16 May 2022 / Club News

Season Ender

Aberystwyth RFC 22 – v – 36 Llangennech RFC

Aberystwyth lost their final game of the season at home on Saturday. The hosts, missing key players injured in the final of the Pembrokeshire Cup the previous Wednesday, faced a considerably ‘strengthened’ Llangennech team, anxious to top the Division 1 West table in this disrupted and difficult season.

Aber took the lead after five minutes when outside half Steffan Rees was fed the ball from a ruck inside his own half. His neat chip over the heads of the advancing visitors’ threequarters, and a favourable bounce, enabled Jac Jones on a fast follow-up to pluck the ball out of the air and sprint for a try that Rees converted to put Aber 7 – 0 ahead.

The hosts backs were then caught offside on the half-way line and Llangennech found touch on Aber’s 22 metre line. Winning the lineout the visitors moved the ball out for their inside centre to storm his way over for a try under the posts. The conversion brought the scores level at 7 – 7. The home side regained the lead when the visitors were penalised for collapsing a scrum on their 40 metre line. A huge kick by Steffan Rees put them in front by 10 – 7. This was short-lived as Llangennech kicked a penalty after Aber’s backs had been caught offside. It was 10 – 10 with less than fifteen minutes on the clock.

Aber had the wind behind them and both Steffan Rees and full-back Matthew Hughes used it well to put their side in strong attacking positions. But it was the visitors who were next to score as they won a scrum near the half-way line. They went through a few phases before strong running and good support helped them score a beauty of a try. This went unconverted but they now had the lead for the first time in the game.

The home side replied with a clever try of their own as Bryn Shepherd won a lineout on their 40 metre line and Rees put in a beautifully measured crossfield kick for right wing Ben Jones to field and race over for Aber’s second try. The score was level at 15 – 15 and it was anyone’s game. It was the visitors who scored next after Aber were penalised for a high tackle and their successful penalty made it 15 – 18. They added another shortly after as Aber’s urgent approach increased their penalty count. Llangennech had big powerful runners in their lineup and their strong breaks brought out the best in the hosts’ defending. In a 30 metre breakout from defence by Ben Jones the ball was fed out to Carwyn Evans who offloaded to Dylan Benjamin but Aber were then penalised at the breakdown for not releasing and so the half time whistle went with the score at 15 – 21.

The second half started with much the same pattern as the first half as both sides made errors and gave away penalties. In this respect Aber suffered more than their opponents. Llangennech kicked another penalty to take the score to 15 – 24. They went further ahead when they profited from a promising Aber attack. Aber failed to hold on to a pass and lost possession. The ball was moved out swiftly and accurately for the visitors to score their third try of the game. This went unconverted but it increased their lead to 15 -  29.

Aber lost centre Carwyn Evans mid way through the second half in a collision after he had made a powerful break. This disrupted their flow but did nothing to weaken their resolve. They were rewarded as Steffan Rees, receiving the ball from an Aber scrum, put in another accurate Crossfield kick. This was very well caught by Dylan Benjamin who made ground before feeding Ben Jones who ran hard for over 20 metres to score Aber’s third try. Rees added the conversion and brought his side to within striking distance of their opponents at 22 – 29.

It looked as if the hosts would succeed in restricting Llangennech to this lead and deny them the top spot in Division 1 West; but in the final few seconds of the game the visitors moved the ball to the right and as the carrier seemed certain to score he was tackled into touch by an Aber defender. Unfortunately this was deemed to have been a ‘no-arms’ tackle and the referee awarded the visitors a penalty try to give a final score of 22 – 36.

Aber fielded a relatively young starting XV and the average age became lower as replacements were brought on. The future does indeed look bright; as these players mature they will consolidate their places in the team. On the day, Aber can be grateful for the enormous contribution made by outside half Steffan Rees. His composure and timing shone through for the whole 80 minutes of the game. All three of Aber’s tries came from his instant spotting of opportunities and his accuracy in placing the ball exactly where his team-mates could field his kicks and score tries. The final score hides the fact that the whole of Aber’s squad played their hearts out against very strong opposition and can hold their heads up that they were not at all overwhelmed or subdued. At the end of this season the club finished in fourth place in Division 1 West having played ten and won six games.

Sadly, this was Matthew Hughes’ final game for the club as he leaves the area shortly. His entertaining brand of rugby, his strong running, his versatility and his clubmanship will be sorely missed by Aber’s supporters and by his team-mates.


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