South Wales Echo
Third time lucky as Wizards find the winning potion
IT was third time lucky for Aberavon as they conjured up a magic spell to race into a 21 point lead before htting back to win the game at the death at The Wern.
Llandovery had beaten Aberavon twice in the Premiership Cup West Conference before Christmas, 24-18 and 27-21, but it was the Wizards who made their way to the WRU Premier Cup final at the Principality Stadium to face Newport on April 24.
It will give them another chance to lay their hands on a cup that has eluded the famous old club ever since the competition started in 1971.
Bridesmaids in 1974, 1975 and 2011, Jason Hyatt’s men will now be aiming to become the 13th club to win the title.
It was a game that was on a knife edge at the end, Llandovery coming back from 21-0 down to take the lead 23-21, only to let Aberavon off the hook in the last ten minutes when they refused two kicks at goal in search of a try. On neutral Merthyr’s 4G pitch, play was predictably fast and furious in a rousing semi-final.
The early pressure was all on the Drovers and Aberavon took the lead when they attacked from deep to put wing Stef Andrews racing away and his kick ahead was swooped on by full-back Jon Phillips, who crossed from a pass wide out. Outside-half Aled Thomas converted and the Wizards
nearly got their second try when Phillips spilled a golden opportunity.
A yellow card for Jones for a deliberate knock-on made things worse for Llandovery, who went further behind when conceding a penalty try at a scrum.
Centre Will Price then swerved through the middle for a solo try, converted by Thomas, but Llandovery scrum-half Lee Rees brought much relief by sniping through from close range for a try converted by full-back Tomi Lewis.
The Llandovery revival continued when Lewis himself slipped tackles to cross wide out and leave the score 21-12 in Aberavon’s favour.
A Jones penalty inched Llandovery closer, and things got better when a charging run from replacement hooker Craig Thomas gave Rees the chance to sprint home from 30 metres.
The wind was in Llandovery’s sails, only for Jones to miss a 30-metre penalty, but he soon made amends from 25 metres and a 23-21 lead. The lead lasted two minutes, replacement fly-half Dan Edwards kicking a goal from 45 metres.
In a grandstand finish Llandovery refused two kicks at goal in search of the try, and with the final kick of the game Jones missed a difficult penalty to let an exhausted Aberavon off the hook.
LLANDOVERY: Tries: L Rees (2), T Lewis. Con: T Lewis. Pens: K Jones (2). ABERAVON: Tries: J Phillips, penalty try, W Price. Cons: A Thomas (2). Pen: D Edwards.