Aberystwyth RFC | 1st Team 25 - 25 Pembroke RFC | 1st Team
Barrie Alderman-John
1 Try
Thomas Harding-Jones
1 Try
Toby Smith
5 Penalty

Match Report
09 September 2019 / Team News

Two Points Lost

Aberystwyth 25 – 25 Pembroke

The first act of the new season was to pay our respects as a club through a minutes silence prior to kick off to Brian Pugh Jones and Eiry Davies who both passed away recently. As a club we send our sincere condolences to both families.

With a lovely sunny day and a pristine pitch the Aber supporters were looking forward to the opening league encounter and with a new experienced coach in charge expectations were high. The opponents Pembroke were a bit of an unknown quantity in their first season in Division 1 West but they gave a very good account of themselves and could consider themselves unlucky that Aber were able to snatch a draw at the end of the game

The Pembroke outside-half Toby Smith played a very influential part in the game and he opened the scoring with the first of his five penalties after Aber were penalized for a very dubious tip-tackle. One of the features of Pembroke’s play was the way they looked after the ball at close quarters by moving the ball out of contact quickly thus bringing a lot of continuity to their attacks. Their first try was a prime example of this with a prolonged attack down the right which concentrated the Aber defense which winger Tom Harding-Jones outflanked to score in the corner. This galvanized Aber into action and they were awarded an eminently kickable penalty but they opted to kick for touch deep in the Pembroke 22. They won clean line-out ball, drove effectively and after two or three drives they released the backs for centre Dylan Evans to burst through on a short pass to score by the posts. Llyr Thomas converted to make the score 7-8. Pembroke scored next when after another prolonged effective attack down the right they moved the ball across the backs for left winger Barry Alderman-Jones to score in the corner. The Aber scrummage was gradually gaining the upper hand and Aber won a penalty for Llyr Thomas to convert. Toby Smith not to be outdone kicked another penalty after Aber were penalized for contesting illeagally on the floor. The next Aber try was a beauty when following a short 22 drop-out Lee Gower burst on to collect the ball and made good ground before being tackled, Aber recycled quickly for Bryn Shepherd to make a lovely break, Aber again recycled quickly and moved the ball to the right where Dorian Jones gave a lovely pass to put James Coulton over in the corner. This made the half-time score 15-16 to Pembroke who on balance deserved their lead. The Aber defense were having to work hard to contain the Pembroke attacks and it is to their credit that Pembroke were unable to score any more tries in the second half. Toby Smith however nudged them further ahead with two penalties to lead 15-22. Aber inexplicably missed a glaring overlap when they kicked the ball instead of putting through the hands but they made amends with Carwyn Evans making a clean break and fed co-centre Dylan Evans who was tackled just short of the line. From the ensuing scrum Mathew Hughes made a neat break to score wide out. Pembroke completed their scoring with another Toby Smith penalty after Aber were penalized, not for the first time, for not releasing the ball on the floor. Where were the support runners? The big Aber pack were now stamping their authority on proceedings forcing Pembroke to concede penalties and Paul Stubbs as his want took a quick penalty and burst through a couple of attempted tackles to score a bonus point try. Crucially the conversion was missed and the game ended as a 25 all draw. Aber crucially secured a bonus point for their four try haul but they will not be happy with their performance. Their scrum got more dominant as the game wore on and can justifiably feel aggrieved that the referee treated Pembroke’s retreating scrum so leniently. Aber will need to play with a lot more direction and purpose and be far sharper in supporting the ball-carrier and play a lot more heads-up rugby if they are to succeed in this unforgiving league.  

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