Neath came good during the second half to register victory over the WRU President's XV in a special match at The Gnoll to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Union. The game commemorated the formation of the WRU at the Castle Hotel at Neath, on March 12, 1881, and it formed the highpoint of March celebrations in the town.
The Blacks, who lasted the pace better, took the spoils on a 5-1 try-count with No.8 Hywel Jenkins and prop Alun Wyn Davies both forming powerful presences. But Keith Rowlands's invitation side gave it their best shot, and adjudicator Allan Bateman handed his man-of-the-match award to Maesteg colleague Ian Boobyer.
The opening exchanges were evenly contested, and it wasn't until the 28th minute that the deadlock was broken. A rumble among the Neath forwards led to prop Andrew Howell, and lock Steve Martin setting up a try at the posts for scrum-half Gareth James.
Ospreys fly-half Matthew Jones converted, and soon after move driving from the home forwards almost yielded another try. But in the 37th minute, the President's team levelled after wing Ifan Evans was instrumental in forcing a scrum five.
It resulted in fly-half Arwel Thomas kicking ahead and fashioning a try for centre Phil Dolman that he also improved on, making it 7-7 at the break. But five minutes into the second half, the driving play of hooker Andrew Littlehales was instrumental in setting up an overlap try for No.8 Hywel Jenkins.
Fly-half Arwel Thomas, who switched to the Neath side during the second period, then had a try ruled out on the hour. But three minutes later, a powerful Neath scrum yielded a try for replacement No.8 Dan McShane with Arwel Thomas adding the extras.
The biggest cheer of the afternoon was reserved in the 73rd minute for 40-year-old prop Andrew Howell, who raced 20 metres for a fine try. And right on time the Blacks completed the scoring with slick hands releasing replacement flanker Simon Pengelly for a try with Thomas adding a third conversion.
NEATH: G Morris (Arwel Thomas 57 mins); S Thomas, A Bevan, J Spratt, R Johnston; M Jones (G Roberts 62), G James (P Horgan 62); A W Davies, A Littlehales (G Price 68), A Howell, M Morgan, S Martin (capt), B Davies (R Geriat 62), H Jenkins (D McShane 48), J Davies (S Pengelly 48)
Scorers: Tries - G James, H Jenkins, D McShane, A Howell, S Pengelly; Cons - A Thomas (3), M Jones
WRU PRESIDENT'S XV: G King (Carm Quins, repl G Evans 62); I Evans (Llandovery), P Dolman (Bedwas), G Evans (Llanelli, repl S Williams 40), N Jones (Swansea); A Thomas (Neath, repl G Knox 40), R Harries (Merthyr, repl P Williams 62); J Price (Cross Keys, repl J Hughes 40), I Dobbs (Bridgend, repl H Davies 68), A Edwards (Aberavon, repl J Price 57), E Evans (Carm Quins), N Watkins (Newport, repl M Jones 68), I Boobyer (Maesteg - capt), N Strong (Pontypridd), P Williams (Newport, repl D Jones 57).
Clubs of replacements: H Davies (Llandeilo), D Jones (Lampeter), P Williams (Brecon), S Williams (Pontypool), J Hughes (Llanelli), G Knox, M Jones (both Aberavon)
Scorer: Try - P Dolman; Con - P Dolman
Referee: Timothy Hayes (Carmarthen)