Tenby United • 33
Aberystwyth • 7
League 1 West
TENBY welcomed an Aberystwyth team, which boasted the best defensive record having conceded just one try on average in Division 1 West this season, to Heywood Lane last Saturday (Sept 30) and ran out 33-7 winners scoring four tries to secure maximum points in a fully committed performance.
Not having played each other for twelve seasons in a league fixture, home skipper Johnnie Morgan elected for his side to play against the elements in the first period, where heavy rain before kick off and a driving wind off the sea meant the hosts would have to be at their best defensively to keep the ‘Bluebears’ at bay.
Tenby did more than that as they showed a willingness to move the Jewsons sponsored ball through the hands of their back division
The Aberystwyth side relied heavily on keeping the ball close to their pack of forwards although scrum half Gruf Jones was often passing over 20m to the aligned ‘pods’ which restricted the pace and drive which his side required to penetrate the stoic home defence, where young hooker Kyle Hamer and prop Rob Luly stood out alongside the back row of Andrew Cooke, Barry Parsons and number 8 Roy Osborn.
Using the wind, territory was with Aber during the first half with centre Tom Evans creating an opportunity through some strong running for wing Gwern Penri, who spilled the scoring pass with the line beckoning.
The handling error was something the visitors suffered from throughout the game and may have been a reason why they kept the ball tight, although both Jones and his half back partner Llyr Thomas may well reflect on their game management further.
Winger Josh Thomas, playing on permit from Whitland made ground into the home midfield close to the midway point of the first half, combining in midfield with Evans and linking in hooker Owain Bonsall to where a resultant penalty attempt by Thomas was missed.
The opening score of the game came after 22 minutes when Tenby second row Dewi Davies secured lineout ball outside his 22m line, allowing full back Morgan to clear the ball 40m upfield.
The home pack caught opposition full back Casmir Yandell on the halfway line and wrestled possession back to scrum half Matthew Morgan to make 15m as he danced around the periphery of the ensuing ruck.
His pass found the hands of supporting half back partner Ashley Sutton who escaped the clutches of would be tacklers to run in from 30m under the posts and convert his try.
The half continued in the same pattern for Aber as they tried to run ball back from their own half when perhaps some leadership from the half backs to play in the 22m may have reaped rewards; number 8 Lee Evan managed to put Carwyn Evans in space but his hands let him down, as did Penri when he had a 10m clear run to the line for him to spill the crucial pass.
Referee Justin Williams had given both sides every opportunity to play as he used advantage and consistently applied the laws for the teams to know who was in charge and following his whistle to start the second half, with the elements in their favour and leading 7-0 Tenby took advantage straight away from the kick off when Lee Gower spilled Sutton’s restart.
After several phases of play deep in their opponents 22 Sutton pinged a drop goal wide of the posts before a second try was scored through the hands of Yanik Parker.
The winger rounded off a move where Hamer, Clarke created a channel for centre Jack Guerreio to enter at pace and put Parker beyond the last defender although Sutton could add the extras as he pushed the conversion across the posts.
Aber, through Bonsall and Evans had a pack of forwards which had parity with their home counterparts in the loose and at line outs, plus dominating the scrum, where they had considerable advantage to push the home eight backwards.
Not being able to capitalise on this a third Tenby try arrived as they gained possession deep in their own half.
Mathew Morgan took the ball off Parker before centre Moritz Neuman was one on one against Yandell as Full-back Jonny Morgan appeared outside him to create the extra man and score under the posts. Sutton added the conversion for a confident home side to lead 19-0, putting behind them the three defeats they have encountered in a row.
The bonus point came for the now dominant home side, who had stopped another Aber forward drive through Evans, Bonsall and Robbie Parry, returning the ball to the opposition 22.
Second row Williams secured crucial ball and his fellow forwards went through four phases of controlled drives before Osborne burrowed his way over the line for Sutton to again convert.
Aber came back once again through Bonsall who efforts in the loose made him stand out for the visitors, from which the ball was recycled across the line.
Thomas was hauled down just short on the line by Sutton, as Tenby reshuffled their back line all game to let their heavy hitters cover the inside channels and Sutton didn’t let the side down with his tackle.
Tenby were guilty of some handling errors as they made replacements during the final quarter, and from one such misplay Aber had an attacking 5m scrum from which the home eight pushed through once again the home pack, which captain Lee ‘Truck’ Evans picked up at the base of the scrum and touch down for Thomas to drop through the conversion.
The restart for Aber was once again a disaster as prop Jamie Plumbridge and second row Bryn Shepherd lacked communication and the loose ball was thrust into the hands of a marauding Tenby pack.
Establishing a strong attacking platform through several rucks centre Neuman set up the final scoring move with a strong run, where Sutton looped around prop Rob Clarke to the offload the ball to replacement winger Jordan Asparrasa who potted over and Sutton added the coupe de grace to a fine Tenby performance.
