Aberavon v Llanelli: Match Details
ABERAVON 6 - 26 LLANELLI
(by Howard Evans for the
A splendid performance by centre Nic Reynolds was at the heart of
Llanelli’s win at the Talbot Athletic Ground, writes Howard Evans.
While Reynolds scored twice and fellow centre Steffan Hughes added a
further score, Aberavon never seriously threatened the Llanelli line.
Llanelli led after fly-half Owen Williams had missed his first shot at
goal, but then landed his next two efforts.
The first try was going to be important and Reynolds went over for a
splendid solo effort before the interval.
Fly-half Craig Evans pulled back two penalties for Aberavon, but
Williams fired one in reply.
Then, Llanelli stormed back for Hughes and then Reynolds to go over in a
six-minute spell and Williams converted the latter.
A magnificent length-of-the-field effort saw Llanelli go inches short as
they looked for their fourth try.
Llanelli: Tries: N Reynolds 2, S Hughes. Con: O Williams. Pens: O
Aberavon: Pens: C Evans 2.
Aberavon 6 - 26 Llanelli
Wednesday September 19th 2012
Talbot Athletic Ground
Aberavon Starting XV:
Jonathan Phillips; Richard Thomas, Matthew Jenkins, Will Price, Ricky Thomas; Craig Evans, David Pritchard; Rowan Jenkins, Gareth Harvey, Andrew Clatworthy, Gavin Ronan, Ian Moore (capt), Chris Davies, Ben Thomas, Joe
Jamie Davies, Stefan Andrews, Liam Gadd, Evan Yardley, Chris John, Rhydian Gierat, Anthony Edwards, Richard
Replacements Not Used:
PG - Craig Evans (2)
T - Nic Reynolds (2), Steffan Hughes
C - Owen Williams
PG - Owen Williams (3)
Yellow - Aberavon - Rowan Jenkins, Gavin Ronan
Yellow - Llanelli - Rhys Thomas
Man Of The Match:
1 - Ian Moore
2 - Chris Davies
3 - Gareth Harvey
02 min: Llanelli - PG miss - O. Williams
06 min: Llanelli - PG - O. Williams (0 - 3)
15 min: Llanelli - PG - O. Williams (0 - 6)
26 min: Aberavon - Yellow Card - R. Jenkins
29 min: Aberavon - PG miss - C. Evans
31 min: Aberavon - Rep - A. Edwards for A. Clatworthy
33 min: Llanelli - Yellow Card - R. Thomas
35 min: Aberavon - Yellow Card - G. Ronan
36 min: Aberavon - End Yellow Card - R. Jenkins
40 min: Llanelli - T - N. Reynolds & C miss - O. Williams (0 - 11)
40+1 min: Half Time
40 min: Llanelli - End Yellow Card - R. Thomas
42 min: Aberavon - PG - C. Evans (3 - 11)
42 min: Aberavon - End Yellow Card - G. Ronan
54 min: Aberavon - PG - C. Evans (6 - 11)
54 min: Aberavon - Rep - R. Morris for A. Edwards
60 min: Llanelli - PG - O. Williams (6 - 14)
64 min: Llanelli - T - S. Hughes & C miss - O. Williams (6 - 19)
65 min: Aberavon - Rep - C. John for R. Jenkins
68 min: Llanelli - T - N. Reynolds & C - O. Williams (6 - 26)
69 min: Aberavon - Rep - J. Davies for W. Price
71 min: Aberavon - Rep - E. Yardley for G. Harvey
74 min: Aberavon - Rep - R. Gierat for I. Moore, S. Andrews for Ricky
77 min: Aberavon - Rep - L. Gadd for C. Evans
80+10 min: Full Time
Will Price, Matthew Jenkins, Joe Tomalin-Reeves and Evan Yardley appeared from the Ospreys.
Matthew Jenkins debut for the Wizards.
Other Premiership results: Bridgend 11 - 38 Cardiff, Neath 15 - 12 Carmarthen Quins,
Newport 25 - 26 Bedwas, Swansea 14 - 25 Cross Keys.
(by Howard Evans)
Aberavon hope to record their first win of the season shortly and
tonight we come up against the very formidable Llanelli team, who I
still think of as the Men of Stradey.
Even coming from Cardiff, I will still have good memories of Stradey
Park and am not one for switching to new venues quickly, just as I
was happier with Cardiff being on the Old Arms Park, not the one
that they call the current Arms Park – a cold and lifeless ground.
