Although played in quagmire conditions both teams produced a gripping game with the Pitmen controlling early exchanges through their bigger pack. Aberavon Quins were forced to defend for long periods although most of the action took place between the 22 m lines. The visitors were unfortunate to lose all action flanker, Adam Dawe in the opening minutes but replacement Matthew Saker put in an eye-catching performance. The Maesteg Quins initiated many attacks through backs and forwards and the visitors were often on the back foot. Two tackles by winger Rory Hinchcliffe helped stem the tide but he had no chance to stop a perfectly judged kick to the corner by Bradley dropped into the hands of Geraint Evans for a deserved score, converted by Keri Watkins.
The heavyweight home eight continued to dominate the scrums and things looked bad for the visitors as a penalty try was awarded from a 5m scrum, which Watkins converted.
The Aberavon Quins combination of scrum half Nathan Flynn and Conor O’Callaghan and strong running from centre Gareth Pugh gave the visiting support something to cheer and up front the line out play of Callum Beynon and no nonsense approach by Dale Bowen and Craig Cox raised hopes.
The second half started disastrously for Aberavon Quins as from the kick-off the home forwards swept up-field with some spectacular off-loads ending in a try for hooker Jay Ronan which would be a candidate for try of the season at any level.
The visitors continued to battle but the underfoot conditions were not helpful to their running game.
In the last quarter the heavyweight Maesteg pack’s effort waned a little and fleet footed full back Foard Cooksley took advantage of wayward kicking to launch some attacks. Fly half Ryan Pugh, who defended well throughout, also took up the challenge and strong running winger Jordan Condon made ground whenever in possession. Great forward drives from Bowen, Dan Morgan and Tyler Hopkins took play deep into home territory and a smart pass from Flynn allowed prop Dan Helson to run a great angle to score a try that went unconverted.
Cooksley was full of running from full back and Dacey and Condon combined to take play close and as the visiting pack rumbled on it was centre Gareth Pugh crashed over for a try that Ryan Pugh did well to convert. With three tries under their belt and things very tight at the top of the division it was strange that Maesteg Quins in the closing minutes opted for two penalty shots at goal when lines-out close in might have gave them a bonus point try. The kicks failed and the visitors went away with a losing bonus point but slipped to fifth position in the league, three points behind leaders, Bridgend Athletic.
Photo By Vance Broad
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