Home coach Chris James was jubilant in his post-match analysis ‘as his side stood up to the task’. He said: “We worked hard on our defence game this week in training after some less than brilliant performances which have cost us dearly, but today we were excellent. Johnnie [Morgan] elected to play into the elements on winning the toss and it set us up from the start, with strong tackles and a well organised defence line.
“We worked hard to gain parity against a renowned physical visiting set of forwards and we were able to develop as the second half went on, so much so we dictated much of the final part of the game when the heavens opened.
”Prop Rob Luly epitomised our work rate as he kept his composure in our under pressure scrum whilst also being a stand out performer in the loose, so he will enjoy the steaks provided by Heywoods Butchers as he was deservedly man of the match.”
Tenby head to Llanelli Wanderers tomorrow (Oct 7) in a WRU Plate match against a side they defeated 42-23 on the opening day of the season.
Aber head coach Andrew Barlow acknowledged his side ’didn’t take advantage of the wind in the first half as we tried to run from deep when perhaps we should have played the percentage game more’.
“It hasn’t helped that we have a few injuries in our back line and today we had a back three who not trained together, but no excuses as we were roundly defeated against a side who play good rugby on an outstanding surface, despite the weather,” he said.
Aber pushed hard by Yr Hendy
THIS was considered a must-win game for Aber against Yr Hendy.
The convincing-looking scoreline did not reflect the game but Aber will gladly pocket the win and move on with confidence.
Aber started with a bang when after 2 minutes Carwyn Evans intercepted a Hendy pass in midfield and did well to free his arms to feed Adam Carvell who romped in from halfway to open the scoring.
It wasn’t long before a second try which Steff Rees again converted.
Aber were unlucky not to increase their lead when the referee ruled they failed to ground the ball over the line after a series of forward drives.
Aber opted for a scrum from the resulting penalty and, following a couple of forward drives, Bryn Shepherd forced his way over the line to score wideout.
Aber were denied a fourth first-half try when they were penalised for crossing.
The penalty seemed to inspire Hendy who went on to dominate the next phase of the game and quickly scored two converted tries to get them right back in it.
The first was a penalty try. After a sweeping backs move the visitors’ blindside wing was denied a try illegally.
The second followed after Aber failed to deal with a speculative chip ahead.
Full back Newman pounced on the ball and touched down near the posts for Morris to convert easily.
Ahead at the half but with the opposition breathing down their necks, Aber needed a strong start to the second period.
They began purposefully and quickly got on to the scoreboard to extend their lead. After a strong forward driver, Paul Stubbs emerged to score the try that restored a two-score gap and gained the bonus point.
When Hendy blundered while in possession, Aber’s Steff Rees was the quickest to react and hacked through to win a thrilling foot race from the halfway line to touch down.
Hendy kept plugging away and subjected Aber to a lot of pressure close to their line.
Their pressure reaped its reward after an Aber yellow card when Yr Hendy flanker Gareth Thomas burst over to score a try which Morris converted.
Aber pulled themselves together, particularly in the line-out.
An excellent catch and drive took Aber from the visitors’ 25 to the try line. When Y Hendy infringed to disrupt progress, Aber opted for a scrum and pounded into the visitors’ eight. As Y Hendy’s scrum wheeled and turned they infringed again.
The ref had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try.
That was the final score of the game and Aber ran out 36-21 victors.
Despite the difficult playing conditions, this was an entertaining high-scoring contest from which Aber will be well pleased to emerge victorious.
Next week, Aber make the trip to Parc Lloyd Thomas to face Clwb Rygbi Crymych.
Photo credit Mike Binks
Aber bounce back with victory
AFTER last week’s tough home game against table-topping Newcastle Emlyn, Aberystwyth made the long trip to Llangennech to get their season back on track.
Llangennech have been very hard to beat at home all season and boast as impressive a front eight as any in the division.
Given that the visitors arrived with a depleted squad of only seventeen players; it was more in hope than expectation that Aber made Saturday’s trip.
But in one of the most exciting games, and one of their best performances of the season so far, they snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the dying seconds of this game.
On a fine, dry, still afternoon Aber kicked off and played with the advantage of a slight slope. Llangennech were the more impressive of the two sides early on even though it took them nearly ten minutes to get out of their half. The hosts moved the ball more smoothly and their forwards linked well to threaten Aber’s defence. But the visitors kept them out with determined and effective tackling by backs and forwards.
The visitors broke the deadlock after thirty minutes from a scrum fifteen metres out. A huge shove from the Aber eight gave scrum-half Llyr Thomas plenty of time and space to feed outside half Steffan Rees. He found centre Carwyn Evans storming up outside him to cross for Aber’s opening try. Rees converted and the visitors were 0 – 7 ahead.
Llangennech hit back on the stroke of half-time with several well-supported breaks up the left-wing. Carwyn Evans put in an excellent try-saving tackle but the hosts won the ensuing ruck. Outside half Phillips put in a very accurate cross-field kick for winger Tom Davies to catch and score and for Taylor Phillips to convert to open the hosts’ account.
