Romp shows up farcical points system

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The Independent Online
ROBERT COLE

Cardiff 95 Abertillery 25

Cardiff quickly exorcised their cup quarter-final defeat at Llanelli by equalling the Heineken League points record in Saturday's merry, one- sided encounter.

Their 95 points matched the league best set by Swansea against Cross Keys in 1993 and their 15 tries matched the number scored by the All Whites in that game and also by Llanelli against South Wales Police.

In fact, had Steve Ford not missed with a conversion attempt in front of the posts after running in his fifth try the record would have gone to the Arms Park club.

Ford's latest try haul took his overall tally for the club to 180 and left him a mere five short of the record held since the 1950s by the legendary Bleddyn Williams.

"It was nice to score and, having been left out of the side for the cup tie, I did want to get back on the scoresheet as often as possible," Ford said.

"There were some harsh words spoken after we lost at Llanelli and the league is the only thing left for us to aim for this season.

"We reached the final of the Heineken European Cup, the quarter finals of the Swalec Cup and now we are third in the First Division table.

"We really need to win some silverware this season and I think this game will have focused the minds of the players back on to the league campaign."

There were eight tries in the first half and a dozen after the break as both sides ran the ball from everywhere. Victory moved Cardiff from fifth to third in the table, although they have a game in hand over both Pontypridd and Neath above them.

For Abertillery there was the consolation of taking two bonus points. They could be vital in their battle for survival, but they highlighted the farcical nature of the system.

Two weeks earlier Ebbw Vale had played out of their skin at the Arms Park, deserved to win, yet lost 16-15 to a last minute try. They got no points, but their Gwent neighbours Abertillery grabbed two while conceding 15 tries.

It has been a strange and unpredictable season in every sense. The bonus system, which is expected to be thrown out next season, means there will be no early celebrations for anyone chasing titles or hoping to avoid relegation this season.

Cardiff: Tries Ford 5, Hall 2, G Jones 2, Lewis, A Davies, Williams, Stewart, Hill, C John; Conversions Rayer 7, S Ford, Booth, Williams. Abertillery: Tries Connor 2, Picton, Corlett, Williams.

Cardiff: M Rayer; S Ford, M Hall (C John, 66), G Jones, S Hill; A Davies, A Booth; A Lewis (M Griffiths, 54), P Young, L Mustoe, J Wakeford, K Stewart, C Mills, H Taylor (capt, V Davies, 63), O Williams.

Abertillery: M Williams; A Price, K Price, B Corlett, A Richards; S Connor, D Wright; D Jones (R McCorduck, 69), C Milkins (D Caswell, 40), B Cripps (N Prest, 25), G Gladwyn, R Gladwyn, D Duly, M Picton, L Phillips (capt, J Powell, 48).

Referee: G Simmonds (Cardiff).

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