4:22pm Sunday 2nd March 2014
A tremendous game, played at 100 miles an hour saw thrill after thrill in the best match played at the Talbot Athletic Ground this season.
It went down to the last minute when Cross Keys lock Scott Andrews drove over the home line but Dorian Jones missed the vital conversion.
It would be hard to criticise Jones as again he looked a complete footballer and was splendid in attack and defence.
But the stretchering off of centre Phil Williams after 33 minutes and a reorganisation in 48 minutes when Nathan Williams was withdrawn saw Jones go back to full back.
Williams was knocked unconscious and found to have broken his collar bone while making a tackle.
Keys and Aberavon are two clubs with admiration for one another and Keys coach Greg Woods, always a popular figure, made himself even more popular with the Wizards for the sporting way he took the defeat.
“It was hell of a game and we took two bonus points,” said the sporting Woods. “Both sides wanted to play and our endeavour was excellent.”
Aberavon coach Jason Hyatt said “It was probably the best Premiership game I have ever seen."
Keys opened with a bang as a quick turnover saw wing James Cordy-Redden race over for a try.
Jones added a penalty and though Ceiron Thomas replied with one, Cordy-Redden took a wonderful Jones pass to go in again.
The wing had his best game in a Keys shirt and fellow wing Elliot Jones was also superb, making a great try-saving tackle on Richard Carter.
But, Aberavon hauled their way back from 3-16 to lead 27-16 after 51 minutes yet Keys were far from beaten.
After a splendid tackle by Phil Sargent, Keys drove back and Dorian Jones, now at full back sent Elliot Jones over but Angus O’Brien missed the conversion after two attempts.
In injury time Keys drove for the line and Andrews went over but the attempted conversion by Jones missed as both sets of supporters bit their nails.
Aberavon– J Phillips; R Carter, M Jenkins (W Price 66), R James, S Andrews (J Davies 74); C Thomas, C Morgans (D Pritchard 59); R Jenkins (N White 65), I Davies, A Clatworthy, G Ronan, I Moore (capt), B Thomas, T Duncan, C Davies (J Bija 69).
Tries: J Phillips 2, T Duncan. Cons: C Thomas 3. Pens: C Thomas 2.
Cross Keys – R Lee; J Cordy-Redden, N Williams (A O’Brien 48), P Williams (A James 33), E Jones; D Jones, R Dyer; R Cornock (L Garrett 59), D Hughes (H Palmer 47), A Lott, D Hodge (O Hodge 59), S Andrews, T Lampard (J Perkins 59), A Powell (capt), P Sargent.
Tries: J Cordy-Redden 2, E Jones, S Andrews. Pens: D Jones 2.
Referee – Craig Evans (Glynneath).
Cross Keys Player of the Match – James Cordy-Redden.
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