WITH the pitch in pristine condition, Aber started the game full of purpose and intent and were 14 points to nil up after 10 minutes.
The first try was a beauty with a wrap-around move by influential outside half Mathew Hughes, freeing up Adam Carvell to run strongly for the corner. As the cover defence came across, he passed inside to the ever supporting flanker Paul Stubbs, who crossed for the first try.
This was converted by Llyr Thomas. Loughor then missed a penalty attempt when Aber were penalised for not rolling away from the tackle area.
The next score for Aber was even better than the first when Mathew Hughes made a searing break from open play and passed inside to Gruff Jones to score a class try. This was also converted by Llyr Thomas to make the score 14 – 0 after only 10 minutes.
If the first period of the half had been dominated by Aber and Mathew Hughes in particular, the next period was dominated by Loughor scrum half Tom Davies, who scored two tries and converted them both to make the half time score 14 – 14.
His first try came when Loughor worked their winger free down the right. Some excellent cover defence tackled him just short of the line and, after some disciplined close drives, scrum half Davies forced his way over. He also converted it to make the score 14 – 7.
During this period, Aber were handing the initiative to Loughor with the concession of petty penalties and bouts of indiscipline which did nothing to help their cause.
Davies’ second try, which was very similar to his first, came after he made a fine break was tackled short and after a couple of drives by the pack was on hand to score his second which he converted to make the score 14-14.
Aber dominated the next period of play with Mathew Hughes making another fine break and a great off-load the cover defence nullified the attack and cleared their lines. Aber’s scrum was by now becoming more dominant and from one they were surprisingly penalised.
The kickable penalty was missed, which was to prove crucial by the end of the game. Dan Binks, who had a storming game, then stole the ball from a Loughor maul but the attack was repelled and the score stayed at 14 – 14 at half time.
The feeling was that Aber, after a very good opening period, had become sloppy and ill-disciplined in giving away far too many penalties and that Loughor had grabbed the initiative. Aber had to play with more purpose and discipline if they were to prevail.
Aber’s scrum in the second half got stronger and stronger with front row Matt Roberts, Carwyn Thomas and newcomer Kevin Jones well to the fore.
They took the ball against the head on a number of occasions and from one Loughor scrum, under intense pressure, the ball popped out and the ever alert Paul Stubbs pounced on it to score his second try. This went unconverted to make the score 19 – 14.
Loughor, to their credit, came back strongly and after a series of disciplined drives by the forwards, the ball was released to the backs and their right winger scored in the corner.
The try was magnificently converted from the touch-line by scrum half Davies to give Loughor a narrow two point lead.
Aber responded positively to this set back and took the game to Loughor, who were penalised for not rolling away from the tackle area 8m inside their own half. Up stepped Llyr Thomas, who coolly slotted a magnificent penalty to effectively win the game for Aber 22-21.
For the next period of the game, Aber penned Loughor in their half with some probing kicks deep into the Loughor half.
They had numerous attacks trying to secure a four try bonus point but these were dealt with efficiently by the Loughor defence and indeed came back strongly themselves and Aber had to defend heroically to win the game.
Bryn Shepherd deservedly won the Man of the Match award for his willingness to support runners and his appetite for carrying the ball in attack.