In a tight and close fought WRU Division 1 Cup game, Aberystwyth RFC showed great resilience and persistence to win against Division 1 West Central Nantyffyllon RFC. A much needed win to get their season really going.

Aberystwyth 13 Nantyffyllon 6, WRU Division 1 Cup

The conditions were sunny and dry at Plascrug, but the going underfoot was very soft and heavy after the week’s rain.

Aberystwyth cleared the kick off back to halfway but the visitors soon put pressure on the hosts 22 metres with good running play by their backs from penalties that pinned Aber deep in their half. Nantyffyllon eventually converted one of these penalties into three points with a kick by Tadhg McGuckin.

Haydn Beal scores an unconverted try from 30 metres out
Haydn Beal scores an unconverted try from 30 metres out (Mike Binks)

Aber managed to control the restart and good kicking and rucking saw play mainly in the visitors’ half. Scrums and lineouts were closely contested but sound defence and minor errors by both sides resulted in no side gaining significant advantage in play between the two 22 metre lines.

Scrums and lineouts were evenly matched. Penalties conceded by the hosts meant play was in Aber’s 22 metres, the visitors pressing with good moves along their backs which were thwarted by stout Aber defence. Both sides conceded penalties in the loose allowing the other side to clear danger. It was a close game. A series of box kicks by both sides resulted in territorial stalemate. Nantyffyllon won a scrum on half way and kicked over Aber’s defensive line and were awarded a penalty for offside which they failed to convert into points. The hosts then sustained a yellow card and the visitors extended their lead from the resulting penalty.

Straight from the second half restart Aber were on the front foot with good kicking out of hand by Dylan Benjamin and a 50:22 lineout to the hosts.

Pick up and go driving from the base of Aber’s rucks kept play deep in the visitors’ half until a clearing kick returned play to Aber’s 22 metres.

Ill-discipline from Nantyffyllon players resulted in a yellow card and the penalty was cleared to halfway. From Aber’s lineout a crisp, flowing move along the three quarters, and defensive a line break, allowed Aberystwyth University student Haydn Beal to score an unconverted try from 30 metres out.

Aber then continued to press hard and gained territory with clearing penalty kicks and good running play by their backs from lineouts. This was complemented by good rucking and following a hard won lineout 5 metres from the visitors’ try line the ball was mauled over the line for a score by Aber’s Steffan Rattray, which was not converted.

The visitors conceded territory on the restart due to good kicking to touch by Aber. A clearing kick by Nantyffyllon was charged down on halfway and a long through kick by Aber resulted in a goal line dropout by the visitors. Following a series of rucks on the visitor’s 22metre line, Aber were awarded a penalty, converted into points by Dylan Benjamin. Aber 13 Nantyffyllon 6.

Both sides were now kicking for territory at any opportunity and penalties were kicked to touch to apply pressure. With five minutes to go Aber had worked the ball to the visitors try line but ill-discipline and penalties released the pressure each time.

Nantyffyllon worked the ball upfield with good open running play but despite being camped on the Aber 22m line with a series of rucks and scrums they could not break the strong Aber defensive line.

A scrum to Aber following a Nantyffyllon knock on was won and the ball gratefully kicked into touch to end the game. A well deserved home win.