Season 2002 / 2003
Aberavon Harlequins 14 pts Aberystwyth 25 pts
The Quins lost their last game
of the season, going down to an Aberystwyth team that cruelly exposed the
Quins lack of pace.
The visitors started well and some strong runs from Lewis and Hunt set up some good chances. Paul Thomas and Gibbs commanded the lines out and strong scrummaging pressed the home side. When a Quins attack faltered deep in the Aber 22 the home side countered in a sweeping move involving backs and forwards with No.8 Gareth Davies giving a scoring pass to winger Tom Henderson.
The Quins hit back hard and after being held up on the line several times were finally awarded a penalty try which Peter Thomas converted. The Quins eight continued to dominate but could make no headway behind apart from occasional burst from Pugsley. Lock forward Bleddyn Jones combined well with No8 Davies to regain the home lead with a spectacular try. Garner converted to make it 12 –7. Just before half time more pressure from the Quins eight took play to the Aber line but loss of possession saw Aber storm up field and Ifan Evans scored. Garner converted.
Two penalties from Garner in the second half widened the gap. Late in the game a final effort saw the Quins shove the home eight over for Rice to touchdown. Thomas converted.
Saturday 10th May
Aberavon Harlequins 19pts Newcastle Emlyn 20 pts
The first ever visit to Newcastle Emlyn by the
Quins ended in defeat by the narrowest of margins. During the first hour the
game was held solidly in the home sides grip and things looked ominous as
Emlyn swept to the attack. Heroic tackling stemmed the tide but it was inevitable
that tries would come. Lloyd Hayden threw accurately to the lines out and
Paul Thomas and Darren Gibbs denied the home side vital possession.
Duncan Lewis opened the home side’s account with a try after a bout of clever handling aided by some slack defence. Gareth Jones converted and soon after added a penalty. Early in the second half more clever back play split the Quins defence and Thomas darted over beneath the crossbar Jones converted to put Emlyn 20pts nil up.
Richard Diaz was brought on for
the injured Andrew Price and soon made his presence felt spearheading some
drives to the line.
Gareth Rice Richard Diaz
Three times the Quins pack was
stopped from crossing the line by illegal defence, before a penalty try was
awarded. Craig Williams converted and with 10 minutes left Diaz crashed over
following a strong maul. The Quins pack was now in rampant mood. Strong scrummaging
sent the home pack reeling backwards only for Rice to be denied what appeared
to be a fair try. The Quins eight were not to be denied as minutes later Rice
claimed a push over try. Williams converted but time ran out for the Quins
who ended the game in complete command.
Monday 5th May (Home)
Aberavon Harlequins 16 Tonmawr 3
The Quins completed the double over their local rivals with a remarkable exhibition of power forward play.
The game opened in sensational fashion with Quins prop Dacey and Tonmawr No.8, Hill, yellow carded. A minute later Quins lock rob Jones joined them. When they returned it was Quins lock Lovell’s turn to leave as ref. Elliott waved a red card. With over an hour left to play with a seven man pack the Quins faced an up hill struggle. Fly half Craig Williams eased the Quins in front with a penalty goal into the strong wind. The Quins pack tore into the visitors and applied extreme pressure in the scrums through Dacey, Miller and Diaz. The Quins time and time again sent the Ton eight crashing backwards and from two such scrums on the 22m line No.8 Rice gathered, linked with Jamie Morgan and the scrum half cleverly put Lean away along the touch line. Evading two would be tacklers the wing dived over in the corner to put the home side 8 pts up.
After some good kicking from the Ton halves the visitors gained a foothold in Quins territory and produced some dangerous moves with Hill and Ackery well to the fore. Resolute defence from Anthony Thomas, Peter Lewis and Craig Williams stemmed the tide. And only conceded a Livingstone penalty goal.
The Quins turned with the wind behind them in the second half and produced some of the most resolute scrummaging seen at Harlequin Road this season. Winger mark Davies harried the defence chasing every loose ball and Neil Pugsley put in some dangerous runs. With half-hour left to play the few Tonmawr attacks foundered on the stern defence of Ridd and Thomas in particular and the forwards tightened their grip as a succession of scrums took play to the visitors’ line. One more desperate heave from the front row hurled the Ton eight back and they stared defeat in the face when Rice crashed over for the try. Williams missed the conversion but stretched the lead with a penalty. Morgan and Williams kept up the pressure with clever kicks. Thomas left the field to well earned applause and Craig Singleton played his part in the dominant Quins seven during the closing minutes.
