ABERYSTWYTH Town maintained their excellent recent home form as they beat Llandudno 3-1 in an entertaining Friday night (Feb 9) JD Welsh Premier League clash at Park Avenue.
Goals from John Owen, Declan Walker and Craig Hobson secured Aber’s sixth win in eight home games in all competitions, despite Marc Williams’ second half strike threatening a comeback for the visitors. The victory sees Nev Powell’s side climb to within three points of ninth placed Llandudno, and to within just five points of seventh place in the JD Welsh Premier League Play Off Conference.
Aber manager Nev Powell made one change to the starting eleven that lost away at Barry Town last weekend, with Malcolm Melvin replacing Craig Rogers, resulting in Ashley Young dropping back to the centre back position.
On a freezing night at Park Avenue, Aber started like a team on fire. Within just five minutes, the hosts took a deserved lead as John Owen gathered a loose ball on the edge of the visitors’ penalty area, before making space for a low, right-footed shot that flew into the bottom corner of the net beyond the reach of goalkeeper Alex Lynch.
It was evident that the early goal had given Town a boost, as they pressed for a second goal with Malcolm Melvin seeing his tame effort easily collected by Lynch in goal. However, on 21 minutes the visitors were handed a golden opportunity to get back into the game as Tom Dix was fouled in the penalty area and awarded a penalty kick.
Sam Hart stepped up, but dragged his spot kick wide of Chris Mullock’s post – much to the relief of the home supporters. Soon after, drama ensued at the other end as Aber were awarded a penalty of their own, with Hart adjudged to have handled the ball in the penalty area. Declan Walker stepped up this time, and thumped home the spot kick into the top right hand corner to make it 2-0.
Aber began to take control of the game as they exerted continued pressure on the visitors back line, with Damien Allen and Melvin controlling the midfield expertly.
On 34 minutes, Ashley Young whipped a dangerous cross into the penalty area that was cleared in the nick of time by Llandudno defender Danny Shaw, as Aber saw out the first half comfortably to go into the break with a two goal lead.
Visitors Llandudno started the second half in much brighter fashion, evidently buoyed by the half time team talk of assistant manager Matty Williams.
On 48 minutes, with their first attack of the second half, they found a way back into the game as Danny Hughes played in Wes Baynes, who crossed for Marc Williams to convert at the near post and make it 2-1.
Suddenly the momentum of the game swung in favour of the visitors, as they began to commit more players forwards in search of an equaliser.
On 50 minutes, they very nearly found a second goal as Danny Shaw’s header clipped the crossbar, before Danny Hughes saw his brilliant half-volley sail inches wide of Chris Mullock’s far post.
Aber were hanging on to their slender advantage, as Ashley Young and Ryan Wollacott battled for every ball in the heart of the defence.
On 63 minutes, Craig Hobson was introduced for the hosts in place of Damien Allen, and Town almost immediately regained some control of the game thanks to a tactical switch from Aber’s management team.
Four minutes later, Hobson latched on to a brilliant pass by Melvin to race through on goal before being denied by an outstanding fingertip save from Alex Lynch.
Soon after, Aber’s number 9 was again in the thick of the action as he came close to converting after a goalmouth scramble, before seeing his back post header cannon off the base of the post and out for a goal kick. The visitors refused to go down without a fight, and on 84 minutes they again went close as Chris Mullock produced a brilliant save to deny Sam Hart.
As the game entered the final minutes, Town used all their game management nous to see out the win.
In stoppage time, the victory was duly sealed as John Owen scampered down the left wing before cutting into the penalty area and putting the ball on a silver platter for Hobson to bury his fourth goal of the season and make it 3-1.
Another fine victory at Park Avenue for Nev Powell’s side, who will be glad to get back to winning ways after last weekend’s away defeat at Jenner Park. With their eyes now firmly set on 7th place in the league table, Town will prepare for another tough home game against Prestatyn Town on Friday evening (Feb 16) in the JD Welsh Premier League.
Exercise Referral Scheme doing more for health intervention than ever before
A record 35,069 participants attended Exercise Referral classes during 2640 hours of health classes in 2019.
The National Exercise Referral Scheme (NERS) is an evidence-based health intervention scheme which incorporates physical activity and behavioural change techniques to support referred clients to make lifestyle changes to improve their health and well-being.
NERS Ceredigion has seen a dramatic increase in demand over the past year. A coordinator and four full time exercise professionals work to deliver the scheme, delivering 73 classes per week. The age of participants range from 16 years old, with the eldest participant in Ceredigion being 95.
Exercise class options include Gym, Circuit, Postural Stability (seated), Spin Bikes, Aqua Aerobics, Tai Chi and Pilates. Venues include council and community centres in Aberystwyth, Aberaeron, Lampeter, Tregaron, Cardigan and Llandysul.
Councillor Catrin Miles, Cabinet member with responsibility for Leisure, highlighted the benefits of the scheme, “There are many physical, psychological and social benefits to being part of the scheme, including confidence-building, better self-esteem, meeting new people and being generally fitter and healthier. Ceredigion Actif’s highly qualified Health Intervention Team provide opportunities to exercise that are fun, rewarding and that can be incorporated into everyday life.”
NERS Ceredigion targets people with a medical condition through various pathways including generic, cardiac rehabilitation, pulmonary, PSI falls, stroke rehabilitation, mental health, cancer and weight management. The 16 week tailored programme of exercise is delivered by a team of specialist Level 4 qualified exercise professionals who guide referred participants towards realising their individual goals.
A participant in Aberystwyth said, “This has been the best thing I have ever done. I have thrived from doing different activities and pushing myself out of my comfort zone which has not only helped my self-esteem but also my depression and everything else including my pain. I have also made new friends which I didn’t even consider would happen and we’re not only being social but we’re having fun too which is a bonus”.
There is ongoing monitoring from the instructors with follow up assessments at 16 weeks as well as on completion at 52 weeks. Long-term ‘maintenance’ options are available post 16 weeks which include the continuation of exercise classes as well as opportunities to join clubs such as walking basketball, walking football, golf sessions and walking rugby.
During 2018-2019 there were 913 referrals to the scheme. To gain access to the scheme, a person needs to be referred by a Health Professional, usually a GP, Practice Nurse or a condition specific Physiotherapist.
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.
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