14 September 2019 / Team News

Error strewn display by Emlyn


In the first meeting between these two teams for four seasons the game unfortunately did not live up to its expectations. It proved to be a scrappy affair as the fluency and accuracy the home side displayed last week against Gorseinon was sadly lacking. Numerous moves fizzled out due to the final pass not going to hand or the loss of the ball in contact. That the better side won was not in doubt but the margin and style of the victory will have given the visitors some confidence for return fixture.

There were a number of plus points for the red and whites not least in the play of the front five against a far bigger and heavier Aberystwyth unit. The front row of props Emrys Davies and Dexter Thomas alongside hooker Lee Griffiths were solid at scrum time and Griffiths’ throwing in at the line out was exemplary as time after time he found his target. Second row Chris Ludgate again had an impressive game not only with his line out work but his huge work rate around the field as his speed around the field makes him an extra flanker. Credit must also go to his fellow second row Gareth Thomson who had to come on as a replacement for Dan Havard who suffered a nasty looking knee injury after only two minutes. Against much bigger opponents neither gave an inch and often manged to steal or disrupt the ball on their opponents throw.

The early injury to Havard upset Emlyn’s early rhythym and everyone hopes the dynamic forward will make a rapid recovery, and it was the visitors who were pressing in the early stages of the match. Having only conceded three penalties all game last week Emlyn found themselves transgressing far too often and this allowed Aberystwyth to exert pressure on the home line. Emlyn’s defence comfortably dealt with the first incursion but working their way up to their own ten metre line they were again penalised at the ruck and Aber outside half Mathew Hughes drove them back to within five metres of the home line. From the ensuing line out Aberystwyth went through a series of rucks until eventually centre Carwyn Evans was accredited with the try, well converted by scrum half Llyr Thomas.

This galvanised the home side into action and they proceeded to dominate the rest of the half both in terms of territory and possession. Unfortunately they were only able to cross the visitors’ line once and what an excellent try it was. From a line out centre Teifion Davies broke through the Aberystwyth defence, linked with the supporting Shaun Leonard who had support runners either side of him. He chose to pass inside to the supporting outside half Sion Edwards who sprinted some twenty metres to score a try converted by Leonard.

With a steady stream of possession coming their way it seemed to be only a matter of time before Emlyn scored again. An excellent break by inside centre Andrew Owens looked certain to bring a score but scrum half Mike Jones was just unable to cling on to the inside pass. The try scoring potential of side was plain to see and the Dol Wiber faithfull eagerly awaited the next score. A combination of poor passing, dropped passes and wrong options combined with a determined visitors defence thwarted the home side on a number of occasions. Emlyn eventually extended their lead with five minutes left in the half, when full back Shaun Leonard converted a penalty kick from some thirty five metres out.

The second half proved to be a pretty dire affair with the visitors taking every single opportunity to slow the game down and disrupt any Emlyn attempt at continuity. It seemed like every time the ball went out of play an Aberystwyth player needed some sort of treatment. They did in fact score first in the half when once again Emlyn fell foul of the referee at the contact area and Llyr Thomas brought the score level with a relatively simple penalty kick.

There was not a great deal to talk about in the second half as a litany of errors by the home side kept the visitors in the game. Emlyn’s forwards stuck to their task in the tight and half way through the half Leonard regained the lead for the home side when Aber were penalised at a scrum for standing up as they were unable to handle a powerful drive by the home pack.

Powerful carries by Emlyn number six Elliot Rees often came to nothing as the visitors just managed time and again to stop the off load. Replacement scrum half Dafydd Evans brought some extra energy to the home attacks and was unlucky not to score on two occasions. The first time on a counter attack from inside their own half initiated by Dafydd Rotie, Evans found himself outside winger Llyr Jones whose potential try scoring pass sailed over Evans’ head into touch. The second time some lovely inter-passing between forwards and backs saw the ball reach Evans. He cleverly grubber kicked through and looked certain to score only for the referee to deem that he had actually dropped the ball and award Aber a scrum under their posts.

Emlyn did extend their lead with some five minutes of normal time remaining when a flowing backs move saw Leonard enter the line. When the space in front of him was closed down the full back kicked ahead and won the race for the touchdown for a try which he duly converted. To their credit Aberystwyth came back at the home side, and though a number of their potential attacks were snuffed out by an aggressive home defence right winger Rhys Douglas did cause some problems late on in the match. Indeed they did have an opportunity to gain a losing bonus point but scrum half Llyr Thomas missed with a relatively simple penalty kick in the ten extra minutes added on to the half.

In the end the home side had to settle for just the win but it is symptomatic of the attitude and ambition of this squad that they themselves were highly critical of their performance. Next week they play Yr Hendy in the first round of the WRU Plate at home and they will be presented with yet another formidable challenge from a side who have done a great deal of recruiting over the summer months.

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