Aberystwyth RFC | 1st Team 31 - 28 Whitland RFC | 1st Team
Ian Ellis
Try 1
Dylan Evans
Try 1
Steffan Rees
Conversion 1
Penalty 3
Owain Bonsall
Try 1
Steffan Rattray
Try 1

Match Report
28 November 2021 / Team News

Revenge Win

Clwb Rygbi Aberystwyth RFC 31 – v – 26 Whitland RFC

By winning this home match at Plascrug on Saturday, Aberystwyth 1st XV extended their run of home wins to 24 months – helped of course, by the intervention of a long lockdown.

The recent extreme weather conditions wrote off two of Saturday’s six scheduled Div 1 games giving the table an odd appearance by the close of play. Consequently, since the opening game, Aber had moved up from seventh position with two points, to second place with seven.

Whitland had been the only club to beat Aber in the latter’s recent triumph in the WRU District H Plate competition, so a tough contest was expected on Saturday – and that is exactly what the hosts got. The visitors started strongly and went 0 – 3 ahead through a Setaro penalty. Aber stepped up a gear and through strong scrummaging and rucking earned a penalty for Steff Rees to bring the scores level at 3 – 3. Setaro replied with a penalty to put Whitland back in the lead at 3 – 6. Aber were then awarded a penalty to put them within striking distance. They won the resulting lineout and moved the ball out along the line. Matthew Hughes, coming in from full-back, put in a chip kick for Ian Ellis to gather and run strongly for the hosts’ first try. This went unconverted but Aber were ahead by 8 – 6.

Both sides were generous in giving away penalties before the home team pulled themselves together and mounted concerted drives in the loose. A lineout 10 metres from the visitors’ line gave Aber a chance to set up a rolling maul. They drove powerfully for Steffan Rattray – improving with every game -  to score Aber’s second try. Steff Rees converted and Aber increased their lead to 15 – 6. The hosts maintained their hold on the game from the restart and, after a number of powerful rucks, earned a penalty and an opportunity for another attacking lineout. A neat catch and drive saw Owain Bonsall cross for an unconverted try to give Aber a 20 – 6 lead at half-time.

Although Whitland rallied from the restart it was Aber’s strong scrummaging that helped them gain ground and to put pressure on their opponents. This approach eventually paid off as they earned a penalty which Steff Rees put over to extend the hosts’ lead to 23 – 6.  Play on both sides was scrappy at this stage but it was the visitors who got the breakthrough as their backs penetrated Aber’s defence for scrum-half Setaro to score a try at the base of a touchline maul. He converted his try to bring the score to 23 – 13. He then put over another penalty to close the gap even further to 23 – 16.

Whitland now had their tails up, sensing a chance to seal a sensational comeback. The ball was fed out from a scrum near mid-field and close passing among their backs saw them cross for a converted try that brought the scores level at 23 – 23. The two sides then traded penalties to bring the score to 26 – 26 with only three minutes of the game remaining. Aber’s winning try was the result of untidy play from which the home side won possession on the half way line. Winger Ian Ellis made a break and, after a close exchange of passes, Dylan Evans touched down in the corner for Aber’s bonus point try. It went unconverted but the hosts were finally home and dry at 31 – 26 having scored four tries to two.

Aber’s coaches will be pleased with an encouraging bonus-point win against strong, competitive opposition, but less pleased with the way Whitland came close to overturning a sizeable half-time deficit and gain a draw at least. There were too many strong performances from among the home team’s ranks to name them all but it was very pleasing to see Steff Rees make a solid return to the team with accurate place kicking in difficult conditions.      


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