Clwb Rygbi Cymry Caerdydd RFC | 1st Team 6 - 5 Aberystwyth RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
18 January 2016 / Team News

Aber's cup run comes to an end

Clwb Rygbi Cymry Caerdydd 6pts  Aberystwyth 5

Cardiff’s Llandaff fields had not seen any rugby action since the end of November and there was doubt about this fixture to the last. Despite the local Council’s pronouncement that all action be curtailed for yet another weekend, a late early morning pitch inspection on Saturday gave the green light for Aberystwyth to travel for this third round National Cup tie. In the event the heavy underfoot conditions slowed down proceedings considerably and the large contingent of Aberystwyth supporters were disappointed and in the end frustrated to see their team failing to make it through to the last 16, but by the very slenderest of margins.

Hit by last minute illness, injury and non-availability the visitors were forced to make several changes and their lineup looked unusual, especially upfront. It was a subdued Aber side that started the match and in contrast Clwb Rygbi were clearly eager and positive. In open play they looked threatening, and clearly were masters in the early scrums but there was a lack of finesse in their finishing so that the Aber line was rarely threatened. The home side took the early lead in the ninth minute when Aber were penalised 20 metres out and fly half Ollie Jenkins slotted a straightforward penalty from just to the left of the posts. That it was not a good goalkicking day for the visitors started showing itself just three minutes later when their easiest shot of the day from 30 metres fell just short, and three minutes after that a more adventurous attempt from 45 metres also went astray. Play between the 22 metre lines was dominated by the home side for the bulk of the first half but first rate tackling and defensive strategy from Aber kept the scoreboard static. Jenkins however kept showing his prowess with the boot as he continually pushed Aber back downfield whenever they broke away, the result being a fairly non-entertaining spectacle. The visitors started to mount attacks of their own in the last ten minutes of the half, but when Jenkins once again shunted one loose ball deep into the Aber 22 the defenders conceded a penalty and the outside half had the simplest of chances to extend his side’s lead. He duly did so and at the half time whistle CRCC enjoyed a 6-0 advantage.

Aberystwyth continued to control play at the start of the second half and there was a feeling that an early score might change the game. But the home side held out for six or seven minutes until, inevitably, Jenkins once again hoofed an enormous kick into the opposite half. Despite getting very patchy ball from upfront Aber’s backs did look increasingly threatening and were the more creative. When Aber did create attacks the home side’s tackling was excellent and it was clear that they had heard about and prepared for the danger on the Aberystwyth flank of their season’s top try scorer Adam Carvell. The youngster did slip his cover in the 54th minute and he raced away from inside his own half on the right flank, only to concede a penalty for not allowing his tackler to get up when eventually stopped. Play inevitably moved into Aber territory courtesy of Jenkins, but he did just fail with a chance to seal the game when a 67th minute penalty was off the mark. It was virtually all Aber in the closing period and they were stopped on the CRCC line near the posts after 72 minutes, the nearest thing to a try the match had yet seen. CRCC were distinctly under pressure and increasingly conceded penalties at breakdowns, but then as the clock was running down the visitors managed to work the ball to Carvell again and the speedster was away, a 40 metre run along the touchline taking him to the line. Once again the CRCC defence correctly had the nous to bar him from rounding to the posts and he had to touch down for a try just in from the line. The heavy ground and heavy ball made any place kicking difficult and there was enormous pressure on the conversion attempt that followed. It came tantalisingly close, managing the difficult task of rising to the required height but veered right at the last. The referee indicated a minute and a half to go and Aber kept hammering at their hosts but CRCC in turn had enough composure remaining to just calm things down and claim the victory by just 6 points to 5.

It was a frustrating way to exit a Cup competition but they will learn from this, at the same time accepting that their efforts were too little too late, and that they will inevitably suffer if the team is changed at the last moment, particularly upfront. They now return to League action for the next two weeks, with a trip to Underhill Park in Mumbles this Saturday. Aber won a nerve-dangling 30-29 encounter at Plascrug in November, and the Gower side are sure to want revenge against the current League leaders.

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