Yr Hendy RFC | 1st Team 17 - 10 Aberystwyth RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
08 October 2019 / Team News

Almost There.

Yr Hendy 17 – v – 10 Aberystwyth


This was a hard-fought contest between two evenly matched sides and the result could have gone either way. In the end it was won in a moment of alertness by the home side and lack of concentration by the visitors. A quickly taken throw-in by Hendy, after Aber’s full-back Steff Rees had been forced into touch near his line, enabled his opposite number, Morris, to scamper over to score a decisive, match-winning try which he converted.

Aber’s performance was far more disciplined than it had been the previous week and the whole team had to be at their best to contain a well-drilled and much improved Hendy side. Early pressure saw the hosts force a scrum on Aber’s 22 metre line. The ball was quickly fed out by ex-Aber scrum-half, Gruff Jones, and inside centre Mayze burst through to score a well-taken try which was converted by full-back Morris to put Hendy 7 – 0 ahead.

Aber struck back with a Llyr Thomas penalty after Hendy were caught offside at a ruck before Morris restored Hendy’s seven point lead with a penalty of his own.

The handling by both sides was well controlled given the wet ball and the drizzle that fell for most of the game. Possession and territory were evenly shared and both sides varied their attacks in order to create opportunities. That neither side won the initiative was due to relentless covering and tackling by both backs and forwards.

Lee Gower and Lewis Ellis-Jones worked hard for the visitors in both attack and defence before the latter was very harshly yellow-carded for a dubious late tackle. Aber’s 14 men held out for the final ten minutes of the first half to keep the score at 10 – 3 to the hosts.

The second half began in as physical a fashion as the first half had been but Aber more than held their own. Restored to 15 men they put pressure on the hosts and made good ground. This pressure eventually told and Hendy’s No 8 Thomas was sin-binned. Aber then forced a series of strong scrummages near the hosts’ line which resulted in a penalty try. With the score now at 10 – 10 it was anyone’s game.

Neither side could have complained if that had been the closing score, but it was Hendy that seized the opportunity to grab the winning points after a quickly taken throw-in had caught Aber’s forwards napping. The final score at 17 – 10 did not really reflect how close the encounter had been between these two evenly-matched sides. A losing bonus point was scant reward for Aber’s efforts.

Throughout the match Aber’s forwards scrummaged well with William Lewis maintaining his good form at loose head prop. In the line outs, Lee Gower and Dan Binks won a lot of ball including some steals on Hendy’s throw-in. In the loose, the visitors’ back row of Gower, Ellis-Jones and Bryn Shepherd covered well but Aber were unable to win any turnover ball. Strong counter-rucking by Hendy meant that the visitors often won ball under pressure. In general, the hosts’ forwards showed greater physicality in loose play than the Aber eight.

Behind the scrum, Charles Thomas, making his first start at scrum-half, had a good game and his distribution was impressive. But Aber were unable to gain the penetration in mid-field that was once a strong feature of their game. When they were able to make ground, the moves often fizzled out either through failure to offload or lack of support. But in defence, Aber matched the hosts behind the scrum and Hendy were forced to resort to high kicks in attack. Steff Rees at full-back had his work cut out in fielding these kicks but he managed this very well. Hendy’s main attacking strength was on their left wing where Havard was a constant threat whenever he had the ball.

Division 1 West is now a very competitive arena and, without a win so far this season, Aber are languishing too near the bottom of the table for comfort. They have played some good rugby in these opening games but have little to show for their efforts even though the results have been close.

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