Rees penalty sees Aberystwyth through in Pembrokeshire Cup

Wednesday 16th February 2022 11:43 am
Aberystwyth v Tenby Rugby Pembrokeshire Cup
The weather made it difficult for both Aber and Tenby in the Pembrokeshire Cup (Mike Binks )

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Pembrokeshire Cup

Aber scraped into the next round of the Pembrokeshire Cup with a narrow, hard-fought win over Tenby last Friday night.

The visitors are currently in fourth place in Division 1 West of the Admiral National League, whereas the hosts are languishing in eighth place in Division 2.

On paper therefore, this should not have been a difficult game for Aber. But the wet, windy weather, heavy condition of the pitch and the determination of their opponents levelled the skill sets of the two sides to produce a very close match.

Play on both sides was scrappy and ill-disciplined in the early stages with Aber making too many errors to play with their usual fluency.

These mistakes made it difficult for the visitors to put together any threatening attacks and their infringements saw Tenby kick two early penalties to lead 6-0.

Aber’s restart kick-off from the second of these was held up by the strong wind and Tenby were awarded a scrum on the half way line.

The hosts won the scrum and moved the ball out to their backs.

A speculative kick through was gathered by their full-back who crossed for an unconverted try which widened the gap to 11-0.

Tenby were now playing with confidence and it took a penalty kick for Aber to relieve the pressure on their line.

The kick was very quickly followed up by Aber’s No 10, Steffan Rees. He was able to charge down Tenby’s attempted clearance kick, regather the ball and race a full 40 metres downfield to score a well taken solo try.

He converted his try and closed the gap to 11-7.

Aber fielded the restart kick off and spread the ball wide from the ensuing ruck, but an interception by the Tenby winger saw him race away to score his side’s second try. The successful conversion took the score to 18-7.

Play was then kept in the midfield area with possession fiercely fought for and evenly shared.

Aber were next to score when Tenby were penalised on their 10 metre line. Aber centre Carwyn Evans saw an opportunity and from his own tap-and-go, raced away for an unconverted try to close the first half with the score at 18-12.

It had been an unsatisfactory half for Aber as they infringed too often to settle down to their usual efficient attacking style of play.

The second half gave Aber the advantage of the wind at their backs. Play stayed between the two 22-metre lines for much of the early part of the second half but concerted Aber pressure forced Tenby into making mistakes and giving away penalties which pinned them back in defensive positions.

The hosts’ desperate defending saw them reduced to 14 men as one was shown a yellow card.

Aber now increased the pressure and it was entirely with the run of play that ever-improving flanker, Iestyn Thomas, charged over from another tap-and-go penalty for Aber’s third try to close Tenby’s lead to one point at 18-17.

Possession and territory were again fiercely contested before the pressure on the hosts resulted in the award of a penalty.

An excellent 40-metre penalty kick by Steffan Rees put Aber ahead for the first time in the game and closed the scoring at 18-20.

Tenby again went on the attack from the restart but fierce defending from Aber forced the opposition to retreat.

A strong counter-attack by the visitors then saw them camped on the hosts’ line for the final few minutes of the game but the defence held out as the final whistle was blown and Aber had booked their place in the cup semi-finals.

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