Friday 2nd May (Home)
Aberavon Harlequins 36 Ystradgynlais 17
Aberavon Quins swept aside lowly Ystradgynlais with the aid of some very strong scrummaging. Scrum half Jamie Morgan opened the Quins account with a smart corner try. Craig Williams converted. With a strong wind at their backs the Quins continued to press and No 8 Gareth Rice scored. Williams missed the conversion but improved the next try also grabbed by Rice.
Facing the wind in the second
half the Quins stretched the lead to 26 pts when Lean scampered over. Williams
converted. When a Quins attack was thwarted a great counter move saw Ystrad
open their account with a Mat Holdsworth try. Rice completed his hat trick
when the Quins eight rolled the visitors over their line. Jamie Lean grabbed
his second to complete the Quins score. A lack of concentration in injury
time saw Holdsworth and Morgan score smart tries, for Ystrad one of which
Tuesday 29th April (Home)
Aberavon Harlequins 15 Vadre 24
Three penalties separated the
teams at the final whistle with home tries from Marcus Lovell and Jamie Lean.
Craig Williams converted one and kicked a penalty. Vardre also scored two
Saturday April 26th (Away)
Aberavon Harlequins 19 Birchgrove 30
Aberavon Quins’ run of
good form came to grief in the opening twenty minutes of the visit to Birchgrove.
The game started in torrential rain with the Robins swooping on the Quins error strewn efforts and by the time the rain stopped before half time the home side were comfortably 18pts to the good. The back row trio of Morgan, Gemine and Price were a constant threat and strong running from Rees and Evans in the centre carved up the Quins defence. Lock, Havard crashed over for the first try quickly followed by Rees who also converted. The first half scoring was completed by a Rees penalty goal.
The Quins woes continued early in the second half when Hopkins skipped over at the corner. Rees banged over a difficult conversion. The Quins finally started to put things together, Strong runs from Lewis Rice and Lovell set up a rare attack and winger Mark Davies crossed. Williams converted and the Quins put on more pressure and a quickly taken penalty saw Davies cross for his second try. A good counter attack made a home victory certain when Hopkins scored his second try. The Quins had the last say when Lewis crashed over for a consolation score.
Tuesday April 22nd (Home)
Aberavon Harlequins 40 Trimsaren 17
The Quins continued their recent
rich vein of form by heavily defeating a plucky Trimsaran side. A little more
care and a better selection of options would have lead to a very large score
for the home side.
With six changes from the victory over Tonmawr the Quins set about Trim with speed and vigour. On the ten-minute mark a wheeled scrum gave No.8 Rice and scrum half Jamie Morgan the space to put inside centre, Richard Thomas bursting over beneath the posts. Peter Thomas converted. Thomas had a hand in a try two minutes later when he combined with Alex Sheehy and Jamie Morgan to put No 8 Rice over.
Dean Feltwell opened the Trimsaran account with a penalty.
Peter Thomas left with an injury to be replaced with Craig Williams who converted the next try from the Quins, which came from a strong burst through the middle by Richard Thomas allowing fellow centre Neil Pugsley to dummy his way over. With the score at 19-3 it looked all over for trim with the Quins front row of Diaz, Miller and Hunt in mighty form. A catalogue of errors from the Quins backs however allowed Trim back in and Feltwell slotted over his second penalty and then converted magnificently from the touchline after an excellent maul put Nick Francis over.
With a half time lead of six points the Quins forwards took complete control.
Line out work from Gibbs and Rice set up a wave of attacks and the astute kicking of Williams pegged the visitors back. A take against the head saw Williams drop a goal. Miller, Wanklin and Pugsley combined well to take play to the line and from the resulting scrum Trimsaran were shoved off the ball and Richard Wanklin dived over, Williams converted. Gibbs and Sheehy were replaced by Paul Thomas and Marcus Lovell and the Quins forwards remained relentless in their approach. Another scrum this time from 10 yards out found the Trim pack in full retreat and Rice had little bother in scoring.
