Aberystwyth RFC | 1st Team 7 - 0 Yr Hendy RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
07 December 2015 / Team News

Aber successfully weather the storm

Aberystwyth 7pts  Hendy 0

In the wake of Abigail and Clodagh having pronounced effects on Plascrug rugby in November, so storm Desmond took hold on Saturday afternoon as both sides struggled in a frustrating game of rugby. The previous storms have not deterred Aberystwyth from try scoring performances worthy of bonus point victories, but Saturday saw a different style of rugby match: Hendy had come to spoil, and spoil they did very effectively to deny Aber their usual try haul.

The home side soaked up an early onslaught from Hendy but when they broke away from their own half their forwards soon showed their dominance over the visiting eight and exerted relentless pressure, repeated penalties near the right touchline resulting in scrum after scrum as Aber edged ever nearer to the Hendy line. It was inevitable that a score would come but the patience of Gwaun-cae-Gurwen referee Jonathan Fairhurst was broken before the home side got over the line as he awarded them a penalty try after some ten minutes. Aber skipper Jason Rees’s conversion attempt had enough power to go through the uprights, but the strength of the winds was exemplified perfectly by the ball’s trajectory afterwards as it arced perfectly to the programme sellers by the entrance rather than the far end of the car park. Aber’s dominance in the scrums continued and Hendy were suffering not only by the frequent penalties conceded but also by injury. In the perverse way of modern rugby it was Aberystwyth’s dominance that led to their demise for the rest of the afternoon as, by the half hour, the visitors had sustained three front row injuries and the rest of the match was played with uncontested scrummages. Hendy’s game was now focused on denying the Aber backs possession and spoiling any that they did get and, in fairness, they did this well for the 50 minutes remaining. This inevitably resulted in successions of penalties and the visitors also received their first yellow card five minutes before the interval, but with the scoreline at 7-0 at the break it was anybody’s game.

It was certainly not a day for goal kickers – both sides tried their luck at various times however but with absolutely no success. Hendy earned their second yellow card some ten minutes into the second period and they continued with their gameplan, but for a period after that Aberystwyth seemed to lose their patience somewhat and started conceding penalties themselves as they got onto the wrong side of Mr Fairhurst; indeed they got a yellow card just on the hour. Minutes later Aber were reduced to thirteen as  a retaliatory blow brought out the yellow plastic once again; to add to their frustrations the original offence went unpunished and this did nothing to the morale of the players or to the reactions of the crowd.

Territorial domination was almost total in the second half for the home side but they were denied time after time in their advances towards the line. And with such a slender lead there was always a chance in that wind that a freak gust could create a breakaway or two and that they could have lost the game. But they stuck to their guns and gave it their all to the end, attacking repeatedly whilst also guarding their defences.  They fully deserved their 7-nil victory, but in normal circumstances would have scored many more points.  Aberystwyth’s natural game is one of entertaining rugby and, it must be said, they are not particularly adept at coping with so-called static scrummages (a clear misnomer at times on Saturday). The media hype about forward injuries however means that uncontested scrimmaging is here for the foreseeable future to cater for unfortunate situations; its increasing frequency however does nothing for the entertainment value of the game.

This result means that Aberystwyth remain in second place in League 2 West at Christmas time, as next week gives way to the second round of the SWALEC Plate competition. In recent years this competition has been acutely regionalised in the first three rounds, but the WRU this year have decided to revert to a national format from this round onwards. And so next Saturday sees Aberystwyth travelling to Pontypool United (ground at NP4 6HL), who play in the parallel Division 2 East. In common with all Cup and Plate matches that match kicks off at 2pm.  Meanwhile the Youth XV are scheduled to entertain Tenby United at Plascrug. The 1st XV’s League programme continues on Boxing Day when they make the journey to Tregaron for the first time in a competitive League match.


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