ABERYSTWTH played their part with a rousing second half fight back which saw them fall just short 46-43 at Yr Hendy RFC in a thrilling closely-contested Admiral National League 1 West game, writes GRAHAM HARRIS.

Aber kicked off but Hendy soon pushed play back into the visitor’s 22 metres with good rucking, and Hendy’s fly half Tyler Payne crossed over for an unconverted try. Aber were quickly on the front-foot and good lineout work, mauling and rucks allowed Aber’s Carwyn Evans to burst through to score an unconverted try from 10 metres out. Good clearing work by Aber resulted in scrums in the host’s half and a line break 30 metres out saw Aber’s Charles Thomas score a try converted by Dylan Benjamin.

Straight from the restart and missed tackles by Aber let Hendy’s Dyfan Williams cross for a converted try to level the scores. Penalties against Aber in the loose, and the hosts rapidly spread the play wide from a lineout, again poor defensive work by the visitor’s and Hendy’s Robbie Davies scored a converted try. From the restart, infringements by Hendy allowed Aber to push play to within 10 metres of the hosts try line and a lineout, rolling maul and Carwyn Evans scored an unconverted try.

Good scrummaging by the hosts, scrum penalties and  solid lineout work and Hendy’s Tom Janes scored an unconverted try from a rolling maul. Aber were quickly back on the attack but lost crucial lineouts close to the host’s try line and the danger was cleared to halfway. Untidy play by the visitors after an Aber ruck and a line break resulted in Hendy’s number eight Callum Williams scoring a converted try on half time.

The second half started as furiously as the first, with good Aber scrummaging and rucks pushing play up to the host’s 10 metre line, a line break by Benjamin and Aber’s captain Thomas crossed for an unconverted try. Aber tried to play more expansive rugby but knock-ons and solid scrums by the hosts allowed Hendy’s Miles Harris to score am unconverted try. More defensive errors and missed tackles by Aber and Hendy’s Harris scored a second converted try from the restart.

Aber were now 21 points adrift – time for a spirited comeback. A good line break by Aber’s Leo Davies and Evans crossed for his third try, converted from out wide by Benjamin. Hendy were now trying to close the game out and a long speculative pass by the hosts to their wing was intercepted by Aber’s Haydn Beal who ran in a converted try from 40 metres out. Aber were now within one score of the hosts. The pressure was now telling on Hendy and they decided to take the points from a penalty in front of the posts from Aber’s 10 metre line.

Aber were finishing the stronger and fitter side and were rampant in open play. The visitors were soon back deep in Hendy’s half, tapping and running penalties, resulting in the hosts infringing and a yellow card. More Aber penalties kicked to the corner and a Hendy clearing kick was charged down by Aber and Evan Rowbotham scored a try out wide, converted by Benjamin. Three points between the teams.

Aber were now dominant in open play and staging an amazing comeback. Play was pushed deep into the hosts’ 22 metres but intense and concerted pressure by Aber could not be converted into points. The last, breathless, play of the match was a surging drive by the Aber forwards which was frantically held up over their try line by Hendy.