National League 1 West
Under very favourable conditions for rugby both teams served up a very combative and hard-fought encounter which Aber did very well to achieve a bonus point win.
Aber dominated possession and territory initially but were unlucky not to break through a determined defence. There was an early altercation between a small minority of players with the ref penalising Aber. This seemed to settle both teams and normal hostilities were quickly resumed.
Aber were unlucky not to open the scoring when following a quick tap and go they managed to knock-on almost over the line. They kept the pressure on by winning the ball against the head with their dominant scrum but conceded a penalty right on the Gowerton line. They worked their way up-field and from their first visit into the Aber 22 they won a penalty which was stroked over by outside-half Davies.
Aber were next score when from a scrum in midfield blind side winger Ian Ellis went on a lovely arcing run and fed fellow winger Dylan Benjamin with a scoring pass to take the lead at 5-3.
The Aber scrum were exerting a lot of pressure on Gowerton who were unable to stop Lee Evans putting Charles Thomas through a big gap to score by the posts. The try was converted by Steff Rees.
He also kicked a penalty a few minutes later to take the score to 15-3. The last 10 minutes of the half was when Aber showed their resolve and determination to deny Gowerton. Reduced to 13 men until the last move of the half when left-winger Williams scored over in the corner to make the half-time score 15-8 was of great credit to their resolve and focus.
This was a very impressive and influential period of play by Aber either side of half-time when they played their socks off to negate the numerical advantage held by Gowerton.
This seemed to inspire Aber into attacking mode and following a brilliant break by Iestyn Thomas deep into the Goweton 22 Aber recycled the ball from two or three rucks and moved the ball left for Mathew Hughes to cross for a fine try. Steff Rees converted to take the score to 22-8.
Gowerton felt that they still had something to offer and were next to score when winger Bonen went over in the corner.
Aber were spurred on by this setback and proceeded to dominate the last 10 minutes. Skipper Arwel Lloyd scored in the corner from a clever line-out move and on resumption Aber drove on again into the Gowerton 22 looking for their bonus point try.
A penalty kicked into the corner was well-secured in the line-out and with a forceful drive replacement Oisin Canney was driven over to register Aber’s fourth try. Steff Rees converted to close out the scoring at 34-13.
This was a hard uncompromising performance by Aber, though not spectacular they showed a steely determination not to be beaten.
They had a fine blend of youth and experience with a very young front row setting a solid platform for a dominant scrum.
With some strong carries from skipper Lloyd and Dan Binks, the young back row excelled and enjoyed themselves immensely with man of the match Iestyn Thomas just shading out fellow flanker Efan Rowbotham.