Gowerton RFC | 1st Team 20 - 9 Aberystwyth RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
09 December 2019 / Team News

Frustrating Performance

Gowerton RFC  20  v  9  Aberystwyth RFC

This was probably Aber’s most disappointing performance of the season so far as enforced changes through injuries and illness forced them to field a changed squad. The visitors would probably have earmarked this game as a possible win as they and Gowerton had similar records for the season to date, with five defeats each from eight games played.

However, it was the hosts who triumphed, scoring two converted tries, a drop goal and kicking a penalty, to Aber’s three penalties. The score does not really reflect how close the game was, and it was one that the visitors could possibly have won.

From the start, Gowerton showed the greater determination and put Aber under pressure. In the early exchanges they were stronger in the scrums, more competitive in the lineouts and hungrier in the loose. As a result, it took the visitors some time to settle down. By then, unfortunately, they were seven points down as Gowerton moved the ball smoothly along their back line for Hamer to cut through and  cross for a try that No 10, James converted for a 7 – 0 lead within as many minutes.  

 James then added a drop goal and the home side moved comfortably into a 10 – 0 lead. He scored and converted a try from close range soon after to stretch their lead to 17 – 0. Aber’s only reply in the first half was a beautifully struck penalty kick from 45 metres by outside half Steffan Rees. The half time score of 17 – 3 however, didn’t reflect the effort made by the visitors both in attack and in defence in the first forty minutes.

In this period, possession and territory had been fairly evenly shared, but Aber’s use of the ball was disjointed and untidy compared with that of their opponents. Gowerton were also better at kicking for position and they used this advantage to very good effect.

In the second half Aber’s scrum improved and their loose play became more effective as they won more possession and hammered away at their opposition. Individual breaks by full-back Steff Rees and Paul Stubbs looked promising but they were let down by lack of support. Wingers Carvell and Coulton too had their moments but Gowerton’s covering was too tight to let them through. Injuries and substitutions further disrupted the visitors’ momentum but they outscored Gowerton in the second half. Steffan Rees added two more penalties for Aber, and James replied with a penalty for the hosts to close the scoring at 20 – 9.

Aber will not be at all satisfied with this error-ridden performance. Most 50-50 opportunities seemed to go Gowerton’s way, and too often they disrupted Aber’s lineout ball putting the visitors on the back foot and forcing them to deal with scrappy possession. As a result, they had to rely on good clearance kicks to relieve the pressure.

The bottom half of the Division 1 West table is now very close and competitive, and it is impossible to predict which clubs will survive by the end of the season. Aber will want to improve on this performance and will want to do so urgently if they are to feel comfortable going into the second half of the season. They have two more games before the end of the year; the first, away against bottom-of the–table Pembroke on Dec 14th, and at home against unbeaten Newcastle Emlyn (NCE) on Dec 28th. Having drawn with Pembroke at home in the opening game of the season, Aber will know that they can take nothing for granted in the return match. Home advantage against NCE will help but it will be a very competitive clash. Anxious days indeed!  

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