Gowerton RFC | 1st Team 20 - 29 Aberystwyth RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
17 September 2017 / Team News

Impressive Away Win

Gowerton 20 – v – 29 Aberystwyth.

Aberystwyth won their second consecutive away match of the season at Gowerton and, at the same time, inflicted their first defeat of the season on the home side.

Although rain fell throughout the game both sides coped well and produced a high standard of entertaining rugby. Gowerton attacked from the kick-off and for the first fifteen minutes the visitors had to rely on long relieving kicks from half backs Jones and Thomas and I. Thomas at full-back to keep them at bay. The pressure eventually told as Aber were penalised for handling on the floor and No 10 McKenzie put the home side 3 – 0 ahead.

Encouraged by their powerful start Gowerton broke away down mid-field, breaking through some weak Aber tackles and with fine interpassing they took play deep into the visitors’ 22 metre area where hooker Thomas plunged over for their opening try. This was well converted by McKenzie. Aber replied with a Llyr Thomas penalty to record their first points of the afternoon but Gowerton hit back moving downfield easily. Another try seemed certain for them as they threw the ball along their backs; but Sion Cowdy on Aber’s left wing read the situation brilliantly to intercept a long scoring pass and race the length of the field to score under the posts. Thomas converted and Aber had drawn level at 10 – 10, albeit, much against the run of play. However, the home side hit back with a penalty just before the interval to move ahead 13 – 10.

The half-time team talk must have been harsh, as the visitors started the second 40 minutes with more determination and effort. Full back I. Thomas helped Aber draw level and then move into a 13 – 16 lead with two well struck penalties both from 45 metres. Gowerton hit back fiercely and, as in the first half, spent a long time within metres of the Aber line. Drive after drive came very close but the visitors’ defence at close quarters was excellent. Aber’s handling of the wet ball was much better than that of the opposition and so the errors were limited.

Mid-way through the second half, after Aber had battled their way downfield, scrum half Gruff Jones broke away from the base of a scrum to feed Cowdy who crossed for his second try of the afternoon. Aber were now 13 – 21 ahead and their tails were up. Again they broke out of defence moving the ball out to their backs. Centre Carwyn Evans made a good break in midfield and when he ran out of support put in an excellent 50 metre kick for the corner; the ball went over the line pursued by three home side backs and Aber winger Gwern Penri. It was he who got his hand to the ball first and Aber had scored their third try of the afternoon taking the score to 13 – 26.   

Gowerton hit back harder than ever and with driving mauls from successive lineouts, powerful rucks and strong scrummages, they came within inches of scoring their second try. Somehow, Aber kept them out each time. The visitors’ scrum had been under increasing pressure in the second half, but it was a mystery to the pack and spectators alike when the home side were awarded a penalty try for a ‘persistent’ scrum offence by Aber.

At 20 – 26 Gowerton were back in the game and things looked ominous for the visitors as they continued to press for a winning try. Again Aber somehow wrestled the ball away and made progress upfield. From a winning scrum near the home side posts the ball was passed back to Llyr Thomas who dropped a fine goal to close the scoring at 20 – 29. The home side worked their way back downfield and resumed their close quarter pressure; but it was to be Aber’s day!

It will be a mystery to Gowerton’s players and coaches that they failed to win this game given the amount of possession and territory they gained. Their pack put the Aber eight under considerable pressure; their second row forwards Soloman and Cherry had dominated their own lineouts and disrupted Aber’s throw-ins. But their team’s finishing was poor.

It would be unfair to single out any individuals from the Aber XV for mention in this fine win. The forwards, to a man, were tireless and the two wingers, Cowdy and Penri, must be congratulated on their tries and overall performance. But it was a fine all-round team effort which proved that games can be won even with limited possession under considerable pressure. Aber took each one of the few opportunities they had and came away with an impressive win.

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