Gorseinon RFC | 1st Team 22 - 17 Aberystwyth RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
28 April 2019 / Team News

So Near

Gorseinon 22 – v – 17 Aberystwyth

Aber travelled down to Gorseinon for what was the last game of the current season for both clubs. Before the game they occupied consecutive places in Division 1 West, both on 61 points but with the hosts, having won one more game than the visitors, were one place ahead in fourth position. Matches between these two clubs in the past have always been close with the margin always in single figures. So a hard contest was expected on Saturday.

With the ground in very good condition but with a strong breeze blowing down the field, Aber, again with players missing and a number of positional changes, kicked off playing into the wind in the first half.

In the early stages it was clear that the visitors were handling the ball with more accuracy and confidence than in recent weeks. They also competed well against a heavier and taller Gorseinon pack in the set pieces. They stole lineout ball on a few occasions but the hosts evened matters by being more disruptive in the scrummages and in the loose.

Behind the scrum too, the hosts threequarters were bigger and more powerful than their Aber counterparts. So with such advantages throughout their team, the hosts tore into Aber and it required very good tackling to deal with them. Unfortunately some of this tackling was too high and ineffective against bigger opponents. Gorseinon should have been ahead within a few minutes of the start but the ball was knocked forward at the last second. Aber too had their chances early on and Ben Jones came close to scoring in the corner after some good interpassing down the blind side. 

It was the hosts that opened the scoring as they stole possession at an Aber lineout 35 metres out, and passed the ball along their backs. Full-back David Rees came into the line and scored a try on an overlap. Jack Gronow converted to put Gorseinon 7 – 0 ahead.

Aber went on the attack from the restart winning loose ball but often losing it again through lack of support and powerful tackling by their opponents. Storming runs by captain Arwel Lloyd, James Plumridge and Paul Stubbs gained ground but came to nothing as the Gorseinon forwards tackled and counter-rucked very vigorously. Unusually, Aber lost possession on at least three occasions when the opposition wrestled the ball from the carrier in the tackle to launch their own counter-attacks. Gronow added a penalty to extend ther hosts’ lead to 10 – 0.

The visitors’ first points came when Dorian Jones stole a Gorseinon throw in at a lineout 30 metres out.  The ball was fed out to Daniel Havard who made ground before putting in a chip ahead. The ball bounced and the wind brought it back into the arms of Steffan Bonsall, well up in support, to score under the posts. Steffan Rees converted to close the gap to 10 – 7 at half-time.

A strong force of supporters had turned out to cheer Aber on and they fully expected that the advantage of a slight slope and a strong wind would enable their team to go on to win the match. When Steffan Rees put over a penalty to level the scores it looked as if their expectations would be realised. But Gorseinon had other ideas, and, as so often happens, the team playing into the elements worked harder than their opponents. Gorseinon tore into Aber with their heavy forwards making good ground against tiring and weakening tackling.

Strong bursts by their forwards, fierce rucking and good support running eventually told, as their progress upfield was rewarded by a try and conversion by Gronow. This put them back in the lead at 17 – 10.

As powerful bursts by the hosts took their toll on Aber’s strength, the tackling became less effective. The visitors were forced to defend desperately as Gorseinon were camped near their line for long periods. From a scrum on the 5 metre line inside centre Steel went over to extend their lead to 22 – 10.

Aber gained some consolation and a losing bonus point as the tireless Carwyn Evans burst through the middle to score under the posts for Steffan Rees to convert and take the final score to 22 – 17.

The season as a whole has been satisfactory, with only two away games won – both against the two bottom clubs. At times, Aber have played some excellent, entertaining and skilful rugby. But on other occasions have let themselves down with careless handling and tactical naivety. Coaches and players alike will know that too many games that were there for the taking, were lost, and that when Aber can field a settled side consistently, they can match any side in Division 1.

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