LAMPETER took the honours with a 13-23 win in their local derby match at Llanybydder, to maintain their position at the top of Division Three West A, in front of a sizeable crowd at Parc OJ.
Both teams were committed and gave maximum effort, but Lampeter were clinical in finishing their opportunities.
A well-worked backs move resulted in left wing Carwyn Lewis breaking through the middle, with the supporting full-back Ewan Bowden crossing for the opening try.
Llanybydder responded with two penalties from fly-half Llyr Tobias, but another slick backs move from Lampeter led to home wing Ross Holder deliberately knocking on as he tried to intercept. The referee awarded a penalty try to the visitors, and a yellow card to Holder.
Lampeter took full advantage as they again spread play, with No 8 David Heath supporting in the wide channel to cross for the third try.
The home team responded with strong ball carrying from the pack, with skipper and No 8 Ricky Davies to the fore - and eventually hooker Osian Potter scored a well deserved try, near the posts, converted again by Tobias. On the stroke of half-time, however, Osian Jones extended the Lampeter lead to 20-13, courtesy of a well-struck penalty.
The second half was a quieter affair, with the visitors happy to keep pegging Llanybydder back with some fine kicking from their young fly-half Jones. The Lampeter defence was comfortable in dealing with the home attacks, and the only score was a further penalty by Jones, to ensure a well-deserved win.
The battle for promotion in Division Three West hotted up as St Clears subjected Aberaeron to only their second league defeat of the season.
Defeat for the Saints would have been a serious setback to their ambitions, and they showed their colours from the start with early pressure on the Seagulls’ defence.
The visitors, on the other hand, have one of the best defences in the league and, albeit shorn of a number of regulars, they were able to protect their line admirably.
Gradually they gained good field position and it was the reliable boot of Rhodri Jenkins who capitalised on an offside infringement to stroke a penalty and put his side ahead until the break.
Aberaeron’s injury woe worsened on the restart, with Jason Freeman and Huw Wozencraft forced to leave the field - but it gave others an opportunity, and coach Justin Lloyd had little hesitation in giving starts to youth contingent Steffan Dafydd Jones on the wing and Osian Davies in the unaccustomed centre role.
To their credit, both players looked comfortable in senior ranks, which bodes well for the future of the Club.
As in the first period, it was the hosts first out of the blocks, and some indecision in the visitors’ ranks allowed St Clears to gain field position, and a series of attacks gave No 8 Rhodri Evans the opening to cross under the posts and give Dan Griffiths an easy conversion kick.
Aberaeron responded well from the restart, and forays from Tudur Jenkins and Aaron Lewis invited the Saints to fall foul of the referee, and Jenkins reduced the deficit to one point with a penalty.
Further scores looked unlikely, with neither side able to create clear cut chances, and it was another lapse that allowed the hosts to create an opening for wing John Gosling to go over for a try.
Despite a last gasp attempt, Aberaeron failed to overcome the deficit and had to be content with a losing bonus point for their efforts.
The Seagulls now turn their attentions to their trip to face Baglan in the quarter-finals of the national Bowl, with the now squad hopefully strengthened with some of their enforced absentees.
Tregaron 24 Neyland 15
With nine minutes to go, Neyland were 12-15 ahead - but in a dramatic finale they had two players yellow-carded and Tregaron took full advantage to claim a 24-15 win.
The opening period was a stalemate until the 17th minute when No 8 Steve Roberts was held up on the Neyland line, and he cleverly placed his knee on the ground, forcing his tackler to release him, which allowed flanker David Thomas to rip the ball and cross over for the first try.
The All Blacks then forced Tregaron onto the back foot, and their forwards picked and drove close to the contact area, with scrum half Chris Morgan taking a good line to make it 5-5 at the interval.
The second half became a fractured affair as the penalty count increased, and both teams lost players to yellow cards for technical offences.
The entry of Dan Rees added extra impulse to the Tregaron cause, and 10 minutes into the second half he made a huge hole in the Neyland defence for his co-forwards to drive hard towards the line, and prop Geraint Rowlands forced himself over.
Outside half Bonner added the conversion for a 12-5 lead.
The visitors bounced back immediately as their slick back line created space on the left flank, and winger Henry McBeth scored in the corner, but the conversion failed.
On 65 minutes an excellent break by home full back Ieuan Rees saw second rower Dewi Jones gallop towards the line, and when he was tackled it seemed the ball was turned over illegally, but the referee allowed play to continue. The ball was transferred quickly along the visiting back line and centre George Williams crossed to give his team a 12-15 lead.
With 10 minutes to go, caution was thrown into the wind by the home team, and eventually, an overlap was created and Bonner glided through a gap to score a try.
Then, from the kick-off, winger Chris Wilkins gathered a kick pass and he cleverly kicked over his opponents’ line. Rees, chasing from full back, gathered to score the bonus point try, and Bonner added the extras.