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22 May 2017 / Club News

Aberavon 18 Merthyr 22

IRONMEN CROWNED PREMIERSHIP CHAMPIONS

ABERAVON 18 MERTHYR 22

Merthyr were crowned premiership champions after defeating the Wizards of Aberavon at the Talbot Athletic ground Aberavon in a tense and exciting premiership final. Merthyr had the first use of the slight wind as they started the more positive side in the opening exchanges. From the kick, off flanker Osian Davies won the ball and the Merthyr pack drove towards the Aberavon line and when the drive was pulled down outside half Matthew Jarvis made no mistake with the penalty to give Merthyr an early 0-3 lead. Aberavon showed their intend as they ran the ball back at Merthyr with home outside half James Garland looking dangerous with his jinking runs, only good tackling from centres Arron Pinchers and Harri Millard keeping him out. As both side settle Merthyr had several line-out drives close to the Aberavon line but silly errors preventing any further score. Aberavon then took the lead when a fine move on the half way line saw forwards and backs link well together and a blind side run saw second row Ben Davies gallop away for the first try of the game, Garland just going wide with the kick. A fine run from ex Aberavon wing man Richard Carter caused panic in the Aberavon defence and once again Aberavon were penalised for off side with Jarvis making no mistake from 30 meters to give Merthyr the lead 5-6. Big hits were going in from both sets of forwards, with number 8 Phill Rees and Ed Siggery carrying good ball for the ironmen. Aberavon looked very dangerous as they attempted to run the Merthyr forwards around the field with Osprey wing man Jay Baker looking dangerous. On the stroke of half time Jarvis converted his third penalty of the game when Aberavon were penalised for a high tackle, to bring the half time score 5-9. With the wind in their favour in the second half two quick fire penalties from James Garland gave the lead back to Aberavon 11-9. Back came Merthyr with a fine touch kick from full back Martyn Thomas pinning Aberavon deep inside their own 25. Aberavon  were then penalised and Jarvis had the chance to extend the Merthyr lead, but his kick went wide and Garlands clearance kick was charged down by the alert Carter who dived over for the try to give Merthyr the lead back 11-14. Merthyr then made several changes as the game approached the last quarter as they introduced scrum half Justin James who showed his speed and pace as he broke away from a scrum on the half way line and spotted wing man Kyle Evans in space and a neat chip kick ahead was scooped up by Evans to race away to touch down in the corner to extend Merthyr’s lead 11-19. Back came Aberavon as they tried to get back into the game with their dangerous backs once again running at Merthyr. Merthyr were then reduced to 14 men when referee Dan Evans yellow carded hooker Rhys Williams for a high tackle. From the penalty Aberavon replacement scrum half Jacob Flynn ran at Merthyr and this time Captain Craig Locke was yellow carded for not retreating 10 meters and Merthyr were reduced to 13 men. This time from the penalty Replacement second row Sam Williams crashed over with Garland converting to close the gap to one point 18-19 with 5 minutes remaining. This was a long nail biting 5 minutes, but credit to the Merthyr pack that kept the ball as they picked up and drove at the Aberavon line time after time running the clock down and when Aberavon were penalised under the posts Jarvis made no mistake with the kick as the referee blew for full time and Merthyr had run out winners 18-22 in a tense final. For Merthyr, it was once again the forwards that paved the way for the victory, well led by captain Craig Locke, and well supported by ED Siggery, Phil Rees, and Osian Davies. Behind the scrum, scrum Half Downes linked well with outside half Jarvis who put in some fine touch kicks and once again showed his kicking skills with his 4 match winning penalties. This was a fine climax to the end of the season for the ironmen and has made up for the dramatic semi-final WRU cup loss to RGC. In a brief four year period the ironmen have climbed from nearly relegation to winning the Division 1 league and cup double, Winning the championship, to being crowned Premiership champions the biggest honour outside the regions and one of the greatest wins in its 140-year history.           

MERTHYR: 15 M THOMAS, 14 K EVANS, 13 H MILLARD, 12 A PINCHERS, 11 R CARTER, 10 M JARVIS, 9 R DOWNES, 1 N TRAVETT, 2 R WILLIAMS, 3 G POWELL, 4 L REED, 5 C LOCKE(C) 6 E SIGGERY, 7 O DAVIES, 8 P REES. 16 J HOWE, 17 R JAMES, 18 M DWYER, 19 B MURPHY, 20 T DALEY, 21 J JAMES, 22 D GUNTER, 23 T GEE,

SCORERS, R CARTER 1T, K EVANS 1T, M JARVIS 4 PENS

REFEREE: (DAN JONES)        

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