Aberystwyth RFC drew 28 – 28 in an exciting away match at Waunarlwydd RFC in the final Admiral Division 1 West game of the season for both teams. This young Aber team have finished in a very creditable 8th place during a year of transition, writes Graham Harris.

Before kick off there was a minute’s silence in memory of Dewi Gwynne – former player, captain and stalwart of Aberystwyth RFC.

On a warm, sunny day near Swansea both sides played their part in a close and tense encounter. Straight from the kick off the teams tried to get their backs involved in play whenever possible. Aber scored the first points when Ben Jones intercepted a wide move by the hosts’ backs on halfway and sprinted clear to score an unconverted try.

Waunarlwydd were soon pressing into Aber territory but solid defence and clearing penalty kicks kept them out. The hosts were starting to gain dominance in scrums, and scrum penalties pushed play deep into Aber’s 22 metres and centre Green scored a try converted by Matuschke.

Aber were playing well in the loose with quick ruck ball spread wide, but penalties conceded relieved any pressure on the hosts. A Waunarlwydd rolling maul five metres out from Aber’s try line resulted in hooker Cherry scoring an unconverted try.

The hosts increased their lead with a penalty kick and Aber replied with three points from a penalty kick by Steff Jac Jones. The home team kept pressing hard and from another lineout close to Aber’s try line centre Green crossed for an unconverted try.

Aber increased the pace of the game, tapping penalties, and Aber centre Carwyn Evans scored a try converted by Jones. The hosts slotted another penalty kick for a half time score of Waunarlwydd 23 Aberystwyth 15.

Aber kept territorial pressure on the hosts in the second half, but knock-ons during line breaks at vital times only resulted in two Aber penalty kicks converted into points by Jones. Aber’s lineout was working well and a break by Sion Evans 30 metres out, and a neat pass inside, saw number eight Tom Jenkins burst through for a try converted by Jones.

Aber defended well in scrums, lineouts and rucks, but penalties awarded to Waunarlwydd and a rolling maul allowed hooker Cherry to score an unconverted try. Aber’s Jones narrowly missed a drop goal and came close with a penalty attempt from halfway. The game ended with honours even. A depleted Aber side playing with great character.

This performance showed the great potential in the squad. Everyone – players, coaching staff, and supporters – are looking forward to an exciting season next season, with players coming back, but, more importantly, talented youngsters coming through the system of excellent youth teams at the club.