Expectation is a word that has no ceiling in sport-there is always a covetous nature in teams and indeed sportsmen to go one better. The Aberavon Wizards could go five matches unbeaten if they can defeat Newport at the Talbot Athletic Ground and managing the pressure that comes with a rich vein of form is imperative if they are to do so.
Newport have undergone an indifferent start to the campaign with two wins out of a possible four. An opening day victory at Aberavon’s rivals Neath was followed up by a 6-39 defeat to Ebbw Vale and 38-44 loss to Pontypridd. A narrow 24-22 victory over Bedwas earned the Black and Ambers a much needed win last weekend. The fact that Bedwas were 24-6 down on 55 minutes tells it’s own story about the defensive frailties of the wizards opponents on Saturday.
Of the 36 league meetings between the sides, Newport boast a 21-15 series lead however the spoils are shared at 9-9 at the Talbot Athletic ground. The last two meetings favour the home side and we hope this trend continues this weekend.
On the 3rd January 2015, Aberavon beat Newport 20-16 at the Talbot Athletic Ground. Interestingly Aberavon led 17-6 at the break on this occasion and Newport did their utmost to avenge the deficit in the second period and nearly did. This time around I see home advantage and a miserly Aberavon defence being the difference.
The likes of Rob Dudley-Jones and Stef Andrews have been vital cogs in the Aberavon side this term and the pair combined for an Aberavon try in that game. It was James Clement converting in this encounter also, as he has done this term. If Aberavon can find runners in the final third, they should overpower Newport and the aim will be to do this early to avoid last week’s frustration. The Bridgend Ravens endeavour in stopping a flurry of wizards attacks could be replicated by the Black and Ambers but they will struggle to come back from a score ran up last time against the much improved hosts.
Speaking in his post match conference, Aberavon head coach, Jason Hyatt, said: “We are getting sides on the ropes and just not finishing them off, but we are not lacking in confidence.
“We did make hard work of getting the bonus-point but we kept coming and just did it. They well beat us here last year but we were out to make sure that did not happen again as in this league every club is capable of beating the next.
He finished by stating,”We still must learn to deliver the killer punch and now we are home again next Saturday against Newport with a chance of a fifth straight win.”
Aberavon – J Gage ; M Williams, W Price, J Thomas , S Andrews; J.Garland, D Pritchard; R Jenkins, G Harvey , A.Clatworthy, I Moore (capt) , S Williams, L Purnell , R.Dudley-Jones, J Tomalin-Reeves .
Newport-M Prosser, E Whitson, L Fairbrother, A Brown, R Jones, R Jenkins, C Attwell, O Griffiths, O Davies, M O’Brien, E Frewen, A James, A Brew, W Cunliffe, L A Myrddin
Kick Off: 2.30 pm on Saturday 3 October at Talbot Athletic Ground
The referee for Saturday’s game is Gareth John, aided by Martyn Lewis and Matthew Burford.