HAVERFORDWEST had to settle for a losing bonus point against a determined Aberystwyth side who set off out the traps quickly in the first half.
In a one sided first half, Aberystwyth were the strongest and rushed off to a 20-3 lead, as Rhodri Richards and Gethin Rees both crossed the whitewash as Jason Rees added the extras along with two penalties.
It was after Aberystwyth went 20 point ahead that the Blues began to play, and their first points came from the boot of Steve Williams, as he struck a penalty.
After the break, Haverfordwest pushed the tempo and looked the stronger of the two sides, as Scott James sped over for an unconverted try. This was followed by John Mason, who powered his way over for another unconverted try.
Haverfordwest looked to close the gap even more, but some strong defensive play from Aber kept the Blues at bay, restricting the home side to just a losing bonus point.
Aber too good for Pembroke in KO Cup final
ABERYSTWYTH proved too strong for Pembroke in the Pembs KO Cup Final on Wednesday (May 23), as they won by 44 points to 21 in St Davids.
A good crowd gathered to watch the game between the League 1 mid-Wales side and the League 2 bound Pembroke on what was a glorious evening.
Pembroke’s Tom Harding-Jones made an early break before he was stopped and Aber were able to win the ball back.
Aber pressed but a loose pass saw the ball go into touch. Pembroke’s lineout was taken by Aber who then won a penalty and an early chance to take the lead but Steffan Rees sent the penalty wide.
It wasn’t long before Aber were in front however as with eight minutes gone, Carwyn Evans received the ball in space and he ran over to score a try under the posts. Rees then added the extra two points.
Five minutes later Aber increased their lead as Llyr Thomas faked a pass before stretching over to touch the ball down despite the best attentions of Dom Colman and Billy Wood. The conversion went wide and Aber led 12-0.
With twenty minutes gone Pembroke were back in the game as Colman found Harding-Jones who cut inside before touching down. Toby Smith then added the extras to make it 12-7.
On the half hour mark Pembroke had a lineout but they missed the ball and Aber collected. They then won a penalty in front of the posts which Rees scored to extend Aber’s lead again.
With half time looming, Aber came forward and Rees passed to Owen Bonsall who dived over in the corner. Rees then added the extras and Aber held a commanding 22-7 lead at the break.
It was Aber who started the second half the better and a scrum saw them win another penalty which they kicked to touch. The ball was worked out right to Matthew Hughes who shrugged off the tackles to score under the posts and Rees added the extras for a 29-7 lead.
Pembroke then looked to get back into the game and came close but lost the ball at a key moment.
Moments later they scored their second try following an excellent move involving James Davies who found Harding-Jones who set off on another mazy run and he then found Fraser James who offloaded to Tom Lewis to touch down. Smith then added the extras to make it 29-14.
Rees then increased Aber’s lead a minute later as he sent a penalty through the posts.
The Scarlets came again and a high tackle again allowed them to kick into touch. They worked the ball to the left for Harding-Jones who found Luke Hartland who cut back inside before reaching over to score. Smith added the extras and at 32-21 with over ten minutes to play, Pembroke could sense another comeback.
However, they were unable to score again as they gave the ball away at key times and they were made to pay for those errors.
Aber’s Evans then went over for his second try of the match with ten minutes to go and he touched down under the posts to give Rees an easy conversion.
With four minutes to go Aber set the seal on their KO Cup victory with another try as Hughes scored his second try of the game and the conversion went wide.
Pembroke never gave up and looked for a late score but Aber defended well to keep them out and the final whistle brought an end to the game.
After the game, both captains thanked each other for a great game and Aber’s Arwel Lloyd was judged the man of the match before Aber celebrated their victory by lifting the KO Cup.
Ceredigion miss out in Wynne Lloyd Cup Final
THE Wynne Lloyd Inter-District Youth Cup Final went the way of Pembrokeshire who beat Ceredigion 36-28 in a thrilling game at Parc Y Scarlets on Sunday (May 20).
It was first blood to Pembrokeshire who scored the opening try of the game through Jack Tucker but the conversion was wide.
Ceredigion then answered back as Iestyn Evans scored the try before Dylan Morgan added the extras to put Ceredigion 7-5 ahead.
The action was back and forth and Pembrokeshire soon went back ahead as Gino Setaro (Whitland) scored and Dan Evans added the extra two points.
Pembrokeshire began to pull away as Jack Broadhurst (Narberth) scored their third try of the game with the conversion going in off the post from Evans.
Geraint Powell (Narberth) then increased Pembrokeshire’s lead with Evans again sending the conversion through the posts to give his side a 26-7 half time lead.
Ceredigion fought back at the beginning of the second half as Iwan Bowden scored the try and Dylan Morgan added the extras.
Morgan then scored a try of his own and converted to bring Ceredigion back to within five points with the score at 26-21.
They then took the lead as Dylan Davies scored the try that brought them level and Dylan Evans then added the extra two points giving Ceredigion a 28-26 lead.
Whitland’s Dan Evans put the Pembrokeshire side back ahead with a penalty from 40 metres out and they led by a single point with time running out.
As Ceredigion pushed for a late try that would have seen them claim victory, it was Pembrokeshire who got the final score of the game as Prop Cole Barry (Haverfordwest), who had been on the field for eighty minutes, went over for the try and Evans put the seal on the victory with another conversion.
