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Shock results in West Wales Conference

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THERE were more surprise results in the West Wales Conference last weekend as Aberystwyth slipped to defeat against Talybont while UWA Commoners were also beaten by Tywyn and District.

The weekend’s other result saw Aberaeron extend their lead at the top of the table with victory over Aberystwyth Seconds.

On Sunday (Jul 8), Aberystwyth batted first against Talybont and made a good total of 219-7 from their 40 overs.

Aber lost opener Zaid Khan early on when he was caught by Sojan Varghese off the bowling of Philip Abraham for a score of 9 and Nigel Salmon made 8 before being caught by Abraham off the bowling of Josheff Joshi.

Abraham then trapped Ted Trewella leg before and also bowled Johnny Cordy for a duck. Ioan Morris made 10 but he was also bowled by Anish Kuriakose who later bowled Iestyn Evans for a score of 1.

Rhodri Price batted well at the top of the order as he made 69 before being caught by Abraham off the bowling of Dave Barrow.

Rob Rudge and Ifan Thomas then took Aber past 200 runs with the pair finishing unbeaten on scores of 50 and 31 respectively.

Talybont made a steady start in their reply with Dave Barrow scoring 20 before being caught and bowled by Zaid Khan.

Vinod Matthew made 36 before being caught by Iestyn Evans off the bowling of Nigel Salmon. The runs kept flowing as Josheff Joshi made 44 but he was then caught by Rob Rudge off the bowling of Rhodri Price.

Sojan Varghese was run out by Zaid Khan for a score of 1 and Graison John departed on the same score when he fell to the bowling of Salmon.

Anish Kuriakose then made 14 before being trapped leg before by Salmon.

Phil Abraham had been the mainstay of the innings with a score of 62 but he was eventually removed when Zaid Khan dismantled the stumps.

That left Huw Chambers at the crease and he finished not out on 15 to guide Talybont to victory.

Tywyn earn second win despite Bhatia century

Sunday’s other game produced the second shock result of the weekend as Tywyn and District earned just their second win of the season with victory over second placed UWA Commoners.

This game was a real high scoring encounter with Tywyn posting 292-7 from their 40 overs.

Richard Rees was trapped leg before by Guy Baron early on for a score of 21 but an excellent partnership between Callum Taylor and James Bradbury-Willis followed.

Bradbury-Willis hit six fours and a six in a score of 62 but he was then caught by Jacob Hughes-Pickering off the bowling of Rakesh Bhatia.

Runs continued to flow as Ed Iffla hit eight fours in a score of 41 before he was bowled by Umar Aslam.

Taylor made an excellent century with 18 fours and three sixes, scoring 107 before he was caught by Will Copeland off the bowling of Bhatia.

That did not stop the flow of runs as Dave Jenkins hit five fours and a six as he added 52 runs to the total.

The Commoners hit back late on as Bhatia had Jack Williamson caught by Neil Stent and Matthew Maslin caught by Ravi Mander.

They knew they would then need to bat well to reach their target and the made a good start to their reply.

Neil Stent made 16 before being bowled by Richard Rees and Ravi Mander scored 19 before he was caught by Callum Taylor off the bowling of Rees.

Umar Aslam was run out by Rees on a score of 7 as wickets continued to fall.

Rakesh Bhatia made his way to a half century but then saw Jacob Hughes-Pickering caught by Taylor off the bowling of Jenkins for a score of 20.

Will Copeland scored a quickfire 14 with two fours and a six but he was out to the bowling of Jenkins and Richard Lucas was then bowled by Taylor. Guy Baron scored 16 but he was then run out by Taylor.

Bhatia was the undoubted star of the innings as he made his way to remarkable score of 162 with twenty fours and eight sixes. He was then caught by Jack Williamson off the bowling of Taylor.

With that wicket, the Commoners’ hopes faded and they finished all out on 282, just ten runs short of victory.

Aberaeron ease past Seconds

Saturday’s (Jul 7) game was more straightforward as league leaders Aberaeron earned a ten-wicket win over Aber Seconds.

The Seconds won the toss and chose to bat but they were all out for 107 as Hywel Rees and Sion Lewis both took three wickets.

Ted Trewella was the first to fall when he was caught off the bowling of Simon Mitchell for a duck and he also then bowled Jack Page for a duck.

Dafydd Jones and Zaid Khan offered some resistance but both fell victim to Rees who had them caught by Louis Fice and Chris Strange for scores of 18 and 21 respectively.

Rees then claimed his third wicket as he had Alwyn Davies caught by Neil Snowdon for a score of 8.

Steff Rees then joined in on the action as he had Owen Keyworth caught by Mitchell for a score of 11.

Ioan Morris also offered late resistance with a score of 23 but he was then bowled by Sion Lewis. Steffan Davies was then bowled by Paul Hughes and Tomos Williams fell in the same manner to Lewis.

Lewis then had Bryn Morris stumped by Fice as the Seconds’ innings came to a close.

Aberaeron’s openers J Fice and David Grinszpan were then untroubled in their reply as they guided their side to a comfortable win.

Grinszpan was not out on 46 with seven fours while Fice hit ten fours as he finished unbeaten on 52.

On Saturday (Jul 14), two teams that lost last weekend will be in action as Aberystwyth play host to the UWA Commoners.

On Sunday (Jul 15), Talybont face league leaders Aberaeron and Tywyn & District will be looking for another win when they take on Aberystwyth Seconds.

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Aber pushed hard by Yr Hendy

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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

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Aber bounce back with victory

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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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Aber Youth clinch impressive win

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Kicking boots on: Aber Youth's Mason Jones converted 5 tries

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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