23 October 2018 / Club News

5 tries and a bonus point!

This week we welcomed newly promoted and table toppers New Panteg. After last week’s game falling victim to Storm Callum the boys were chomping at the bit to get out there and put a firm marker down against a team who have started the season brightly. With both teams coming into the game with a 100% record, Aber knew they had to bring their A game to the table.

With the game being played in perfect conditions, Aber were aware New Panteg’s young pacey back line would cause a threat. Aber on the other hand fielding a huge pack would be looking to strangle New Panteg of possession and grind them down up front.

The first 20 minutes was a battle between the 10’s, New Panteg striking first with the early penalties to take a 6-0 lead. It took 15 minutes for Aber to get to the pace of the game, but once their big pack started carrying the visiting side begun infringing at the breakdown. With a kicking percentage into the 90’s this season, any penalty inside the oppositions half would most likely lead to 3 points from the boot of Lampy. And so it proved. Three penalties all slotted over in quick succession and Aber took a 9-6 lead.

With the game slowly beginning to break up, it was backrower Kenzie who spotted a bit of space out wide. A beautifully floated pass put Abers gas men in some space in the wide channels – with tries being left out there in previous games it was fantastic to see the first try scoring opportunity finished brilliantly by young winger Macaulay. Aber stretch their lead to 10 points, 16-6.

This really was turning into a game worthy of 2 unbeaten teams, with very few errors. Both defences were strong and it would take a lot for either side to score tries. Proof of the skill levels on show it took over 30 minutes for only the 2nd scrum of the game to pack down. This was an area of the game Aber were looking to target, and it was no surprise when our monster front row marched the New Panteg pack backwards, inevitably ending in a penalty to Aber. Lampy again lethal with the boot to give Aber a now commanding 19-6 lead.

With half time fast approaching, Aber were looking to maintain their well-earned 13 point lead. New Panteg with their first real phase of possession showed how lethal they could be – a strong carry in midfield allowed them to generate fast ball which caught the Aber defence out. Aber were slow to retreat and were caught offside in mid field. The New Panteg 10 maintaining his 100% record with the boot and the teams go in at half time 19-9.

With the ball being in play for such a long period of time in the first half, Aber knew the younger New Panteg team would finish strongly. Aber had to freshen up a few of the tired legs in the pack to keep pace with the game. With fierce competition in the Aber squad this season, the quality coming off was replaced with quality coming on – a real privileged position for any team to be in.

Aber started the 2nd half strongly, with an early scrum Aber continued with their dominance winning a penalty. The penalty was kicked to touch just outside the oppositions 22, a great attacking platform for Aber. The line out was won and tipped off the top to give the backs an opportunity to show the damage they could do. Centre Clarkey comes crashing on to the ball from out wide on one of his kamikaze angles to slice straight through the New Panteg defence – within touching distance of the line the cover defence drags him down but with support on his inside shoulder back row Kenzie finishes off a fantastic team try. 26-9.

Abers discipline had been fantastic all game, so it was a shame to see a crazy 5 minutes spell conceding 4 needless penalties on the bounce allowing New Panteg to go from one end of the field to the other. Giving away easy territory and possession to a quality outfit like Panteg is asking for a trouble. Aber defended the driving maul 5 meters from their line well, and it took a further 4 phases of strong carrying by the New Panteg ball carriers to finally breach the Aber line to go in at the corner. The conversion was slotted over from the touchline and the score line was brought back to 26-16.

With 20 minutes to go the game was still up for grabs. Yet another penalty scrum to Aber just inside the halfway line gave Lampy another opportunity to extend the lead to keep New Panteg at arm’s length. 29-16.

The hard work done by the Aber pack was starting to take its toll on the now tired looking Panteg forwards. Aber were awarded a scrum on the 22, and even from this far out the pack were looking to really turn the screw and finish the game off. As had been the theme of the game, the Aber pack were marching towards the line and inevitably another penalty was awarded, this time 10 meters from the line. Aber could either take the certain 3 points to take the game past 2 scores, or they could trust their scrum to go for the full 7. They chose to pack down. Another monumental shove and the ref had no option other to award the penalty try. 36-16.

The game was all but won, and Aber now had their sights set on a bonus point.

As Aber tried to exit their 22 from the kick off, a loose kick gave New Panteg another opportunity to attack. Every time Aber thought they had the game done and dusted New Panteg would come back and show they were not about to roll over as they cross the line for their 2nd try of the game and brought the game back to within 2 scores yet again. 36-23.

With 10 minutes left on the clock there was all to play for, another try for New Panteg would bring them within 7 for a losing bonus point, but another try for Aber would give them the BP win. Fresh props were brought on for Aber, and with another dangerous looking scrum deep in New Pantegs 22 the outcome was the same, a controlled demolition of the Panteg pack resulted in yet another penalty try and the well-deserved 4 try bonus point for Aber.  43-23.

With only minutes left to play, a loose kick from the New Panteg 15 finds its way to Spartans hands where he goes on mazy run up the middle of the field. After beating 2 defenders he links up with Clarkey who pops off to full back Liam Matthews. Liam proving too powerful and too fast for the tired defence and strolls in from 40 meters to take Abers total to 50 points.

Despite the seemingly one sided score line, this was a demonstration of all the things being worked on in training culminating into one fantastic display by the boys. Without trying to sound patronising, New Panteg are a very strong team and I am sure they will be fighting out for promotion come the end of the season. Unfortunately for them they caught us on one of our best days.

Special mentions go out to each and every player, from the starting XV, to the bench, and to the boys who didn’t make the match day squad. It’s the collective attitude by each and every player which is driving this squad forward. Man of the match however goes to Lampy, who along with his total tally of 21 points, consistently put his stronger pack in the right positions of the field allowing them to inflict the damage they did.

We face our biggest rivals this Saturday as we travel the mile up the road to face Markham. Despite them having a poor start to the season, I’m sure the privilege of playing an unbeaten outfit will draw players from far and wide out of retirement.

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