Aberavon booked a place in the semi finals of the Swalec Cup with a hard fought 23-16 victory over neighbours Swansea at a bitterly cold St Helen’s. The match will mainly be remembered for half Jamie Davies scoring his 4,000th point for the Wizards.
Inside the first minute the Wizards’ back row of Ben Thomas, Chris Davies and Lee Purnell combined to drive play up to within two metres of the try line but Dan Baker secured a vital turnover.
The Whites mounted their first attack when a mini break by scrum half Jake Cole started a dangerous move. The Aberavon defence struggled to contain the rampaging Dan Baker and inevitably killed the ball. Nicky J Thomas failed to convert a straightforward penalty chance though.
The visitors struck first when the forwards controlled a rolling maul before Chris Davies fired an incisive pass to centre Matthew Jenkins, who sprinted through a gap in the defence to score. Jamie Davies converted.
Swansea hit back when a powerful scrum saw Baker take out two defenders before the ball was swept out wide through the hands of Nicky J Thomas and Rhys Williams, before Richard Williams touched down in the corner. Nicky J Thomas converted.
Scrum half Jake Cole spurned a simple try opportunity by throwing a forward pass to Nicky J Thomas who was in acres of space near the try line. However the full back kicked his side into the lead moments later when the Wizards’ defence killed the ball.
Chris Shelmerdine and Matthew Davies took it in turns to power towards the line, and the Wizards’ defence was penalised for handling in the ruck. Swansea opted for a scrum five and the ball was fired out to the wing, but Richard Williams was held up over the line.
On the stroke of half time Chris Davies was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle on Nicky J Thomas and the full back made him pay with a successful penalty goal to extend his side’s lead.
Half-time:- Swansea 13 Aberavon 7
Aberavon made a promising start to the second half and a move involving Purnell, Stef Andrews and Richard Carter almost led to a try, only for the winger to be held up over the line. Swansea then earned a penalty from the scrum five and cleared.
Illegal binding by the Whites’ front row at the scrum gifted Chris Davies a penalty chance and he made no mistake with his effort at goal. Moments later Cameron Clement was unlucky not to score when he was squeezed into touch after a good build up by the pack.
Nicky J Thomas restored the Whites’ six point advantage with a penalty goal after the visitors’ defence crept offside at the ruck. A superb pass by Jamie Davies found Matthew Jenkins on an angle and the centre sprinted past the Swansea defence to score. Jamie Davies converted to take his side back into the lead.
Andrews tidied up a loose ball and charged through the middle only for the Whites defence to creep offside at the breakdown. Jamie Davies missed his effort at goal though.
Whites hooker Paul John was sent to the sin bin for entering a maul from the side and fly half Jamie Davies kicked his side into a four point lead with a penalty goal. The lead was extended to seven points when Jamie Davies kicked a penalty from out wide after the home side were penalised for holding onto possession on the ground.
The Swansea front row were penalised for standing up in the scrum but this time Jamie Davies was unable to convert the penalty. The Wizards were able to control the remainder of the match and were never really threatened in the dying moments.
Full time:- Swansea 16 Aberavon 23
Star man: Matthew Jenkins
Referee: Neil Hennessy
Tries:- Richard Williams (22)
Cons:- Nicky J Thomas (23)
Pens:- Nicky J Thomas (34, 40+1, 53)
Y cards:- John (71)
Tries:- M Jenkins (16, 57)
Cons:- C Davies (17, 58)
Pens:- C Davies (47, 71, 75)
Y cards:- C Davies (40+1)
15 Nicky J Thomas
14 Richard Williams
13 Chris Shelmerdine
12 David Watts (rep: Aled Jenkins 70)
11 Rhys Williams
10 Cameron Clement (rep: Sam Davies 62)
9 Jake Cole (rep: Jon Preddy 67)
1 Matthew Norman (rep: Nicky Smith 62)
2 Paul John (rep: James Bija 80+2)
3 Ian Williams (rep: Nicky Thomas 62)
4 Ben Fox
5 Sam Kiley (rep: Rhodri Hughes 58)
6 Rob Dudley-Jones
7 Matthew Davies (rep: Scott Otten 73)
8 Dan Baker
16 Scott Otten
17 Nicky Smith
18 Nicky Thomas
19 Rhodri Hughes
20 James Bija
21 Jon Preddy
22 Sam Davies
23 Aled Jenkins
15 Stef Andrews
14 Richard Carter
13 Richard Thomas (rep: Craig Evans 80+3)
12 Matthew Jenkins
11 Paul Bamsey
10 Jamie Davies
9 David Pritchard
1 Neil White (rep: Rowan Jenkins 72)
2 Ieuan Davies (rep: Gareth Harvey 63)
3 Andrew Clatworthy (rep: Anthony Edwards 80+3)
4 Gavin Ronan
5 Sam Williams (rep: Ian Moore 41)
6 Lee Purnell (rep: Steffan Jones 63)
7 Chris Davies
8 Ben Thomas (rep: Nathan Brown 79)
16 Dan Davies
17 Craig Evans
18 Gareth Harvey
19 Nathan Brown
20 Steffan Jones
21 Ian Moore
22 Rowan Jenkins
23 Anthony Edwards
By Paul Hopkins