Aberystwyth RFC grind opponents down to take win

Wednesday 30th March 2022 2:04 pm
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Aberystwyth v Pembroke, Admiral National League 1 West , 26 March 2022
Aberystwyth survived a scare as visitors Pembroke rallied in the second half but the hosts finished strongly with late tries by Lee Truck and Owain Bonsall (Mike Binks )

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Aberystwyth 27 Pembroke 14

Admiral National League 1 West

In perfect playing conditions Aber resumed their Admiral league programme with a home game against lowly Pembroke.

The visitors had won only one game out of nine in the league and were in 11th position.

They had the advantage of a strong wind in the first half but rarely made good use of it to gain territorial advantage.

They seemed disjointed and disorganised up front and in the backs and Aber capitalised on these weaknesses to overpower the visitors up front and outthink them outside.

But after the first 20 minutes all Aber had to show for their efforts was a well taken Ian Ellis try after they had charged down an attempted clearance kick by Pembroke, won the ensuing ruck and moved the ball smoothly to Ellis on the left wing.

Aber were unable to take any of the other scoring chances they created after this either because of unforced handling errors or Pembroke’s determined defence.

The visitors worked their way deep into Aber’s half but knocked the ball on with the line at their mercy.

Scrum half Llyr Thomas found touch with a good clearance kick from the scrum that followed and Efan Rowbotham stole Pembroke’s throw from the lineout.

Aber’s back row interpassed before the ball was spread wide across field into the hands of reliable winger, Ben Jones.

He raced clear to score his side’s second try of the afternoon.

The strong wind made kicking difficult and neither try was converted.

Pembroke continued to press hard and gained ground but they lost possession on Aber’s 22 metre line after Will Caron won an excellent turnover.

From the half backs the ball was fed to Matthew Hughes who created enough space for centre Carwyn Evans to storm his way upfield on a 60 metre run to score.

The conversion failed but Aber were now one try short of a bonus point at 15 – 0 at the interval.

The visitors were a completely different side in the second period.

They shook Aber with their vigour, their aggression and their cohesion.

The hosts had difficulty in using the wind to relieve the pressure as Pembroke secured most of the possession and held on to it very effectively.

Aber became very lax in their tackling and their covering and it was entirely with the run of play that Pembroke scored and converted their first try to bring the score to 15 – 7.

Pembroke now had the bit between their teeth and again came at Aber aggressively and purposefully retaining possession and camping firmly in the hosts’ half of the pitch.

Aber seemed to lose their shape and their confidence and it was no surprise when Pembroke broke out of defence for their fly half to race 50 metres through some very weak Aber tackling to score his side’s second try.

The conversion brought them to within one point of Aber’s score at 15 – 14.

Gradually, as Pembroke were unable to sustain their good work, Aber’s greater fitness began to tell.

After a series of driving scrums within 15 metres of their opponents line they were able to push the visitors’ pack over the line for Lee Truck to secure their bonus point try and take the score to 22 – 14 after Steffan Rees’ conversion.

In the closing minutes Aber took the score beyond Pembroke’s reach when they found touch 10 metres from the visitors’ line.

In a well-rehearsed lineout move, Lee Truck collected the ball and fed Owain Bonsall for the hooker to crash over for an unconverted try to close the scoring at 27 - 14.

Aber will be happy with this winning return to league action but not with the opportunities they missed or their failure to control the game for much of the second half.

They didn’t lack individual effort or commitment but seemed disjointed and disorganised when the opposition applied pressure.

Up front, Aber eventually ground their opponents down in the scrummages and they were superior in the lineouts thanks to the excellent jumping and catching of Efan Rowbotham.

The front row was solid and the back row carried and offloaded well.

Behind the scrum too Aber were strong in attack but seemed unusually unsure in defence and again vulnerable in the wide channels.

Now life in Division 1 will get harder as Aber prepare to face an ever-improving Llanelli Wanderers side next Saturday away from home.

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