Due to WRU cup commitments seeing Aberavon RFC having to postpone their game against Aberavon Green Stars last Friday to celebrate their 125th season, Neath RFC magnanimously agreed to step in on the eve of international fixture.
In wintry conditions at their Little Warren ground, the Division 3 South West side played their hearts out against the Premiership All Blacks, and neither side had scored with just five minutes remaining of the first half.
Then, a defensive error allowed Neath winger Bowdy Davies to take the ball at ankle level to cross for their first try. Just before the referee blew for half time, prop Lloyd Phillips crashed over for their second try. The conversion by outside half Dean Cummings gave them a 0-12 interval lead.
Hooker John Leyshon got their third try soon after the restart with another Cummings conversion. Aberavon Green Stars' tenacity was rewarded after twenty minutes when captain for the day Keiren Mattocks flipped out a neat pass to winger Karl Meyers to score their only try which Mattocks then converted.
In the final quarter, the All Blacks’ Premiership quality and power came to the fore, and tries were scored by winger Kevin James, flanker Leon Ward and Lloyd Phillips with try number two. Dean Cummings put over two more conversions.
The Green Stars squad included a mixture of young and old with Blake Parker and Carl Leyshon both making their debut, while 51 year old John Wellington made his presence felt for the last ten minutes of an entertaining game. Green Stars return to league duties at Bryncoch on February 16th.
Thanks to Bernard Donovan for the report.