ABERCRAVE 0-19 SWANSEA
By: Paul Hopkins
Abercrave celebrated their 125th anniversary in style with an eye catching match against three time Welsh league champions Swansea.
While the score didn’t quite go in Abercrave’s favour it was a huge credit to the home side to keep it at 0-0 until the 48th minute.
The home side made a promising start with full back Curtis Griffiths making a break through the middle before finding prop Owen Pritchard on his shoulder. Fly half Darren Hodge continued the move, but play became too static and the attack came to an end.
The Whites embarked on their first attack when number eight Josh Key secured a turnover on half way and fly half Steffen Williams kicked for territory.
Winger Nic Franklyn dropped a pass to gift Abercrave an attacking opportunity. A powerful home scrum forced their Swansea counterparts to give away a penalty, which Hodge chipped into the corner. Lock Andrew Thomas drove forward from the lineout, but the visitors expertly held up the maul.
Flanker Craig Price made a break from a loose lineout, but lock Jack Phillips intercepted the pass. The visitors’ possession was short lived though and Griffiths kicked ahead, but dived failed to allow full back Foard Cooksley to get back up from the tackle.
Swansea mounted their first real attack when lock Giovanni Dalla’Amico took a lineout and fed Key, but a mistake brought an end to the move.
A dominant home pack stole possession against the head at a scrum and centre Connor Hughes showed great pace. He was supported by Hodge, but winger Dewi Pritchard was unable to take the scoring pass.
Griffiths made another break on the wing, but he was well wrapped up by the defending Franklyn, who forced a penalty. The visitors look to capitalise on the territory when winger Ki Morgan raced past the Abercrave defence and an off the ball challenge by Hodge on Steffen Williams gifted Swansea a penalty. Steffen Williams kicked to the corner but Key was held up over the try line.
Swansea came desperately close to opening the scoring when first scrum half Tom Lucas and then prop Jordan Pritchard were both stopped a metre short of the line. Flanker Ben Asprea took his turn, but spilled the ball forward.
With the visitors well on top centre Rhys Williams looked set to score, but was held up over the line. Fellow centre Gareth Rees was then stopped a couple of metres short by a resolute Abercrave defence.
The home side were soon back on the attack when winger Rhys Williams sprinted over half way with the Whites’ defence penalised for killing the ball. Hodge kicked to the corner and his side got quick ball out to the backs, only for Dewi Pritchard to become isolated and hold on after the tackle.
A quick lineout saw Lucas race up to half way, but he threw a loose pass that was almost intercepted by Craig Price in what would have been a certain Abercrave try.
On the stroke of half time Rees and Franklyn combined in midfield with Asprea in support, but Steffen Williams took the wrong option in chipping ahead and the move broke down.
Half-time:- Abercrave 0 Swansea 0
Swansea came out on fire after the interval and a devastating maul was dragged down by the Abercrave forwards. Steffen Williams kicked the penalty to the corner and replacement prop Jack Anderson powered forward from the lineout, but the supporting Franklyn dropped the pass.
The visitors’ pack had clearly gained the upper hand and a good lineout take by Asprea saw a 20 metre maul develop, allowing Anderson peel off to score the opening try. Steffen Williams missed the conversion.
Lucas made a break through the middle and found Asprea as the Whites looked to add a second try. Prop Dean Howells almost scored, but was penalised for holding on after the tackle.
The impressive Anderson powered through a tackle and found Pritchard in support. Rhys Williams looked set to score out wide, but Kelvan Ashby broke up the attack, although play was brought back for a Swansea penalty. Steffen Williams kicked to the corner and Anderson powered over for a try from the lineout. Steffen Williams converted.
Abercrave tried to mount a comeback when hooker Nic Evans ran out of defence, ably supported by Dewi Pritchard, but the winger was bundled into touch on half way.
Rhys Williams and Asprea combined yet again to start a Swansea attack, but they were unable to break through the home defence and a poor pass behind the supporting Liam Close sailed into touch.
Evans collected good lineout ball on half way as the home side looked to attack, but Hodge was brought down and the visitors were able to clear the danger.
A clever dart forward by replacement scrum half Ben Ley sparked a dangerous Whites attack and he found replacement flanker Liam Allen in support. Play was brought back for a penalty and Steffen Williams kicked to touch.
A mistake by the home side gave Swansea an attacking scrum five with Key powering over for try number three from the back of the set piece. Steffen Williams converted.
Swansea were back on the attack after the restart with Anderson charging through, finding Rhys Williams in support, but he was tackled over the shoulder. Steffen Williams kicked to the corner, but replacement prop Dylan Worth became isolated and gave away a penalty.
A rare second half Abercrave attack almost resulted in a try for Jonny Jones, but he spilled the ball forward over the try line.
In the dying seconds it looked as though the home side would get the try they so badly craved for. Matt Wood sprinted up to half way, with Jonny Jones in support, and the visitors gave away a penalty which Hodge kicked to the corner. The lineout didn’t go according to plan though and a mistake saw the match draw to a close.
Full-time:- Abercrave 0 Swansea 19
Tries:- Jack Anderson (48, 56), Josh Key (71)
Cons:- Steffen Williams (57, 72)
Venue:- Plas Y Ddol
Weather:- Light rain, 8C
Man of the match:- Jack Anderson
15 Curtis Griffiths
14 Dewi Pritchard
13 Carwyn Owen ©
12 Connor Hughes
11 Rhys Williams
10 Darren Hodge
9 Cellan Davies
1 Owen Pritchard
2 Nic Evans
3 Jonny Jones
4 Aaron Jones
5 Andrew Thomas
6 Kieran Price
7 Craig Price
8 Rob McCusker
16 Owen Phillips
17 Kelvan Ashby
18 Josh Hopton
19 Liam Phillips
20 Tristan Herdman
21 Matt Wood
22 Jack Jenkins
23 Nathan Roberts
24 Lee Jenkins
25 Kyle Turner
15 Foard Cooksley ©
14 Nic Franklyn
13 Gareth Rees
12 Rhys Williams
11 Ki Morgan
10 Steffen Williams
9 Tom Lucas
1 Dean Howells
2 Matthew Moore
3 Jordan Pritchard
4 Giovanni Dall’Amico
5 Jack Phillips
6 Rhidian Lerwell
7 Ben Asprea
8 Josh Key
16 Thomas Carle
17 Dylan Worth
18 Jack Anderson
19 Kyle Phillips
20 Liam Allen
21 Ben Ley
22 Liam Close