12 May 2022 / Club News

Narrow Defeat

Pembrokeshire Cup Final 2022.

Aberystwyth RFC 23  - v – 31 Crymych RFC

Haverfordwest RFC was the venue of this year’s Pembrokeshire Cup final. The finalists, both Division 1 West sides, had met a few weeks ago when Aber had easily beaten a weakened Crymych side. They expected a much more stern test from a fired up opposition in the final, and that is exactly what they got. This was a closer game than the score suggests with neither side giving an inch. In the end it came down to which side created the better chances, made more of those chances and executed better. On the day, that was Crymych.

Pitch and weather conditions at Haverfordwest were ideal. The ground slopes slightly but this advantage was cancelled out by a stiff breeze that blew up this slope. In the first half Aber had the slope and Crymych kicked off with the wind advantage. Possession was evenly shared in these early stages, as was territory. Aber’s scrummaging was stronger but lineouts generally went with throws. Both sides’ defences were strong and there was little scope for any opportunities through midfield. In the loose, Crymych’s forwards were fast and hungry for possession and they kept the ball very efficiently after winning it.

Llyr Thomas at scrum half, Steffan Rees outside him and Matthew Hughes at fullback all put in well measured kicks which were aggressively followed up, especially by winger Ben Joness, but Crymych’s cover was too well organised to allow Aber to gain much from these attacks. Both sets of backs threw the ball out smoothly but pressure from the opposition centres gave Aber’s centres few opportunities to break through. Aber seemed to become frustrated and gave away too many penalties in the first quarter in their eagerness to take full advantage of their opportunities.

It was from a penalty and winning lineout that Crymych scored their first try following a number of phases near Aber’s line. Their openside flanker scored the try and the full back added the conversion to put them 0 – 7 ahead after fifteen minutes. The full back added a penalty shortly after to increase their lead to 0 – 10. To their frustration, Aber were working their way into good attacking positions only to lose ground by giving away penalties. When things went well for them they showed what they could do as Steffan Rees put them down near Crymych’s line with an excellent penalty kick. The ball was spread out across the field for Rees himself to score and close the gap to 5 – 10.

Aber’s scrum was now well on top of the opposition eight and gained a lot of possession which took them deep into Crymych’s half. After fielding an Aber kick they set up a ruck and broke up the blind side. Their outside centre accelerated into space and chipped ahead. The ball was well caught by their left wing who then ran through to score a well taken try. This too was converted and Crymych moved into a 5 – 17 lead. A powerful run to claim the ball from the restart led to a collision between Aber’s Ben Jones and Crymych’s open side flanker. The latter was stretchered off the field and Jones was yellow carded.

Crymych were now fired up and soon scored their third try after a powerful catch and drive, which put Aber back defending their line, led to a try near the posts. Another successful conversion widened their lead to 5 – 24 at the interval. The first half had seen strong running from Matthew Hughes at full back, Carwyn Evans at centre and from both wingers. Aber’s forwards too did their best to break through Crymych’s defence, but this had held firm.

In the first half it had been Aber who gave away the most penalties. In the early part of the second half it was Crymych who transgressed most and Steffan Rees took advantage with two mighty penalty kicks from the tee, one from 42 metres and the other from 50 metres, to close the half-time score at 11 – 24.

Again Crymych hit back, turned the tables on Aber’s pack, and a strong scrummage took them over the tryline to touch down for their fourth try.  The conversion extended their lead to 11 – 31. From the restart Aber fought back into the opposition half and a quick tap penalty by Lee Truck saw him gain ground before passing to Will Caron, on to Charles Thomas and finally to Dan Binks who fought his way over from ten metres for Aber’s second try. Rees’ conversion brought the score to 18 – 31. This try crowned an excellent performance by Binks. His lineout work was excellent, he fielded restarts very well indeed and was prominent in the loose with strong carries.

Aber scored their third try after Rees had again put them within five metres of Crymych’s line with a lovely kick. A catch and drive failed to cross the line and a series of rucks took them infield. The ball was spread out and a beautifully timed miss pass gave Ben Jones the try that he had worked so hard for throughout the game. The difficult conversion was missed and the scoring ended at 23 – 31.

Aber’s players, coaches and supporters will of course be disappointed with the result, but they would probably concede that, on the night, Crymych just about deserved to win the game even if only due to their ability to turn pressure into points.


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