The half time score at 7 – 7 reflected the pattern of the first half. Both territory and possession had been evenly shared and the exchanges had been very physical.
Aber regained the lead after Llyr Thomas took a quick tap penalty to feed his backs. Dan Binks, lurking at outside centre, ran powerfully but was stopped illegally thirty metres out. Steffan Rees put over the kick and the visitors were back in the lead at 7 – 10.
Aber continued to throw the ball around and both wingers saw plenty of attacking action. Left-wing Adam Carvell made ground with a meandering run upfield and across the field leading to a series of rucks in which Aber retained possession. As they moved nearer and nearer to the hosts’ line Carwyn Evans again burst through for his and Aber’s second try. Rees converted and the lead was stretched to 7 – 17 with twenty minutes left to play.
Llangennech’s response was to up the tempo of their game and put Aber under increasing pressure. This would have been more effective had it not been for fine, relieving kicks from defence by Ian Ellis, Llyr Thomas, and Steffan Rees. But despite Aber’s strong defending the home side finally found a way through for Hopkins to score. Crucially, the try went unconverted and Aber seemed to have done enough at 12 – 17 to seal a win.
Llangennech continued to exert pressure from the kick-off. They gradually made ground against a tiring Aber side for hooker Jenkins to break through some weak tackling from ten metres out. His try was converted by Phillips to put the hosts ahead by 19 – 17 with less than five minutes left to play.
To their great credit, Aber found the energy to launch one last, desperate attack and forced a scrum thirty metres out and, with only a minute of play left, were awarded a penalty. The tension and the importance of the kick put a lot of pressure on kicker Steffan Rees. He struck the ball well; the ball struck a post and, much to Aber’s players and supporters’ delight, went over to clinch a well-earned win for the visitors by 19 – 20.
Aber Youth clinch impressive win
Aberystwyth Youth 40 – Crymych Youth 15
AFTER their fine win against previously unbeaten, top-of-the-table Pembroke two weeks ago, Aber continued their run of excellent performances by beating Crymych at Plascrug on Saturday. This victory lifts them to joint second in the Pembrokeshire League, within striking distance of topping the table after this impressive win.
On a bright, sunny, but bitterly cold afternoon Aber fielded a side that had several players playing out of position. They were further disadvantaged by having to play uncontested scrums as Crymych were unable to field a full front row.
Aber kicked off towards the clubhouse with a strong wind behind them but took time to settle down. Crymych, on the other hand, played skilful, confident rugby right from the outset. Their backs, in particular, started with speed, fluency and determination. They moved the ball along the line at every opportunity, guessing that this would take play away from Aber’s strength up-front. It was from such a move that they opened the scoring. After winning possession deep in their own half the ball was passed along the backs. Full-back Hill came into the line and put left-wing Greenhalgh over for an unconverted try.
Aber’s reply came after they had been awarded a penalty in their own half. Fly-half Mason Jones found touch ten metres from the Crymych line and the hosts won the ensuing lineout. The ball was fed out to Will Caron Lewis, lurking among the backs, and from fifteen metres out, he barged his way towards the line, breaking through tackles, to score near the posts. Mason Jones converted and Aber, after 15 minutes play, were 7 – 5 ahead.
A poor clearance kick by Aber led to Crymych’s second try by lively full-back, Hill. This again went unconverted but it put them back in the lead at 7 – 10. Aber’s forwards continued to win most of the possession but the backs seemed slower in thought and more uncertain than their opponents. But as they became more focused they also became more threatening, and it was entirely with the run of play that winger Ryan Gilmore scored Aber’s second try from a move that began 40 metres upfield. This went unconverted but the hosts were back in the lead at 12 – 10.
They extended this lead when Will Caron Lewis scored his second try wrestling his way over from a lineout. Jones converted and Aber moved 19 – 10 ahead. With ten minutes of the first half remaining, Crymych stepped up the pressure and were camped near Aber’s try line for most of that time before scrum-half Bennett crossed for a try. The conversion was again missed but the gap had closed to 19 – 15 at half-time.
With the wind behind them, Crymych were expected to become an even bigger threat in the second half. But Aber’s coach Wayne Thomas must have delivered a very stern team talk at half time because his boys were fired up from the restart and went on to score three unanswered, converted tries in the second half. They put in an aggressive, professional display of running rugby that was a credit to them and their coach. Through their line breaking runs, their success at the breakdowns, their support play and their offloading they completely dominated the opposition.
Gilmore scored his second try of the game for Aber’s bonus point, Charles Thomas added the home side’s fifth try and Thomas Jenkins’ try closed the scoring. Mason Jones converted all three to round off a very good display of placekicking. The final score at 40 – 15 reflects Aber’s superiority throughout the team in every phase of play.
There were some very polished and mature individual performances on show from Aber’s ranks. Will Caron Lewis and Charles Thomas (both playing out of position) showed that they have benefitted hugely from their time in the first XV this season. But they were only two from a host of Aber players who shone. The Youth XV’s performances so far this season have given the club’s supporters every confidence in its continued success in the years to come.
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