In a match with a plethora of mistakes and missed opportunities, Aber suffered a disappointing loss away to bottom-of-the-table Penclawdd.
Penclawdd 37 Aberystwyth 18, Admiral National League One West
However, there were positive signs of improvement in the visitors’ lineout and scrummaging, and but for some defensive errors that were punished with tries, the game would have been much closer.
Aber kicked off against the wind and immediately put pressure on Penclawdd; but the hosts fought back to gain a penalty 40 metres out which they failed to convert.
Aber responded with good play in the loose resulting in their own penalty chance 30 metres out which again the wind thwarted.
The visitors took advantage of a Penclawdd yellow card, the penalty kicked to the corner, and the lineout resulting in an unconverted Ben Jones try for a 0 – 5 lead.
The hosts quickly rebounded with sustained pressure in Aber’s red zone, helped by several penalties conceded and, despite good defence, they eventually kicked a penalty to close the gap to 3 - 5.
Aber tried to run the ball along the three quarters but an attacking kick was charged down for Penclawdds’ Dan Guarneri to score a try which Alex Hughes converted to put the hosts ahead by 10 – 5.
The match resumed with closely contested lineouts, scrums and rucks until a penalty conceded in front of the posts by Penclawdd was converted by Aber’s Matthew Hughes to narrow the home side’s lead to 10 - 8.
Aber were then reduced to 14 men for the rest of the game following a red card for an off-the-ball incident. Penclawdd tapped the penalty and several moves along their backs resulted in Thomas Barrington scoring a converted try in the corner to widen Penclawdd’s lead to 17 - 8. Aberystwyth kept on the front foot on the restart, and following good loose play, Austin Ellis-Jones beat two defenders from 20 metres out to score an unconverted try.
The second half started with an exchange of kicks one of which was not dealt with by Aber’s defence and, after several broken tackles, Penclawdd’s Sion Wright scored an unconverted try in the corner.
Aber then had several opportunities in the home team’s red zone but could not come away with points. The hosts cleared well, and despite Aber’s improved possession, they were unable to build any real momentum.
Aber kicked penalties to the corners and eventually the pressure resulted in a lineout and ruck on the hosts 22 metre line and a blindside move by Matthew Hughes putting Ben Jones in for his second unconverted try to close the gap again at 22 - 18.
This seemed to awaken Penclawdd who tapped a penalty for a high tackle and, following a series of rucks in Aber’s 22, Matthew Donohue went over for a converted try.
At 29 – 18 behind Aber were now chasing the game and again pinned the hosts back to their try line, kicking penalties to the corner, but stout defence kept them out.
Penalties against Aber allowed the home side to push play back into Aber’s 22 metres and a penalty in front of the posts for offside was converted to widen the gap to 32 - 18.
The restart was cleared by Penclawdd deep into Aber’s half, and following a scrum on Aber’s 22 metre line the home side scored an unconverted try in the corner by John Hughes to close the scoring at 37 – 18 at the final whistle.
It was a much closer game than the score suggests. Aber played well in patches and exerted pressure, despite playing with 14 men for much of the game. But ill-discipline, wrong decisions and basic errors at vital moments gifted the opposition three converted tries