On a cold and wet afternoon in South Wales, Aberystwyth fought valiantly for a well deserved first league win against Burry Port on a muddy, challenging, quagmire of a pitch, writes Graham Harris.
Burry Port 10 Aberystwyth 11, Admiral National League One West
With a very heavy pitch, waterlogging and standing water in places, Aberystwyth played the conditions well and won a close game against their high flying WRU Division 1 West hosts.
Aber received the kick off and were soon pinned back in their own half with Burry Port kicking early penalties for territory. Aber’s scrum was solid and good rucking repelled early attacks by the hosts’ backs.
The wet conditions resulted in both sides kicking ball out of hand hoping for handling errors with the slippery ball. Burry Port eventually gained ascendancy in territory with Aber’s lineout not fully firing. Good spoiling work in the loose and scrummaging by the visitors kept play in midfield for sometime.
A penalty to Aber was cleared into the hosts 22 metres and a good maul from Aber’s lineout resulted in a penalty in front of the posts which Dylan Benjamin converted into three points.
The hosts were continually checked on the restart by good counter rucking and scrummaging by Aber which held play in Burry Port’s 22 metres.
An Aber drop goal attempt was charged down and the hosts chipped the loose ball long over the defensive line to gain a penalty for obstruction in Aber’s half which was run by the hosts, but good Aber defence cleared the danger to halfway.
Burry Port continued pressing and penalties kicked for territory kept play within 10 metres of Aber’s try line. After a maul and several rucks, Aber conceded a penalty in front of the posts which was converted into points by Burry Port’s Lee Evans.
On the second half restart Aber won a lineout on the hosts’ 10 metre line and rucked the ball into centre field. A three-quarter move allowed Aber’s Carwyn Evans to break the defensive line 35 metres out, beat one defender, and wade in to score an impressive solo try which was not converted.
Burry Port decided to kick more but these were well fielded by Aber and play remained stuck in the mud between the two 22 metres with both sides rucking well. After gradually pushing play up to Aber’s 22 metre line, Burry Port rucked the ball towards the visitors’ try line and a quickly tapped penalty allowed Burry Port’s Luke Rudall to cross the line for a try converted by Lee Evans. Burry Port 10 Aberystwyth 8.
The restart resulted in a kicking contest by both sides with knock ons and scrums cancelling each other out, and play was mired in midfield. The home side continued to exert pressure with penalty kicks for territory but spoiling of lineouts by Aber allowed danger to be cleared.
By now Aber’s scrum was dominating both their put ins and disrupting the hosts scrums too. An Aber penalty on half way was kicked for goal but fell short and was gratefully cleared by Burry Port. The visitors kept pressing and pinned the hosts back in their half with good kicking out of hand.
Penalties allowed Burry Port to claw their way back close to Aber’s line but very good scrummaging under pressure by Aber kept play away from the danger zone. Two penalties to Aber saw the ball cleared into the hosts’ half and defensive kicks by Burry Port were quickly fielded and cleared to touch by the visitors.
An Aber lineout win on halfway resulted in Carwyn Evans breaking through and after several rucks on Burry Port’s 22 metre line a penalty was awarded to Aber in front of the posts which was converted by Dylan Benjamin.
A frantic period of play ensued during which Burry Port pressed hard, gained two penalties wide on the touch line 25 metres out from Aber’s line but could not convert either into points. Aber cleared both missed penalties well and celebrated a much deserved win.
Despite atrocious conditions underfoot, Aber won a close and well contested match and were deserved winners with a valiant, fighting performance.