ABERAVON 52 CROSS KEYS 15
(from Howard Evans)
Aberavon started badly but recovered from 10-7 down to score 45 more points before Keys scored again and the ‘Wizards’ finished with eight tries.
It was the total reverse of the match at Llanelli seven days before and the main turning point came with two splendid tries by young scrum half Iwan Temblett.
Iwan finally made way in the final quarter as the popular David Pritchard was given his first run-out since breaking an arm against Pontypridd on September 15 last year.
The result means that Aberavon are now chasing a place in the top six, while for Keys it was another huge nail in their Premiership coffin.
While Keys were too slow and ponderous and with regional players Tiaan Loots and Jacob Botica offering little, Aberavon picked up the pace and had a bonus point before the interval.
A dreadful opening saw Keys gifted a try to No 8 Garin Price after terrible slackness on Aberavon’s part and Botica converted.
Aberavon immediately hit back with Chris Banfield racing clear and James Garland converting only for Botica to put Keys ahead again with a penalty.
But now, Aberavon were beginning to move with purpose and the speedy Temblett scored his first with Garland converting before the pack gained a penalty try.
Right on the interval Temblett turned on the pace to tear past the huge Wesley Cunliffe and score to make it 26-10 and the bonus point was gained.
Aberavon came tearing out for the second half and in a 13 minute-spell had scored four more tries.
First Joe Tomalin-Reeves went over in the corner, but Garland still kicked the conversion and the fly half kicked superbly to see the alert, though ‘flu’-stricken, Stef Andrews gather and cross.
On 55 minutes Jac Morgan saw his hard grafting rewarded with a try that Garland goaled and then replacement Will Price scored the eighth try which was again converted by Garland.
There had been a yellow card to Tom Lampard of the Keys and Price followed.
Keys tried hard and eventually replacement scrum half Dan Babos gained a try, but it was too little, too late.
Aberavon head coach Jason Hyatt said: “We needed this after disappointing everyone last week.
“Today we had energy and a good tempo. We needed to score tries and did, playing some good rugby in the process.”
Garland’s handling and Temblett’s swift running and passing stood out in the backs where Rheon James and Joe Gage tackled well.
In the forwards, lock Rhodri Hughes was a tower of strength and while the front row was on top, it was young Morgan who also stood out.
Next stop is North Wales and Hyatt and co are definitely up for it, while conditioning coach Howard Thomas can be pleased with his efforts.
Aberavon 52 – 15 Cross Keys
Chris Banfield; Stef Andrews, Joe Gage (rep Will Price 59 min), Rheon James (rep Shaun Pearce 64 min), Frankie Jones; James Garland (capt), Iwan Temblett (rep David Pritchard 64 min); Rowan Jenkins, Luke Davies (rep Ieuan Davies 64 min), Chris Davies (rep Jon Thomas 64 min), Rhodri Hughes, Sam Williams (rep Ben Thomas 54 min), Jac Morgan, Andrew Waite (rep Lee Purnell 50 min), Joe Tomalin-Reeves.
Replacement Not Used:
Frankie Jones & Iwan Temblett appeared from the Ospreys; Jac Morgan appeared from the Scarlets; Jon Thomas appeared from Baglan RFC.
T – Iwan Temblett (2), Chris Banfield, Penalty Try, Joe Tomalin-Reeves, Stef Andrews, Jac Morgan, Will Price
C – James Garland (5)
Cross Keys Scorers:
T – Garin Price, Dan Babos
C – Jacob Botica
PG – Jacob Botica
Man Of The Match:
1 – Jac Morgan
2 – Chris Banfield
3 – Iwan Temblett
11 min: Cross Keys – T – Garin Price & C – Jacob Botica (0 – 7)
14 min: Aberavon – T – Chris Banfield & C – James Garland (7 – 7)
18 min: Cross Keys – PG – Jacob Botica (7 – 10)
31 min: Aberavon – T – Iwan Temblett & C – James Garland (14 – 10)
40+1 min: Aberavon – T – Penalty Try (21 – 10)
40+4 min: Aberavon – T – Iwan Temblett (26 – 10)
40+5 min: Half Time
43 min: Aberavon – T – Joe Tomalin-Reeves & C – James Garland (33 – 10)
45 min: Aberavon – T – Stef Andrews (38 – 10)
52 min: Cross Keys – Yellow Card – Tom Lampard
53 min: Aberavon – T – Jac Morgan & C – James Garland (45 – 10)
64 min: Aberavon – T – Will Price & C – James Garland (52 – 10)
71 min: Aberavon – Yellow Card – Will Price
77 min: Cross Keys – T – Dan Babos (52 – 15)
80+8 min: Full Time