Llanelli Wanderers RFC | 1st Team 17 - 36 Aberystwyth RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
03 April 2022 / Team News

Bonus Point Win on the Road

Llanelli Wanderers RFC 17 – v – 36 Aberystwyth RFC

On a dull, still and showery day Aber travelled down to Llanelli to face a young Wanderers side. Although the hosts currently sit low down in Division 1 they have put in some impressive performances. The previous week they had run unbeaten Newcastle Emlyn close in a high scoring game, so they were not to be taken lightly.

Wanderers kicked off playing downhill to start a scrappy opening phase where Aber’s poor handling spoilt a few scoring chances. Outside half Steff Rees put Aber on their opponents’ five metre line with a beautiful diagonal kick from which the visitors should have scored. But the hosts defended stubbornly, as they were to do throughout the match. Lee Truck, back to his best at No 8, made a few storming breaks down the middle forcing the Wanderers to tackle desperately, often giving away penalties in the process. After early resistance, Aber eventually ruled the scrums and competed well in the lineouts through Efan Rowbotham and Dorian Jones.

It was from a penalty five metres from the home tryline that Aber opened the scoring.  They chose to go for a scrummage and a snap shove gave their blind side flanker Dylan Jones a clear gap to cross for their opening try, converted by Rees. The Wanderers replied immediately with a well-supported  break for their right wing to score. His try was converted by No 10 Lewis Jones to level the score at 7 – 7.

The hosts tried hard to break Aber’s defence with powerful runs down mid-field; but the visitors’ tackling was too good. Aber were working hard to gain territory but all too often, poor handling saw opportunities go begging. Close Wanderers’ defending tempted Aber to try long overhead passes. These, too often failed to find their target and the visitors were lucky that none were intercepted by the advancing defenders.  

Aber’s second try was a carbon copy of their first. A five metre scrum, a powerful drive and this time it was open side flanker Steffan Rattray who picked up and scored. The conversion failed but Rees succeeded with a superbly struck 45 metre penalty kick after the home pack had been driven back in a scrum near the half way line. The Wanderers then replied with a penalty of their own after an Aber forward had deliberately knocked on, to bring the score to 10 – 15 on the stroke of half-time.

The visitors now had the slope and dominance in the scrums in their favour, but again poor passing  and careless handling in general spoilt many chances. Their tactic of kicking for position was right but the Wanderers’ full back and their No 10 kept pegging back Aber in their own half for much of the time. Full-back Matthew Hughes put his team in strong attacking positions with long accurate kicks. It was from such a kick that Aber scored their third try when Wanderers’ were caught near their line as they tried to break out of defence. Aber got possession and a driving maul saw Lee Truck touch down and Rees add the conversion for Aber to move to 10 – 22.

The hosts recovered possession from many of their restarts by racing to the short kick-offs and palming the ball back. This deprived the visitors of good ball with which to attack. But Aber now had their tails up and put pressure on the hosts’ line. When Wanderers were penalised for a high tackle Aber opted for a scrum on the five metre line. After another powerful shove Lee Truck scored his second try of the afternoon. Rees’ conversion took the score to 10 – 29. Aber’s fitness now came into play and another attack eventually penetrated the Wanderers’ defence for Ian Ellis to score. Another excellent kick from Rees closed Aber’s account at 36 well-earned points.

In the closing stages Aber decided to cheer up the home fans with some really sloppy play. Passes went astray and some of the options taken baffled home and visiting supporters alike. This was such a let-down after their efforts up to that point that it was almost a relief when the Wanderers scored a converted try to end the game at 17 – 36.

Next Saturday will see Aber facing their toughest test of their league season so far when they entertain unbeaten Llangennech. The last time these two sides met was in pre-Covid times when Aber came away with a win after Steffan Rees kicked a penalty in the dying seconds of the game. The visitors will not have forgotten that and will be out for revenge at Plascrug. (9th April 2022, ko 2.30).     

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