Trimsaran refused to lie down and took advantage of some sloppy Quins play to swarm to the attack and Barrie Walters gained a well-deserved score. Feltwell converted. The Quins returned to the attack but with a crowded fixture list looming took the easier option and added two Williams penalties.
Saturday April 19th (Home)
Aberavon Harlequins 16 Tonmawr 8
The local derby between third placed Tonmawr and third from the bottom Aberavon Quins was a nail biter.
A Stirling effort from the Quins pack laid the foundation of a very welcome away victory. Injuries and work commitments forced the Quins to make several changes to the selected team. Loose head prop Alex Sheehy was forced to play at full back and after a shaky start performed well. Playing into a strong wind the visitors won the lion’s share of possession through the line out dominance of Gibbs and Rob Jones. Strong scrummaging also caused Tonmawr trouble and they were unable to take advantage of the wind at their backs. The Quins attacked strongly but let themselves down with some lamentable handling skills. A rare appearance at number eight gave Marcus Lovell a chance to put in some strong runs and combined well with scrum half Jamie Morgan. Open side flanker Richard Wanklin again caught the eye with his all action style and has proved a real acquisition for the Quins. A rare foray into Quins territory saw the home side take the lead on the half-hour mark with a Livingstone drop goal. The visitors then hit back in style with some good line out work from Gibbs and Lovell saw Craig Williams force his way over for an unconverted try.
Craig Williams Marcus Lovell
The Quins increased the lead just before half time when more good line out work from Gibbs supported by prop Andrew Price put Lovell over wide out. Williams conversion attempt hit an upright. In the second half with the wind behind and a dominant pack the visitors were expected to run out comfortable winners. However the superior fitness of the Tonmawr eight started to tell on the tiring visitors. Craig Williams did stretch the lead with a smart drop goal but Ton swept back in storming style and it was inevitable that a try was scored when alert full back Dai Morgan capitalised on good mauling. Although tiring rapidly the Quins found some reserves of stamina. Skipper Paul Miller lead his team with typically vigorous drives with great support from Singleton Hunt and Rob Jones. Neat work from Richard Thomas fed Williams and the fly half stunned the home team with a forty-metre drop goal. This affected the home side badly and in the final ten minutes Jamie Morgan, Lovell and Neil Pugsley split the defence but were denied At the final whistle the Quins well deserved the taking of the Tonmawr ground record.
Saturday April 12th (Home)
Aberavon Harlequins 36 Glynneath 7
The Quins returned to winning ways with a blistering first half performance which shattered the visitors. Scoring opportunities came thick and fast in the opening quarter with prop, Andrew Price and centre, Richard Thomas held up on the line. For all their endeavour however their only reward was a Craig Williams penalty. It was Williams who created the first try with a deft pass to Neil Pugsley who found support from flanker, Richard Wanklin who put full back Peter Thomas over beneath the posts. Williams converted. The power exerted in the scrums by the Quins eight proved too much to handle for the Neath valley side. This allied to some good line out work from Rob Jones and Marcus Lovell gave the home side the lions share of the ball. From a five-yard scrum the Quins pack drove Glynneath off their own ball and Wanklin secured the touchdown to put the home side fifteen points up. The Quins then extended the lead in spectacular style when the pack once again shunted the Glynneath pack off their own ball and the superb Wanklin combined with No. 8 Rice and moved the ball seventy metres to put Craig Williams over for a try that he converted. Rice had a hand in the next score when he broke from the scrum to take a pass from scrum half Richard Morgan who put veteran winger Jamie Lean over in the corner. Williams converted from the touchline to make it 29-0 at the break.
The second half substitutions brought about a change in fortunes for Glynneath. Their scrum became more solid and gave the opportunity for some enterprising back play. Their defence stood firm until the last quarter when Pugsley took advantage of some tired cover defence to waltz over. Peter Thomas converted magnificently from the touchline whilst Williams nursed an injury. The best individual score of the day came from the visitors when fly half Richard Carter mesmerised the Quins defence with a weaving run from half way to score a memorable try. Simon Knoyle converted with the last kick of the game. Richard Wanklin was presented with the sponsor’s man of the match trophy for a truly barnstorming display.