29 December 2019 / Team News

A Hard-fought Victory for the Red and Whites

Aberystwyth 7 Newcastle Emlyn 21   Emlyn made their first visit to Plascrug for several seasons for this encounter against Aberystwyth in Division 1 West. The firm ground and dry weather provided ideal conditions for running rugby which is what the Red and Whites endeavoured to do from the outset.

Emlyn kicked off with the home team safely collecting the ball and kicking it back into the visitors’ half. The Red and Whites showed their intent by moving the ball through the hands with some excellent interplay between backs and forwards. The pressure on the Aberystwyth defence eventually told and Emlyn were awarded a penalty for killing the ball. Unfortunately, winger Dan Davies’ kick went wide of the posts.

The Aberystwyth drop out was gathered and the ball went through the hands again and kicked to touch when the home defence closed down the space. The lineout went with the throw and Aberystwyth cleared the ball to the Red and Whites’ half allowing them to develop another attack, moving the ball quickly through the hands from one side of the field to the other. The speed of the attack and slick passing eventually opened up the home defence allowing outside half Llŷr Davies through to score Emlyn’s first try. Dan Davies made no mistake on this occasion taking the score to 0-7 after 7 minutes.

Aberystwyth regained the ball from the restart and set up an attack using their forwards which eventually resulted in a penalty as Emlyn tried to slow the ball down. The home side attacked again from a lineout but the solid Red and White defence kept them in their own half, eventually turning the ball over allowing full back Llŷr Freeman to attack down the left touchline. Freeman was brought down by a high tackle and Dan Davies took a quick tap penalty, the ball again moving quickly through the hands and after several phases opening a gap for Llŷr Davies to cross the try line and touch down within inches of where he had scored his first. The try was again converted by Dan Davies taking the score to 0-14.

Emlyn attacked again from the restart with Freeman kicking to touch deep in the Aberystwyth half. The home side secured the ball from the lineout and kicked down field. A knock on by Emlyn gave them the scrum and their forwards again carried the ball through the phases but the visitors’ defence forced the error with a knock on giving a scrum to the Red and Whites.

Emlyn again moved the ball back and forth across the field but a fumble resulted in an Aberystwyth scrum. The attack through the forwards was repelled by the Red and White’s defence and ended with the ball being spilled and cleared down field by Emlyn. The visitors’ forwards worked hard in the maul following the Aberystwyth lineout to win a scrum. The Emlyn attack was halted when the home side’s hard-working number 8, Lee Gower, got his hands on the ball in the tackle and was awarded a penalty for holding.

Aberystwyth’s throw into the resulting line out by hooker Geraint Evans was deemed to be not straight by referee Darren Randall giving the Red and Whites the scrum.  Emlyn kicked the ball ahead as their attack broke down and it was quickly gathered by Aberystwyth outside half Llŷr Thomas who, in a change of tactics, kicked the ball deep into the Emlyn half. The kick was chased by the home side’s outside centre Siôn Cowdy who’s pace beat the Red and White defenders as he gathered the ball to score under the posts. The conversion took the score to 7-14.

Their try had given Aberystwyth the fillip they needed and they continued their attacks moving the ball through the forwards and backs. The Red and Whites continued to defend but eventually conceded a penalty following one of the home side’s drives. Unfortunately for Aberystwyth the throw into the lineout was again not straight allowing Emlyn to kick upfield. Back came the home side but yet again the move ended with a knock on. Aberystwyth now had the upper hand in the scrum and the Red and Whites found it difficult to clear. Number 8 Brynmor Jones carried the ball from the base of a retreating scrum time after time to secure possession and provide opportunity for the clearing kick. It was a great relief for the visitors to hear the half-time whistle having held out numerous determined attacks. Jones later left the field with a suspected hamstring injury.

In the second half Aberystwyth continued where they had left off using their heavier forwards to pummel the Red and Whites’ defensive line but the home team’s handing errors gave Emlyn the opportunities to regain possession and clear through the boot of replacement full bach, Shaun Leonard.

So, it continued with each team’s defence working hard to counter attacks until the ball was turned over and then mounting their own attack in response.

With 10 minutes to go the deadlock was broken when winger Llŷr Freeman perfectly timed his run to intercept a pass during another Aberystwyth attack and sprinted from the half way line to score Emlyn’s third try. The longer kick was converted by Shaun Leonard taking the score to 7-21.

Despite the score, the home team’s heads did not go down and they persevered with their attacks. When Emlyn eventually turned the ball over and Shaun Leonard kicked to clear, back came Aberystwyth testing the defence yet again.

As the clock neared 40 minutes the Red and White defence again repelled a determined attack, the forwards celebrating as they eventually regained posession and passed it to Shaun Leonard who hoisted it high over the dead ball line as the referee blew his whistle to signal the end of the match.

Emlyn had maintained their winning run in Division 1 West in the last match of 2019 and will hope that this form continues during 2020.

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