On an overcast and very wet afternoon on the outskirts of Swansea, Gowerton put on an impressive display of controlled possession, dominating the scrum and lineout, writes Graham Harris.

Gowerton 44 Aberystwyth RFC 18, Admiral National League One West

Weather conditions were not conducive for open play, but Gowerton showed good handling skills from the Aber kick off. Box kicks were returned by the hosts’ backs to put play firmly in Aber’s 22 metres. Scrum dominance by the home side saw a quick passing move along the three-quarters and Gowerton’s Brandon Jones scoring an unconverted try.

Straight from the restart the hosts put pressure back on with good lineout ball and penalty kicks into Aber’s red zone and Gowerton’s Tom Ham crossed for an unconverted try. Aber started to work well in the loose, rucking ball deeper into the hosts’ half, where a penalty to Aber was converted into points by Dylan Benjamin from 35 metres out.

Aber held play in midfield for a while, but poor defensive tackling by the visitors allowed Gowerton’s Tom Ham to score a solo try converted by Matthew Davies.

Aber were struggling to get any meaningful possession and conceding scrum penalties. The hosts tapped or scrummaged any penalties resulting in the inevitable converted push over try scored by Gowerton’s number eight Lewis Bradley. Aber needed some inspiration, and a kick charged down by Owain Bonsall, who was on the front-foot all game and leading Aber’s play in the loose, provided just that. A series of Aber rucks getting closer to the home sides’ try line, and Carwyn Evans crashed over for an unconverted try. Scrum dominance saw a penalty awarded to Gowerton from the restart which was converted into three points.

Gowerton kicked off the second half, and despite Aber attempting to clear their lines, the home side’s Tom Ham scored a quick solo try under the posts. The home side had territorial dominance, and with penalties conceded by Aber, eventually converted one into three points. More penalties conceded by the visitors put themselves under pressure and a Gowerton lineout five metres out and a rolling maul saw another home side try.

Aber kept on plugging away with determination and were starting to gain some possession from lineouts and ruck turnovers. A penalty to Aber kicked to the hosts’ 22 metres and a lineout won and a line break by Owain Bonsall resulted in Dylan Benjamin scoring an unconverted try in the corner. Aber were now running more ball in open play and starting to get penalties awarded to them in the loose. An Aber lineout maul 15 metres from the home sides try line allowed Charles Thomas to burst through on the blind side to score another unconverted try.

Aber were now pressing for a losing bonus point and were unlucky that a Gowerton clearing kick that was charged down did not bounce kindly for that elusive fourth try.

A strong performance by Gowerton, but Aberystwyth did well to keep on trying to get on the front-foot and a determined second half display showed their growing resilience against experienced opposition.