Nigel Owens was the man in the middle for the game and afterwards he Tweeted: “A pleasure to referee Ceredigion Yth 28 v Pembrokeshire Yth 36. Top quality game of rugby with some class players on both sides. Well done all, a credit to rugby.”
Also running the line were Pembrokeshire’s Thomas Carew and Ross Grieve.
Tom told the Herald: “It was such a surreal experience. Being a referee was something that I’ve always wanted to do, even from a young age. To be involved in the game on Sunday was a dream come true and I cherished every moment of it.
“Nigel Owens has always been like a hero to me, I can’t remember a time where he wasn’t. I’ve always looked up to him and aspired to do what he does week in week out. What he has achieved makes him a superb role model for not only referees but for everyone.
“So to have the chance to not only meet him but to also run the line for him was an experience that I never would have expected to happen to me. Sunday will be a day that I won’t forget in a long time!”
Ceredigion Coach Justin Lloyd said: “It was a great occasion to be a part of for Ceredigion as we’ve only been set up for a few years and we’ve done really well to get to the final.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game against a strong Pembrokeshire side but I am super proud of the performance.
“Any neutrals who were watching the game would have seen a game played in Scarlets style. Both teams weren’t afraid to take any risks.”
Pembrokeshire coach Kenny Davies added: “It was a hell of a game of rugby and a great advert for west Wales rugby. Playing at Parc Y Scarlets with Nigel Owens being the referee made it an excellrnt occasion for all involved.
“We started the game well and were leading 26-7 at half time but they came back into it to lead. We then had a 40metre penalty from Whitland’s Dan Evans and we finished strongly to win it.
“Thanks to everyone involved and I hope the players got a lot out of it”.
Photos provided by Darren Harries.
Commoners and Aber lead the way
AFTER two rounds of the West Wales Cricket Conference, Aberystwyth and UWA Commoners lead the way with two wins from as many games.
On Sunday, May 13, Aberystwyth University Commoners took on Tywyn and District and came away with a comprehensive nine-wicket victory.
The Commoners won the toss and invited Tywyn to bat first but after a quick start, they lost opener Callum Taylor (16; four fours) when he was caught by Abhisek Somani off the bowling of Umar Aslam.
Jack Morris hit three fours in a score of 15 before he was caught by Devon Simons off the bowling of Dave Wilcockson and Sam Williams was then bowled by Aslam for a duck.
Richard Rees hit five fours in a knock of 37 but he was then caught by Wilcockson off the bowling of Bill Somerfield as he failed to go on and reach a half century.
Jacu Oosthuizn was also unlucky to miss out on a half century as he hit five fours and a six in a knock of 47 before he was caught by Somani off the bowling of Guy Baron.
Baron also had Sam Morris caught by Somani for a score of 15 and he later returned to remove Ed Hughes for a duck and bowl Ellis Melia to pick up personal figures of 4-35.
That meant that the visitors were all out for 158 and they faced a tough task of defending their total.
The Commoners got off to a flying start in their reply Neil Stent and Rakesh Bhatia put on over 100 runs for the first wicket.
Stent hit three fours in a knock of 30 before he was caught by Richard Rees off the bowling of Dave Jenkins.
Will Copeland hit three late fours in a knock of 14 not out but Bhatia was the star of the show as he hit twenty fours in his excellent unbeaten century knock of 106.
The win gives the Commoners six points which brings them level on points with Aberystwyth who beat Talybont by four wickets on Saturday (May 12).
Aber won the toss and elected to field and they took the early wickets of Matthew Novak, lbw to Zaid Khan and Vinod Matthew as he was caught by Mark Evans.
However scores of 27 from Dave Barrow and 68 from Ben Harper put Talybont back in a good position. Unfortunately for Talybont both were run out by Khan and Ceri John.
Ted Trewella removed Grayson John for a score of 6 when he was caught by Steffan Davies and Phil Abraham was soon following him back to the pavilion when he was caught by Evans off the bowling of Titus Mathew for a duck.
Tibby Joseph made a late knock of 31 before he was trapped leg before by Mark Evans who then also removed Nick Matthews and Sojan Varghese for ducks.
That meant that Aber would need to chase 176 for victory but they lost opener Nigel Salmon early in their reply when he was caught by Varghese off the bowling of Phil Abraham.
Ted Trewella and and Ceri John showed some good form in knocks of 30 and 18 respectively as they got their side going.
John was caught by Tibby Joseph off the bowling of Abraham while Trewella was bowled by Grayson John.
Talybobnt looked to pick up more wickets but they were unable to remove Mark Evans who reached a half century to put Aber in control.
He hit ten fours and three sixes in a knock of 84 before he was eventually caught by John off the bowling of Abraham.
Zaid Khan finished not out on 33 (two fours) as he guided Aber to a six-point win.
The weekend’s other game between Aberaeron and Aberystwyth Seconds was cancelled as the seconds conceded the game.
On Saturday (May 19), first plays third as Aberystwyth travel to Aberaeron.
On Sunday (May 20), Aberystwyth Seconds face UWA Commoners while Tywyn & District host Talybont.
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