After losing against Crymych last week in a game that could have gone either way, Aber were well beaten on Saturday by an Emlyn side that was superior in every facet of the National League 1 West game – just as the 40-14 scoreline suggests.

Ground and weather conditions were ideal for running rugby and both sides did their best to play an expansive, open game. Aber were seven points up in as many minutes after Carwyn Evans broke through to score the opening try and Steffan Rees added the conversion. Little did the Aber followers realise at that point that this was a false dawn and that Emlyn were to dominate much of the match after that.

For the remainder of the game whereas Aber were naïve and disjointed, Emlyn were streetwise and coordinated. The visitors didn’t lack for individual effort but there was too little understanding between players, too much indecision and too many errors, often resulting in penalties.

Aber’s fortunes up front fluctuated as they lost too many lineouts in the first half but competed more effectively in the second half when Emlyn’s ex-Aber lock-forward Havard left the field and Bryn Shepherd took over in the visitors’ second row.

In the scrum too, Aber varied from bossing to being bossed with no clear winner between the packs. In the loose phases Emlyn had a quicker and better supported presence and won their own ball and too often, disrupted Aber’s possession.

The hosts opened their scoring with a penalty after being frustrated in getting over Aber’s line for several minutes by a strong defence.

Shaun Leonard at full-back for Emlyn kicked their first points, the first of many that he was to score from the tee during the afternoon in an excellent kicking performance. The 10 minutes of kicking practice he put in during his side’s warm-up certainly paid off as he kicked accurately from hand and tee throughout the game in a man-of-the-match performance.

With the score at 3 – 7 it was still anyone’s game. However, for the duration of the first half Aber were starved of possession. Nothing they tried could prevent the hosts from winning and keeping the ball. As a result Emlyn scored three tries, two of which were converted, another penalty goal and a dropped goal from Leonard.

Newcastle Emlyn 40 Aberystwyth 14
Admiral National League 1 West
The Aberystwyth team that took on Newcastle Emlyn (Mike Binks)

For a few minutes before the interval Aber showed that they were not going to lie down and suffer without a fight. After a succession of penalties within 10 metres of the Emlyn line – where Aber chose scrummages – they edged forward each time until the home pack disrupted their drives illegally. The referee finally lost patience and awarded Aber a penalty try and the first half closed with the score at 28 – 14.

Aber were only two scores down and their supporters were still confident that a fight-back might occur. Unfortunately, the pattern of play and of the team’s performances continued as it had been in the first half and Emlyn added two more tries to their score in the second 40 minutes.

The first came from a lineout on Aber’s 22m when, in a well-rehearsed move from the front of the line, they had the numbers and the speed to score a converted try to take the score to 35 – 14. They rounded off their afternoon with a final try in the corner which went unconverted and closed the scoring at 40 – 14.

There were some good individual efforts in Aber’s performance, but they lacked the cohesion and understanding that can consistently win matches.

Centres Evans and Jones tackled tirelessly and wingers Ellis and Jones were busy covering back or looking for attacking opportunities.

But the home backs always seemed to win ball on the front foot and were stronger in spite of Aber’s determined tackling. In the visitors’ back row Iestyn Thomas was a terrier but Aber lacked the numbers in support.

There will now be two free Saturdays for Wales’ Six-Nations matches before Aber travel to Gorseinon on 18 February.

• Aberystwyth RFC Youth produced an impressive performance to beat visitors Whitland RFC Youth 39-12.