We welcome not only the great Men in Scarlet, but Robin Hood himself
in the popular Anthony Buchanan, along with Kevin George and Ioan
Cunningham, in particular.
Kevin, I have found out, is from Llangennech and here was I thinking
he was a Port Talbot boy who waywardly switched to Neath at one
time. Even with my poor geography, I realize Llangennech is nearer
Llanelli than Aberavon.
Anthony is (I think) a rare breed from Ystradgynlais, as I don’t
think (although I may be wrong) that he speaks Welsh. The only time
I was taken to Ystradgynlais – to see Aberavon win under Glen Ball –
I was amazed that very few spoke English in the grandstand!
Also, the club will bring Ian ‘Sooty’ Davies, a younger version of
Les Williams, as their statistician and Craig Hawkins, an all-time
favourite of mine on the field of play.
‘The Ripper’, as Craig is called, would get my vote as the best
number 2 in the Premiership and I was amused to hear he is not liked
by our dear friend Colin Vernall, the Cross Keys chairman, who
demanded a red card, not a yellow, in one came at Pandy Park. Ian
would remember the game I am sure.
Hopefully, they will not include Jordan Williams – surely a player
destined for the top, but as a fly half, though the likes of Nic
Reynolds, Owen Williams and Aled Davies are in the true Scarlet
I believed that Cardiff, with hardly one Cardiffian in the team,
were the greatest when I was a kid, but Benny, Ieuan, Rupert and Co
turned Llanelli RFC into the best in their time.
To match them, Aberavon will have to play very well, Confidence is
low, but the Wizards have risen before and winning is a wonderful
habit. Last season was one-all here as Aberavon won in the league
and Llanelli in the GB & I Cup.
Tonight could be a cracker as one thing Anthony, Kevin and Co demand
is that Llanelli play good Welsh rugby. Aberavon must win it forward
in true Wizard tradition. As Eddie Waring used to say: “It will get
harder before it gets easier.”.
(by Paul Williams)
As I sat down to write these notes, I looked back on a somewhat
inauspicious and extremely uncharacteristic start to the season from
the Wizards, sought and found some forthright views from my fellow
supporters, and even attempted to provoke some lively online
discussion as to exactly why we at Aberavon have reached
mid-September in a state of gloomy depression.
Then I re-read the news about Ulster centre Nevin Spence and his
family. If anything could have put things into perspective it was
that. If Aberavon were to lose every game this season, it would in
truth, and in the great scheme of things, be insignificant when
placed alongside the tragic farming accident that claimed the lives
of three members of the Spence family. One cannot but extend
sympathy to all have been touched by such a tragedy.
And so, I find myself rather less 'down' about recent events
involving my beloved Aberavon RFC; puzzlement is perhaps a more
accurate description. By and large the same players who have
performed so well over the past few seasons have not hit the same
heights this season. They have not become poorer players during the
summer, the coaching staff refuse to cite a list of injuries that is
admittedly heavy for this stage of the season as a reason for the
three defeats hitherto endured (although the combined loss of
Richard Carter, Dan Davies, Nathan Strong, Darryl Thomas and
numerous others is bound to have taken its toll), the players have
been training hard and overall the squad, if anything, is stronger
on paper, but things just haven't 'clicked', so here we are still
looking for a first win – very, very unfamiliar territory for the
Wizards. Confidence, it would seem, is low, but there's absolutely
no reason for that, for these are players of proven ability who are
capable of competing with the best.
This particular fixture last season produced, for me, the most
entertaining game of rugby I'd seen in ages. Not merely because it
ended with a handsome win for the Wizards (although that was icing
on the cake) but because it featured a hatful of tries from two
teams committed to playing the kind of rugby that everyone loves to
watch, in conditions that were near perfect for doing so. It was
ironic that, an hour or two later, the Ospreys and Scarlets produced
the complete opposite for that evening's S4C televised match, which
ended in a try-less nine-all draw. The WRU, to their credit, are now
attempting to generate increased media interest in the Principality
Premiership (although some may argue that it may be too little too
late), but thus far the press are showing little interest as they
chase the ever-more-elusive holy grail of increased circulation,
while I've yet to see any televised coverage (although I have been
away on holiday and so stand to be corrected). This is in turn
limiting the Premiership's ability to increase its audience – it's
difficult enough to attract people to watch rugby, without the local
and national media ignoring the product on offer.
