Final Score Llanelli 22 – 28 Aberavon
There was a touch of ‘deja-vu’ about this clash. The visitors scoring early and building a good lead then the hosts clawing their way back. In the end an opportunity to maybe win the game was spurned and the wait goes on for Llanelli’s first win.
The Wizards started the match strongly, looking dangerous in their early forays into the Llanelli half, with young outside-half Dan Edwards and centre Chay Smith making early breaks. Indeed, it was a break from Smith which set up the opening try for Aberavon. He passed to fullback Joe Gage who sent the aforementioned Edwards under the posts. Edwards converted his own try and the Wizards took an early 7-0 lead.
The visitors scored their second try on 18 mins when from a quickly taken lineout captain for the day Lloyd Evans saw a gap in the Llanelli defence and put through a clever chip which was ungathered until prop Geraint James popped up and pounced on the loose ball to ground in the corner. Edwards again converted as the ball glanced off the upright.
A penalty kick to the corner paid off when, after multiple phases of attacking play and concerted pressure on the Llanelli try line, Rhodri Cole darted through a gap in the defence to score under the posts and Edwards once again converted. With just 10 mins left in the half Llanelli were trailing by 21pts.
Just before half-time, Llanelli finally found some momentum, picking up a couple of penalties and demonstrated the power of their lineout drive, hooker Rhys Cherry charging over for their first try of the match. They were unable to add the conversion and the score at half-time was 5-21.
Aberavon scored their bonus point try straight from the kick-off of the second half. Llanelli tried the run the ball from deep in their own half but a long pass was intercepted that allowed flanker Lloyd Evans for the try. Dan Edwards continued his 100% kicking record for the match, slotting the conversion.
50 minutes into the half, a line break from Llanelli set up a two on two, with Aberavon’s defenders exposed, and they drew their men well, delaying a pass that allowed scrum half Archie Hughes to score under the posts. Josh Phillips adding the extras to reduce the arrears. Llanelli 12-28 Aberavon.
Llanelli continued to probe in the Aberavon half, enjoying a period of possession, but the visitors first up tackling proved very effective giving Llanelli little breathing space with ball in hand.
Llanelli continued to claw their way back into the match, the Wizards seems to lose their momentum somewhat and could not re-assert themselves as they had in the first half. Llanelli once again used their driving lineout to cause Aberavon problems, sending a penalty into the corner, Rhys Cheery rumbled over for his second try from the resulting lineout. The conversion was once again missed, leaving the hosts needing another two scores.
With around ten minutes remaining, Aberavon found themselves once again defending a five-metre lineout from a Llanelli penalty, and again Llanelli capitalised, launching yet another driving lineout to score in the corner. Their fourth try on 69 mins by prop Alex Jeffries set up a rousing finish. Then on what turned out to be the final play, the home side won a scrum penalty 25 metres out. Having scored two close range tries from 5 metre lineouts the scene was set for one last chance. Unfortunately, the kick to the corner was over cooked and sent dead – the chance had gone when the ref blew for the end of the match. Final score Llanelli 22-28 Aberavon
Llanelli will be back in action on bonfire night Friday 5th November against Bridgend.