Ford adds bonus for Cardiff

Rugby Union Aberavon 13 Cardiff 41

Rugby Union

STEVE BALE

Aberavon 13 Cardiff 41

Bonus points for tries may be a farce and even an incitement to dishonesty but they are keeping the Welsh season alive to its long-drawn-out end. A full house of five points - two for yesterday's win and three for seven tries - took Cardiff into third place behind Neath and Pontypridd.

Though the defending champions are still seven points behind the leaders they have two games in hand, leaving their fortunes essentially in their own hands. Nowadays in Wales simple victory is simply not enough nor, as Aberavon would attest, is simple defeat. A third try here would have given them one precious point.

The Wizards, as they are sometimes known, have conjured few enough, eight to be precise, and they are last in the First Division. If we are to believe one entirely mischievous suggestion, when they play the penultimately placed Abertillery on 20 April there would be every incentive to allow each other to score seven tries in the first half and then battle for the win in the second.

It is less far-fetched than it seems but anyway it is quite complicated enough trying to work out the computations at the top without worrying about the bottom as well. This will run and run; rearranged fixtures will bring Pontypridd up against both Cardiff and Neath in the first half of May.

Eventually Cardiff won easily enough but, in praise of Aberavon, they have obtained bonus points from far inferior performances this season and Cardiff made such heavy weather - in heavy weather - of achieving superiority that by half-time Jonathan Humphreys was their only try-scorer.

In the second half Aberavon managed tries by Phil Wintle and Richard Diplock, but by this time the game was beyond them. Steve Ford went on to score three for Cardiff, the third his 19th in the league and therefore only one short of the season's record jointly held by Ieuan Evans and Wayne Proctor. Yesterday's others came from Andrew Booth, Owain Williams and Adrian Davies, the latter no longer even pretending he is not about to sign for Richmond.

Ford is only 12 away from the Cardiff record of 185 held by Bleddyn Williams - though the significance of rugby history is being eroded by professionalism and the importance of league rugby. Cardiff revealed their priority by starting with only two of those who faced the Barbarians on Saturday - formerly the prestige fixture of their season.

Aberavon: Tries Wintle, Diplock; Penalty Watts. Cardiff: Tries Ford 3, Humphreys, A Booth, A Davies, Williams; Conversions A Davies 3.

Aberavon: R Diplock; B Grabham, C Laity (H Merrett, 78), J Jardine, P Wintle (G Williams, 64); M Watts (capt), G Baber; D Austin (A Bevan, 72), J Hughes, R Jasper, P Clapham, S Thomas, A Miers (R Morris, 45), G Evans, C Kinsey.

Cardiff: M Rayer; S Ford, M Hall, J Davies, S Hill; A Davies, A Booth; M Griffiths (P Booth, 60), J Humphreys (P Young, 72), L Mustoe, J Wakeford, D Jones, C Mills (E Lewis, 72), O Williams, H Taylor (capt).

Referee: C Thomas (Neath) replaced by H Banfield (Gorseinon), 19.

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