Aberavon Fighting Irish survived a late three-try flourish from Torfaen Tigers to consolidate their second place position in the Total RL.com Welsh Rugby League Conference.
The visitors took the lead in the fifth minute through a Lloyd Burns try only for Aberavon's Richard Morris to equalise five minutes later.
Torfaen regained the lead with two scores in the next five minutes, first with a Matt Penney field goal, then a Craig Jones try. But Aberavon hit back three minutes later as Gary Vaughan pounced on a Torfaen knock-on to run the length of the field before passing to Gary Vaughan who touched down. Liam Gadd converted to give Aberavon a 10-9 lead.
Torfaen's Jason Hill was sinbinned for fighting just two minutes later. Aberavon took advantage of the extra man during the next ten minutes to score twice. First David Felton wriggled over the line then three minutes later Gadd also grounded. Gadd converted both to give the hosts a 22-9 half-time lead.
Torfaen struck after 49 minutes when Jones scored his second try, but they were unable to build on this as they were thwarted by the tight Irish defence.
Turning defence into attack, the Irish scored twice in five minutes. First on 65 minutes, Ceri Thomas burst through the defence, then on 69, Gadd pounced on his own chip past the Tigers defence to make the score 34-13.
However Torfaen refused to lie down and fought their way back with three tries in the last nine minutes as Damien Smith, Jason Hill and Steffan Jones all grounded. With Penney converting all three, Aberavon scraped home 34-31.
Newport Titans pulled three points ahead of Torfaen in third place with an easy 52-18 win over Valley Cougars. Neil McKim, fresh from his Welsh appearance last week, led the way with four tries, Dan Nelmes grounded three and Ross Palmer two. Earl Palmer, Craig Drew and Julian Short also went over for the Titans.
Valley Cougars player-coach, Mark Rowley led by example and scored 12 of their 18 points, converting two of his own tries. Stewart Williams, with a try and goal, scored the rest.
For the third successive week, Cardiff Demons lost out in a game they led at half time thanks to a second half rally from the Swansea Valley Miners. Swansea took an early lead as Anthony Evans ran in to score from 50 metres. Cardiff hit back through Idris Evans only for Ashley Carter to reply with a short-range try. Gareth Jones jinked in to put the Demons into the lead for the first time and Dave Roberson made a powerful run to put Cardiff 18-10 up at half-time.
Anthony Evans broke down the right wing for his second early in the second period but Gareth Jones restored the Demons advantage. However, Christian Roetes, Dylan Griffith and Gareth James all grounded to give the Miners a 32-24 lead.
Cardiff�s player-coach, Wayne Williams finally broke through for a fine try on 77 minutes but it was too little too late as the Miners leapfrogged the Demons into fifth place.
Next Saturday�s games are all four-pointers. Bridgend Blue Bulls, who last played on Wednesday, will qualify for the Welsh Grand Final if they beat Aberavon at Maesteg RFC. There�s a crucial Gwent derby at Pontypool RFC where Newport can seal third place if they beat Torfaen while Swansea can seal fifth place and a home tie in the Shield play-offs if they beat Valley Cougars at Sardis Road. All games kick-off at 2.30pm.
Aberavon 34 d. Torfaen 31
Newport 52 d. V.Cougars 18
Swansea 32 d. Cardiff 30