Llanelli have started the season well, playing that exact same brand
of rugby with which they have always been associated, and it would
be fitting if the Wizards were to rediscover their form and do
likewise this evening. We live in hope!
Enjoy the game.
Aberavon 48 Llanelli 29
(by Paul Williams)
On a weekend after which the Welsh media will have concentrated on a
failed attempt to get a match on at a waterlogged Rodney Parade and a
display of unmitigated dross from the Ospreys and Scarlets at the
Liberty Stadium, both Aberavon and Llanelli can stand tall and take
pride from their respective contributions to a dazzling encounter at the
Talbot Athletic Ground, once again confounding those critics who
constantly decry the Principality Premiership.
In a sport that is so often overburdened with clichés, the one about
'rugby being the real winner' is without doubt the most hackneyed. Yet
it would have more than a grain of truth if applied to this match
between the current league leaders and the reigning champions, as a
neutral spectator would have left at the final whistle having enjoyed
full entertainment value for the admission price on a gloriously sunny
Llanelli had first use of the strong wind, and made much of the early
running with some purposeful midfield thrusts from Jonny Lewis and Nic
Reynolds making good ground. They were, however, rocked in the third
minute when turnover ball at a ruck near halfway saw Nathan Strong
emerge and release Richard Carter. With the visitors' backs lined up in
readiness to attack, they were caught stranded as the Wizards' prolific
right-wing went flying down the touchline to go over untouched.
Fly-half Jamie Davies added the conversion, but still the lively
Llanelli outfit continued to press, although they were finding a
well-organised Aberavon defence, with centres Will Price and Ben John in
immense form, difficult to break down. Eventually the scores were
levelled when a well-worked move put in wing Iolo Evans for a try that
full-back Jordan Williams converted.
As the match entered the second quarter, however, the home side seemed
to up the tempo and, despite the wind in their faces, the exceptional
control of Davies and his half-back partner David Pritchard kept up the
pressure on the Llanelli line, with the latter eventually delivering a
perfectly-timed scoring pass to speeding hooker Marc Breeze, who was
unstoppable from close range.
Breeze then went from hero to villain as referee Tim Hayes sin-binned
him for a high tackle and then infuriated the home crowd by failing to
apply the same treatment for a similar Llanelli offence soon afterwards.
Even a man down, however, the Wizards' attack remained undiminished. The
incredible Nathan Strong threw into the lines-out during Breeze's
absence, and the visitors' line-out began to creak as Sam Williams and
Rhydian Gierat, playing surely his best ever game for the club, took to
pinching opposition ball fairly regularly.
It was Gierat who was next on the scoresheet, charging at the try-line
and reaching out like Mr Tickle to ground the ball for his team's third
try. Incredibly, before Breeze's return to action, the Wizards had the
bonus point in the bag when swift passing along the threequarter line
again sent Carter hurtling over in the right-hand corner for Davies to
convert, and although Williams landed a penalty for the visitors just
before half time, a 24-10 lead at the interval looked promising for the
Carter was again in action almost from the restart. In a move that will
be familiar to Aberavon regulars he popped up in midfield to take a long
Jamie Davies pass at top speed and tear through the visitors' defence
for his third try of the match and his tenth of the season, with Davies'
conversion taking the score past the thirty mark.
One can never write off Llanelli, however. Tries from Williams and
lively number eight Allan Powell, the latter converted by Williams,
narrowed the gap to just nine points as the game entered its final
The Wizards, however, were in no mood to capitulate and, despite once
again being a man short after Lloyd Howell had been singled out for some
mysterious offence at a ruck, the seven-man pack held the upper hand. A
speculative and unorthodox kick by Strong almost yielded a fourth try
from Carter, but the coup-de-grace was not long in coming, with another
slick handling move launched by Davies ending with powerful left-wing
Richard Thomas going over for Davies to convert.
Still there was more to come and, following a successful penalty attempt
from Davies to take the score past the forty mark, replacement full-back
Ricky Thomas was this time the beneficiary after replacement scrum-half
Dan Davies had ripped possession away from a Llanelli forward and again
set the Wizards backs running
With time running out, it looked as though the visitors would be heading
home empty handed – scant reward for their own contribution to an
outstanding match – but with the last move of the game centre Nic
Reynolds crossed near the posts to earn his team a losing bonus point
for Williams to convert.