Gorseinon RFC | 1st Team 32 - 28 Aberystwyth RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
17 April 2022 / Team News

Not Quite Enough

Gorseinon RFC 32 – v – 28 Aberystwyth RFC

This was a game that Aber could and certainly should have won. They had the flair and endeavour in their attacks to create four of the most exciting tries they have scored all season, but in the end, it was their poor defence that let them down and gave Gorseinon the game.

Usually Aber can be relied on to defend firmly against anything the opposition can throw at them. But on Saturday, for some reason, it took two, sometimes three Aber defenders to stop one Gorseinon runner. Their manner of tackling too sometimes let them down badly. Too often they tried to stop the hosts’ strong runners by shirt tugging rather than going low. Gorseinon were quick to capitalise on this and used their backs and forwards to make powerful runs at Aber and with two or three defenders tied up in stopping one runner, they usually had men over to threaten outside.

It started positively for Aber with a very well worked try by Matthew Jacobs after good carries by Owain Bonsall and Carwyn Evans. Steffan Rees converted and the visitors were 0 – 7 up in as many minutes. Gorseinon hit back immediately with a try of their own. Aber dropped the ball as they tried to break out of defence; this was quickly snapped up for the hosts to tear down the right wing to score their first try. Their conversion brought the scores level at 7 – 7.

Aber’s second try was made possible by a typically strong burst downfield by Matthew Hughes after he had fielded a long Gorseinon clearance kick. He carved his way through their defence for all of 50 metres before throwing a long, accurate pass to Ian Ellis on the left wing to score. Steffan Jones added a good conversion kick to put Aber ahead 7 – 14.

Again the hosts hit back quickly with a try after a simple chip over Aber’s heads, some sloppy covering and a clear run for the line. The conversion brought the scores level at 14 – 14. Gorseinon went ahead for the first time in the game with a mighty 50 metre penalty kick after Aber had been caught offside. The half-time score of 17 – 14 was a reasonable reflection of the two teams’ performances during the first half during which Aber had largely dominated the set pieces with strong scrummaging and good lineout jumping by Evan Rowbotham and Dan Biggs. Gorseinon however, had ruled the breakdowns with determined rucking.

The hosts’ half time team talk must have emphasised Aber’s weak defending as they stepped up their strong running at every opportunity. This gained them territory and forced Aber into giving away penalties. Gorseinon extended their lead to 20 – 14 with a 30 metre penalty kick after Aber had been caught offside at a ruck.

Both sides now began to bring on their substitutes and this seemed to cancel out Aber’s superiority in the set pieces. The hosts’ effectiveness in the scrums improved hugely and they were able to win all their own lineout balls and often stole the ball on Aber’s throw. But it was another piece of individual excellence from centre Carwyn Evans that restored the lead for Aber. He cut his way through the defence and ran powerfully for 70 metres to score a brilliant try under the posts. Rees’ conversion put Aber back ahead at 20 – 21.

Aber’s final try came after Matthew Hughes came into the line and fed a marauding Dan Binks. With 30 metres left to run and three defenders in front of him a try looked unlikely. But with Aber’s lock back to his best he ran hard, broke tackles and powered his way over for his side’s bonus point try. Rees again added the conversion with another good kick and the visitors were 20 – 28 ahead.

Gorseinon redoubled their efforts with their scrum now putting severe pressure on Aber’s eight and outperforming the visitors in loose play. They ran hard, broke ineffective tackles, offloaded and supported very well to create a try on their right wing. This went unconverted but they were back in the game at 25 – 28. They used more of the same tactics to gain ground and outnumbered Aber this time on the left wing to regain the lead with a converted try at 32 – 28.

Now it was Aber’s turn to show character as they have done so often this season. But it was not to be their day. They got themselves into promising positions but let themselves down. Twice they had thrown-ins five metres out and both times they were outjumped. They had one final opportunity to snatch victory when they broke down the middle of the field and carried to within a metre of the Gorseinon line. Aber failed to get there in sufficient numbers to win the ruck and were penalised for not releasing.

This was a disappointing performance coming towards the end of a difficult, short but successful season. Whereas Aber’s defence has often won them games, on Saturday it was their weakness in this department that contributed mostly to their defeat.   

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