Words such as plucky, hard working and organised have been used to describe Aberavon this season and they were all of these and then some against a struggling Bridgend Ravens on Saturday. Added to the display were moments of guile to find gaps and courageous running that eventually secured the bonus try that had eluded the side this term.
Scott Hicks did his best to tear up the script in the 27th minute, the mercurial number 8 sailing over the try line to give the Ravens the first try in response to James Garland’s penalty. Temperaments were running high in a feisty affair that boiled over at the 39th minute and Aberavon captain Ian Moore and Hicks were brandished sin bins.
Aberavon, like Lewis Hamilton on a Monaco circuit, were searing up their levels and such pressure paid dividends as Andrew Clatworthy dived over the try line and Garland applied the conversion. A sweeping move followed with the ball moving from Price to Garland and he duly converted.
Last ditch tackles and bodies consuming every last inch of space, caused Aberavon to need patience in gaining a bonus try. It did come however courtesy of a jinxing James Garland run that evaded the Ravens attempts at a tackle.
Aberavon – J Gage (C Clement 62); M Williams, W Price, J Thomas (M Jenkins 55), S Andrews; J.Garland, D Pritchard; R Jenkins, G Harvey (I Davies 55), A.Clatworthy (J Thomas 55), I Moore (capt) (B Jones 65), S Williams, L Purnell (C Davies 71), R.Dudley-Jones, J Tomalin-Reeves (C Davies 21-34).
Tries – A Clatworthy, W Price, J Garland, penalty try. Cons – J Garland 3. Pen – J Garland.
Bridgend – M Bennett (M Jones 60); D Evans (A Fenton 62), R Evans, J Gatt, M Powell; J Scrivens, G Watkin (W Baird 40); L Jenkins (T Sloane 63), D Rogers (I Merriman 63), C Lewis (N Boyce 63), R Hughes, G Bilton (A Evans 47), A O’Driscoll, S Hicks (E Williams 65), Z O’Driscoll.
Try – S Hicks.
Referee – Craig Evans (Glynneath).
Aberavon 34 – 6 Bridgend
Man Of The Match:
James Garland showcased pinpoint kicking and delivered the bonus try when it mattered most.
T – Andrew Clatworthy, Will Price, Penalty Try (8 pts), James Garland
C – James Garland (3)
PG – James Garland
T – Scott Hicks