This report courtesy of the unofficial Aberavon website.
It took six league games and almost a month, but Aberavon achieved their first league victory of the season on Tuesday evening when they beat Llandovery 37 - 30 at Church Bank. To win at Llandovery is always a difficult task to achieve, but to win there midweek after five straight league defeats is an even greater achievement. On the pressure on coaches Steve Brown and Roger Powell, team manager Steve Jones said, "Everyone's been under pressure but we know that we were a better side than the League table suggests and this first victory will give the squad a considerable lift. No one wins easily at Church Bank and our forwards had to pull out all the stops to get the better of the Llandovery eight."
The Wizards pack controlled the game for three quarters of the match when Aberavon led 30 - 13. Although the scrummaging was an even contest, Aberavon had the upper hand in the lineouts and ruck and mauls. Outside-half Matthew McCarthy, who almost missed the match from an injury he picked up on Saturday, had an excellent day with the boot scoring 22 of Aberavon's points. Lock Ian Strang was outstanding at lock while the back row of Damien Neill, Richard Morris and Chris Kinsey also played strongly.
McCarthy opened the scoring in the second minute with a penalty while wing Gareth Davies scored Aberavon's first try twelve minutes in from an interception. Midway through the first half, number eight Morris forced himself over from close range to score the Wizards’ second try. With a conversion and another three penalties from McCarthy and two penalties by the Drovers outside-half Peter Lloyd, the half-time score was 24 - 6 to Aberavon.
The home side opened the scoring in the second half when wing Ioan Davies made the most of a poor clearance by Aberavon to score a try converted by Lloyd. However, another two penalties from McCarthy meant Aberavon went into the last quarter 30 - 13 up. Flanker Dafydd Jones scored the Drovers second try, again converted by Lloyd to reduce the Wizards’ lead to 10 points. However, Aberavon didn't panic like in previous games, and soon scored again when captain Mark Evans went over from lineout ball won by Strang. McCarthy converted to make the score 37 - 20 with just 13 minutes left on the clock.
Aberavon then let their control of the game slip a bit with some tired tackling as the home side scored two further tries, both unconverted, by hooker John Hughes and prop Matthew Monaghan. Although the fitness levels of the players for a full eighty minutes needs to be thought about, this victory was sweet medicine for the Wizards.