On a dry, sunny day in Llanelli, Aber met an in form and well organised Llanelli Wanderers side who ran in seven tries in a dominant display, writes GRAHAM HARRIS.
Llanelli Wanderers 48 Aberystwyth 0, Admiral National League 1 West
Straight from the kick off the home side tested Aber’s defence with probing box kicks from the base of rucks. An attempted clearance by the visitors from a scum just outside their 22 metres was charged down and the hosts gathered the ball and Rhidian Morgan crossed for a try converted by Nick Gale. Not the best of starts for Aber.
The home side was dominant in early scrums and Aber were finding it difficult to win clean lineout ball from their throw ins. Aber strayed offside whilst defending on their 22 metre line in front of the posts and the penalty was converted into points.
Aber tried to get a foothold from the restart and both sides exchanged a series of box kicks from rucks which eventually resulted in an Aber penalty, kicked to the corner. The home side cleared well from an untidy Aber lineout, but good penalty kicking by Aber’s Dylan Benjamin pinned the hosts back to their try line but concerted Aber pressure yielded no points.
Clearance kicks by Llanelli Wanderers and good lineout control allowed attacking rolling mauls which were well defended initially by Aber. The home side’s territorial dominance, winning the kicking game and lineouts, allowed Llanelli Wanderers prop Ben Harries to score an unconverted try from a rolling maul. More lack of discipline by Aber and penalties kicked to the corner resulted in another host rolling maul and hooker Keelan Jewel score a converted try.
Aber again attempted to exert pressure from the restart and were soon camped on the hosts’ try line but could not convert mauls and rucks into points due to well-organised home side defence. A goal line drop out from Llanelli Wanderers was cleared to halfway and penalties against Aber pinned them back to their try line and the inevitable rolling maul resulted in prop Rhodri Morgan scoring a converted bonus point try.
Aber continued to battle in the second half but the hosts were still controlling the game from set plays and dominating the territorial battle with impressive kicking.
It was only a matter of time and an error from the base of a defensive Aber scrum close to their try line allowed the hosts’ scrum half Josh Reeves to score a converted try.
Aber managed to start to gain possession and territory, stabilising their scrum and winning lineout ball, pushing the hosts back deep into their 22 metres. Efficient and effective defence by the hosts thwarted a try. Aber were tapping penalties and rucking well but penalties conceded gave Llanelli Wanderers the chance to clear their lines down field and a well worked three-quarter move saw Owain Davies score a converted try.
Still pressing for points, Aber tapped penalties and tried to move the ball out wide, but a move by the backs broke down and the loose ball was hacked on by Llanelli Wanderers and a break out from deep in their half resulted in an unconverted try by Lewis Jones.
Aber stuck at it and applied more concerted pressure on the hosts’ try line in the last 10 minutes but could not convert it into points.
Llanelli Wanderers gave away numerous penalties close to their try line and eventually the referee showed two yellow cards to the hosts but their depleted defence held firm.
A difficult game for Aber against a well-organised and confident Llanelli Wanderers side. A much better and very spirited second half performance by Aber needs to be maintained and built upon in future games.