RESULT: Aberavon 12 - Carmarthen Quins 28
The journey to the Talbot Ground was littered with very heavy showers, but as the starting whistle neared the weather finally cleared and this eagerly awaited contest was on.
The home side – with two bonus point victories behind them – were up against a Quins outfit that so far had managed just one losing point to their credit. It seemed a daunting task, but as early on as the seventh minute, it became obvious that the Quins were not there to make up the numbers.
The Carmarthen side had made seven changes following the Neath game, intended to strengthen the squad, but for the third match running the Quins eight were up against far bigger opponents. But, once again the scrum was solid and the line-outs went their way throughout the match.
Early pressure from the Wizards was confidently dealt with and when the Quins drove the play up into the home 222, a line out from the Wizards attempted to the ball out of defence. The Quins backs were having none of it and a stray pass gave Tom Williams the chance to gather and race over the line for a well-taken try that was subsequently converted by Jac Wilson.
From the restart, a mix up in the Quins’ cover left the way clear for Aberavon wing Shaun Pearce to pick up and cross the line, unopposed, a score which Steff Williams then converted to bring things level. The Carmarthen boys were looking the more dangerous and soon Jac Wilson retook the lead with a 30-yard penalty after 20 minutes. The away side kept the pressure up through a series of robust tackles and clever use of the touch line.
The Quins kept a tight stranglehold on the game, giving the home team little change to gain any ground with the chances that they had. Dan Jones joined the game before half time and made light work of a penalty with the last kick before the whistle, which gave the Quins an interval lead of 13-7.
Sensing victory, the Quins came out strong in the second half and continued to keep the Wizards under pressure. After 51 minutes Dan Jones slotted his second penalty between the posts, following a 50-yard break. The Quins half backs controlled play brilliantly, which took them into the home 22 where Dan Jones passed a delicate chip through a gap which saw Nick Reynolds tear through to touch down for a brilliant try. Yet again, Dan Jones was on target with the conversion.
Desperation was creeping in to the Wizards and they failed to make any headway, which allowed the Quins to surge upfield and the power play that followed gave Shaun Jones the ball; and his strength did the rest to result in a third try for the Quins, although the conversion sailed wide.
The catch-up style of play that was forced on the Wizards eventually paid off, although a late try after 73 minutes by Stuart Nicholas threatened the Quins lead but went unconverted. The Carmarthen side kept their composure and comfortably held any danger and the game finally ended after 8 minutes of injury time with a comprehensive victory to the Quins.
This victory can be best described as an out and out squad performance so it would be difficult to pinpoint any single, outstanding individual contribution; both the team and coaching staff can be well pleased with the improved performance this week.
The next two matches will be at home in the Park against the Bridgend and then Swansea – so let’s all turn up and give the players all of our support.
Match report by Alan Bowen.