Rugby Union: Thorburn prevents second upset

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Abercynon. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

Neath. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19

KEITH JAMES, the Abercynon coach, did not know whether to laugh or cry at the end of the fifth round of the Swalec Cup.

Rightly full of pride following his side's narrow defeat by Neath, he also realised that one of the biggest upsets in the history of the cup had been well within the grasp of the Third Division leaders.

Yet amid those dreams of what might have been, especially given his goalkicker's five missed penalties and a conversion, came some unlikely relief in the shape of a shock defeat for Newport, one of his former clubs.

Their 10-9 reverse at Ystradgynlais, serious rivals to Abercynon for the Third Divison title, was the shock of the round and went a long way to dulling the memory for James and the rest of those Newport players involved in the infamous 4-0 defeat at Penclawdd in 1980.

It was easy to see why Abercynon have already reached a half-century of tries in only 13 league outings, and have a reputation for their back-line adventure. It almost proved the undoing of Neath.

That they were able to survive for today's sixth-round draw was mainly because of Paul Thorburn. Rock-like in defence, he was his usual consistent self in the goal- kicking stakes, landing four penalties and a conversion.

Abercynon: Tries Keepings 2; Conversion Williams. Neath: Try penalty try; Conversion Thorburn; Penalties Thorburn 4.

Abertcynon: R Savage; A Keepings, P Jones, R Morgan, D Kathrens; P Williams, G Thomas; J Pardoe, L Phillips, S Reardon, N Lewis, A Haines (capt), P Cummings, N Edwards, D Pardoe.

Neath: P Thorburn; R Reese, S Crandon, A Shaw, J Reynolds; M McCarthy, R Jones; Brian Williams, Barrie Williams, J Davies, Glyn Llewllen, Gareth Llewllyn (capt) M Morris, S Williams, A Varney

Referee: C Jones (Newport)