Saturday, Jan 18th 2020, 2:30PM
Talbot Athletic Ground
19 - 13
Aberavon vs Merthyr
INDIGO GROUP Premiership

Aberavon Away

ABERAVON 19 MERTHYR 13(Talbot Athletic ground) Saturday 18th January 2020)

This was certainly not a classic, but it was full of hard, determined rugby and brought an exciting finish.
Merthyr had led by 13-5 with an hour played, but the ‘Wizards’ battled back to score their second and third tries of the game and converted them to snatch victory.
Not only that, but the home side in the final play of the game went for a bonus try rather than kick a penalty or end the match.
Aberavon backs coach Lyndon Lewis explained: “We wanted that fourth try and tried for it, but just could not get it.
“It was a hard game, which was as we had expected, and we had to come from behind to win it.
“We had planned to get the W (win) and though it was always tough, we managed to achieve it.”
In the Aberavon pack No 8 Ashton Evans was again outstanding. His speed around the park was top-class with his hard running gaining a deserved try, but also his ability, strength and desire to make the hard yards was on the day even better than his fine opposite number Phil Rees.
Rhodri Cole must take a deserved pat for the courage he played with and a try that helped turn the game.
James Garland tried desperately hard but saw passes outside him go down, while though losing Jonny Phillips at the interval, Joe Gage proved again he is a man for all reasons these days.
Aberavon had a stronger bench than Merthyr and it showed as the ‘Ironmen’ tired, yet it was their inability to kick goals that cost Merthyr the win.
Normally their strength, not only did Matthew Jarvis miss five out of six goal efforts (one hit a post), but Rhys Jones, in his final game for Merthyr, disastrously missed a vital touch in the final breathless quarter.
Aberavon led after 17 minutes when a series of ‘soccer-type’ kicks from their own half ended with No 8 Ashton Evans scoring.
Merthyr replied with wing Adam Hoskins getting over in the corner and a great drive from the pack took flanker Jack Perkins in for the second try and a half-time lead of 10-5.
Jarvis kicked a penalty to increase the lead, but on the hour scrum-half Cole sneaked in between the posts for a try that Garland converted.
When Jarvis missed a penalty and Rhys Jones badly missed a kick to the corner, Merthyr’s chance had gone and Aberavon stormed upfield.
With one minute of time plus for stoppages remaining, the Aberavon pack and several backs pushed Merthyr back and replacement flanker Lloyd Evans gained the final try, superbly converted by another replacement Aled Thomas to secure the win.
The ‘Wizards’ looked for a bonus point, but it was just out of reach, though they thus jumped over the ‘Ironmen’ into third place.

Merthyr: 15 M Jarvis,14 A Hoskins,13 H Thomson,12 A Pinches,11 S Jones,10 R Jones,9 J James,1 C Phillips,2 R Williams,3 J Gilding,4 B Murphy, 5 J Down,6 T Daley,7 J Perkins,8 P Rees©, 16 I Morris,17 R Thomas,18 R Lewis,19 B Sier,20 I Davies,21 R Downes,22 J Soanes,23 R Davies.

Scorers, A Hoskins 1t, J Perkins 1t, M Jarvis 1p.

Referee Mike English(WRU).


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