game since the beginning of December. Hopes were high that the Wizards could build on the positive performance at Carmarthen Park last weekend.

We suffered an early setback when, in the 2nd minute, a ruck collapsed on winger Stef Andrews causing a serious ankle injury. After lengthy treatment from both sets of medical staff, he was stretchered off and taken to hospital. We wish Stef a speedy recovery.

In challenging conditions, it was never going to be a feast of running rugby but Aberavon attempted to build an attacking platform in the early phases, resulting in a drop-goal attempt form James Garland, which went wide. Several minutes later Swansea opened the scoring with a penalty, somewhat against the run of play and, in the 22nd minute, they took a quick tap penalty from a ruck offence and outside-half Gareth Walters went in for the try, which was converted.

One of the three debutants on the bench, Penclawdd tighthead Chris Davies, made an early appearance as a blood substitute for Tomos Northey in the 24th minute. 18 year old Dragons scrum half Callum Morris, son of former Wizard Wayne Morris, also made his debut in the second half.

Meanwhile, Garland missed a penalty on the half hour mark and the Wizards were punished moments later with another Swansea penalty flying between the uprights.

The Wizards missed two chances to score some points late on in the first half. Steffen Williams, who had taken over goal kicking duties from Garland, hit the post with a penalty following a good break by Luke Joseph and then Williams himself broke through the Swansea defence, passing to Flynn who unfortunately spilled the ball forwards. The score at half-time was 13-0 to the visitors.

Swansea were reduced to 14 men early in the second half as a result of a deliberate knock on but it made little difference to the All Whites, who added another penalty in the 51st minute, taking the score to 16-0.

The Wizards finally got onto the front foot with a driving lineout deep in the Swansea 22. Jacob Flynn took the ball from the back of the maul and cruised in for the try. It was converted by Williams and there was a feeling around the ground that maybe the comeback was on.

It was not to be. A penalty conceded for coming in at the side gave Swansea the opportunity to extend their lead to 19-7. Despite a number of late attacks, we could not add anymore points and Swansea were able to close out the game.

The visitors were worthy of their victory and Aberavon must go back to the drawing board ahead of a tough trip to Bargoed next Saturday. Our next home game is against RGC on the 10th March. We hope to see you there.

Aberavon 7 - 19 Swansea

Aberavon Team:
Chris Banfield; Stef Andrews (rep Liam Popham 2 min), Will Price, James Garland (capt), Shaun Pearce; Steffen Williams, Jacob Flynn (rep Callum Morris 64 min); Tomos Northey (blood rep Chris Davies 24-35 min, rep Chris Davies 50 min), Ieuan Davies, Rhys Forse, Ben Thomas, Ben Davies (rep Jacob Blackmore 40+4 min), Lee Purnell, Luke Joseph, Joe Tomalin-Reeves (rep Rob Dudley-Jones 64 min).

Chris Davies & Callum Morris made their club debuts.

Replacements not used: Rhydian George, Alun Dew, Marc Breeze.
Tomos Northey appeared from Gowerton RFC; Callum Morris appeared from the Dragons; Rhydian George & Alun Dew appeared from Trebanos RFC; Jacob Blackmore appeared from Waunarlwydd RFC; Chris Davies appeared from Penclawdd RFC.

Aberavon Scorers:
T - Jacob Flynn
C - Steffen Williams

Swansea Scorers:
T - Gareth Walters
C - Owen Howe
PG - Owen Howe (4)

Aled Liddington

Man Of The Match:
No nominations.

Time Line:
17 min: Swansea - PG - Owen Howe (0 - 3)
22 min: Swansea - T - Gareth Walters & C - Owen Howe (0 - 10)
33 min: Swansea - PG - Owen Howe (0 - 13)
40+7 min: Half Time
43 min: Swansea - Yellow Card - Gareth Rees 
51 min: Swansea - PG - Owen Howe (0 - 16)
53 min: Swansea - End Yellow Card - Gareth Rees
59 min: Aberavon - T - Jacob Flynn & C - Steffen Williams (7 - 16) 
63 min: Swansea - PG - Owen Howe (7 - 19)
80+5 min: Full Time