Newcastle Emlyn RFC | 1st Team 20 - 10 Aberystwyth RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
16 September 2019 / Team News

Great Effort

Newcastle Emlyn  20  - v – 10 Aberystwyth

This contest between Newcastle Emlyn (newly demoted from the WRU Championship) and Aber took place in perfect ground and weather conditions. Emlyn had trounced Gorseinon the previous week whereas Aber had struggled to earn a draw against newly promoted Pembroke. A large contingent of Aber supporters turned up for the occasion and were treated to an entertaining encounter.

The hosts kicked off and from the start the game was very evenly contested both territorially and in the amount of possession each side gained. It became apparent that Aber had learned a lot from the previous Saturday’s disappointing performance as they contested more fiercely and made far better use of the possession they won. In the scrummages they were equal to the Emlyn eight in every respect but in the lineouts there seemed to be a misunderstanding between thrower and jumpers as, throughout the game, too much Aber ball was either lost or delivered very untidily.

Behind the scrum, No 9 Llyr Thomas fed out possession neatly but Aber’s distribution along the back line was made difficult by the pressure and physicality of the hosts’ backs. The experience of a few seasons playing at a higher level helped Emlyn vary their game with skill and better understanding. However, although Aber’s backs lacked their opponents’ fluidity and smooth handling, their tackling and covering made sure that the hosts failed to penetrate. In defence, the visitors to a man, tackled and covered very well and earned a few turnovers in the process.

Sadly, in the early exchanges, Emlyn’s No 4, Daniel Havard, who played for Aber last season, was injured and took no further part in the game.

A penalty kick took Aber to within five metres of the Emlyn line. From the resulting lineout the forwards interpassed closely for Paul Stubbs to force his was over to open the scoring with a fine try. Llyr Thomas converted and the visitors were 0 – 7 ahead.

Emlyn came back hard at Aber and it took some very gutsy tackling and fine relieving kicks to halt their progress. The hosts’ first points came from a poorly organised Aber lineout throw where possession was stolen for the ball to be fed along the Emlyn backs. The Aber backs kept them out until  No 10, Sion Edwards, found a gap to cross for their first points. Full-back Shaun Leonard converted to level the scores at 7 – 7.

Honours remained even until Leonard kicked a 30 metre penalty to move Emlyn 10 – 7 ahead. As half time drew closer the hosts stepped up the pressure but a relieving kick from Aber took off the pressure. At that point an altercation between Aber centre Jack Rees and the hosts’ winger saw Rees yellow-carded. At half time Aber were only three points down and were very much in the game.

Even with only fourteen men the visitors started the second half well. They won good ball and attacked vigorously. The pressure told and they were awarded a penalty which Thomas put over from 35 metres to even matters at 10 – 10.

Emlyn soon regained the lead with another Leonard penalty from 35 metres after Aber’s scrum had been put under a lot of pressure. At 13 – 10 it was still anyone’s game, but it was the hosts who sealed the win with a controversial try. As they attacked down the left flank full-back Lennard followed up a chip ahead to touch down. The try was awarded despite the appearance of a knock-on in the grounding. He converted his try to close the scoring at 20 – 10.

Towards the end of the match, Aber lost skipper Arwel Lloyd with a shoulder injury and their scrummaging suffered as a result. But although Emlyn did all they could to add to their score, determined defence kept them out.

This was a much improved performance from Aber. Their defending, throughout the team, and their powerful scrummaging were encouraging aspects to build on. Improved lineout work and greater penetration in the threequarters could make this team formidable opponents for the remainder of the season.  

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