Aberystwyth RFC’s winning league run was stopped by an experienced Gorseinon RFC side, writes Graham Harris.
Aberystwyth 12 Gorseinon 28, Admiral National League 1 West
After an enforced two week break (frozen pitch followed by a flooded pitch) a young Aberystwyth side lost to a more experienced Gorseinon team in this WRU Admiral Division 1 West match. Thankfully the weather was dry and overcast with a moderate breeze across the pitch and good ground conditions.
Straight from the kick off Gorseinon gained a foothold deep in Aber’s half but penalties awarded to the home side allowed the threat to be cleared. Both sides were rucking well but giving away too many penalties and winning their own lineouts, so play remained in midfield until Gorseinon’s Jack Gronow kicked three points from Aber’s 10 metre line to break the deadlock.
The restart saw Aber apply pressure in the visitor’s red zone but good defending play in the loose by Gorseinon made clearances back to the halfway line. Aber’s Charles Thomas pushed the home side into the visitor’s 22 metres with a fine 50:22 kick, but Aber failed to capitalise on the lineout and resulting rucks with the ball cleared from danger. A series of box-kicks by both teams ended with limited territorial gain by either side, until a Gorseinon penalty was kicked to the corner, and from the lineout, maul and rucks the visitor’s Shaun Haycock scored a try converted by Gronow.
Further ill-discipline by Aber in rucks allowed the visitors to take another successful kick at the posts to stretch their lead.
Good play in the loose and lineout work by Aber steadily pushed play back up the field, but the visitor’s scrummaging was becoming dominant and any Aber pressure was cleared. Gorseinon now had a concerted period of possession kicking penalties to the corner but stout Aber defence prevented a try, with a goal-line dropout to Aber cleared to halfway. The last action of the half was an unsuccessful long- distance attempt for three points by Aber.
In the second half the visitors needed solid defence in their 22 metres to push the action back to halfway, where most play was occurring with no side dominant. Aber strayed offside trying to thwart a three-quarter move by the Gorseinon backs and the resulting penalty was converted into points by the visitors.
A dominant Gorseinon scrum provided quick front-foot ball for their backs, and after several moves along the line Gorseinon’s Jack Griffin scored a converted try in the corner.
Several Aber substitutions stabilised the scrum and it was beginning to hold its own and the lineout also provided more possession. Territory gained by Aber held play in the visitor’s 22 metres close to Gorseinon’s try line and, following several solid rucks, super-sub Bryn Shepherd went over the line to score an unconverted try.
Gorseinon were quickly back on the attack and a lineout and maul 10 metres from the Aber line allowed Sam Evans to score a third unconverted try.
Aber kept pressing valiantly, kicking penalties to the corner but Gorseinon managed to scramble clear any danger. Aber were tapping penalties to inject pace into the game, and following some good rucking close to Gorseinon’s try line Aber’s Matthew Jacobs crashed over for a try converted by Dylan Benjamin.
Aberystwyth battled well throughout the game but had limited possession in the first half to score points. In the last 20 minutes of the game Aber had more possession and showed what they could do with it. The more experienced side controlled the game and won on the day.