Last Saturday Carmarthen Quins entertained struggling Aberavon at the Park and again the game was decided in the final moments.
Both teams tried to run the ball from the start but inaccurate passing and handling spoiled try scoring chances and the only scores on the board, approaching the end of the first quarter, were two penalties from the boot of Dan Newton and one penalty in response from Craig Evans. Then the lively, Darren Daniel, made a 40m. dash backed up by Ellis Lloyd. From the breakdown the ball was released quickly and a try was imminent but for a loose, looping pass, the bane of Carmarthen this season, which resulted in full back, Thomas Richie, intercepting and charging downfield. The Quins never fully recovered and eventually Joe Heatley gained the try and ex-Quin, Craig Evans, added the extras.
Aberavon seemed to have a clearer game plan from the start. They used their heavy forwards, particularly the Osprey’s No. 8, Morgan Allen, to run at the home side’s backs and this was beginning to take its toll. Blood replacements and positional changes seemed to unsettle the Quins and they had to battle gamely to remain in the game especially after Evans increased the visitor’s lead with another penalty. Aberavon were unable to capitalise on their dominance with further tries and Dan Newton was able to claw back the deficit with a penalty in overtime so that the score was 13 – 9 to the Wizards at the interval.
Immediately after the break Newton slotted another penalty and it was now the home side which was rampant. Jason Harries, having his best game for the Quins, sprinted 45m. but his backup failed to hold onto the ball and Aberavon were able to clear their line. Minutes later, however, Haydn Pugh rose high in the line out and the ball was shipped along the line to Rheon James who crashed into the defence but this time not before slipping the ball to Darren Daniel for a try between the posts and an easy conversion for Newton.
Although behind Aberavon were not finished. Evans was again accurate with a penalty and the powerful running of Morgan Allen and his back row partners was still causing problems. Eventually enough holes were smashed in the defence for Andrew Clatworthy to burrow over in the corner. Evans secured the touchline conversion and again the Wizards were in the lead. This lead was extended by Evans who added to his old club’s woes with a drop goal and penalty.
With ten minutes of normal time left substitute, Sion Bennett, came up with the ball and it went through the hands before getting to James Dixon who glided in for an unconverted try. With time running out the attacking moves became desperate but Craig Evans kept pegging the Quins back and commanding the game until he was surprisingly substituted at this crucial time. Then five minutes into extra time Gareth Thomas charged down a kick and a few passes later the ball found man of the match, Jason Harries, who sprinted under the posts for a try easily converted and a win for his side 31 – 29 as the final whistle was blown.
Carmarthen Quins may have been possibly more lucky than deserving of this last gasp victory (a change for this season) but Jason Harries certainly deserved his try for his performance throughout the match, both in attack and defence, was flawless and exemplary.
Reporter ~ Keith Bond