Tenby United (10) 17 Aberystwyth (10) 25
Following on from the previous evenings amazing recovery, and win in Paris, FBM sponsored Tenby United took to the field on a bitterly cold afternoon hoping to repeat what Wales had done to France and while the performance in the first half promised a potential repeat, the second half was for some unknown reason a completely different picture with the promising start not being maintained. Players started to fall off tackles, there was far too much aimless kicking and worryingly on two counts the ball being regularly lost in the tackle and the penalty count against Tenby was extremely high, breaking up any continuity and momentum that was trying to be created.
With six different players from last weeks excellent showing against Llangennech, the side selected showed one or two positional changes along with one or two of the more regulars returning to replace the Youth players who had a promising outing last week. The side also contained young Billy Truman – the latest of the local Truman clan following on from Harry (his great granddad) of the early 20/30’s era – who was capped twice by Wales in 1934 (the first Tenby player to be capped by Wales) and again in 1935, both games against England …. Michael (Tatty) – his granddad of the 1964-83 era playing 52 games, Neil – another Tatty (his dad)…1985-2005 putting the red and black shirt on 347 times…and also from the family – Harry’s cousin Les (1947-56 and 72 games) – ….. and finally Jason – brother of Neil (1990/91- playing just the one game) – a tremendous family tradition and lets hope young Billy is not the last of the family to proudly trot out onto Heywood Lane.
In front of a sparse crowd, no doubt impacted by the continuous 6 nations rugby being shown on TV over the weekend, the visitors kicked off away from the scoreboard end, with the gusty breeze in their favour – with three late changes from the team in the programme, and despite the initial threat of a Tenby attack involving Luke Dedman, Jack Broadhurst and Jack Tucker it was Aber who troubled the scoreboard operators first when their first real attack, aided with a badly missed tackle in the centre, ended with fullback Llyr Thomas crossing for a try and an early 0-5 lead.
Recovering from this early reverse Tenby cobbled together one or two attacks and tested the visitors defence to the full with efforts involving Mike Davis, Huw Evans, Jack Tucker, Ben Pugh and Aaron James with the chip kick over the visitors defence attempted several times to break the deadlock, but to no avail. Tenby’s persistence paid dividends eventually however when a superb break by Moritz Neumann, from deep in his own half, saw the burly centre outpace the scrambling defence and crash through the remains of the stretched Aber defence and cross the whitewash for a great try, which was converted by Lloyd Thomas taking Tenby to a 7-5 lead. Unfortunately this lead was very short lived as from the restart, and again aided by a missed tackle in the centre, it ended with wing Ian Ellis crossing wide out giving the lead back to Aber at 7-10.
Encouraged by the words of captain Luke Dedman, while the conversion attempt was being made, Tenby went straight on the attack with Ben Pugh, Jack Broadhurst, Luke Dedman, Lloyd Thomas and Aaron James all involved ending with referee Simon Rees awarding a penalty for a high tackle resulting in Thomas levelling the scores to 10-10 with an excellent penalty.
The remainder of the half seesawed between the two sides with both sets of three quarters unable to breach the defence of the opposition, with the several bouts of pick and go’s by the forwards being met with a similar outcome. Kicking by Tenby was getting more erratic as the half progressed and referee Rees blew for half time when the worse kick by a country mile was put in, close to the Aber line, after Shane Rossiter, Moritz Neumann, Luke Dedman, Jack Broadhurst and Rob Luly had combined and created a 3 on 2 situation, with the ball sailing high and wide into touch – a very disappointing way to end the half.
As young centre Ben Pugh had ended the half limping he was replaced by Billy Truman as the second half got underway with Aber utilizing their big trio of second row and their number eight forwards to punch holes in the Tenby defence and it needed some well organised defence, including a steal at a maul, to keep their line in tact.
The pressure paid dividends as an horrendous kick from a defensive position, called the exit move in the modern game, went in field, allowing fullback Llyr Thomas to set up the situation from which centre Dylan Evans slid over the try line, extending the lead to 10-15. The lead was added to within minutes as some more slack home defending saw centre Matthew Hughes going over, again extending the lead, even further to 10-20; a situation
which got worse for Tenby as within minutes burly second row and skipper Arwel Lloyd went over for try number five stretching the lead to 10-25. Tenby were thankful that number ten Stefan Rees had left his kicking boots up in Ceredigion as he missed his fifth conversion of the afternoon.
Tenby used the bench during the second half with Mike Davis being sent out on the wing for Ashley Murdoch, with his place at flank being taken by Charlie Patching, and in the pack Wyndham Williams replaced Huw Evans and in the front row Ethan Morgan was replaced by Jack Davies and as the game dragged to a close, Tenby became camped on the Aber line for the last ten minutes or so trying to narrow the scores with a series of pick and goes, along with some one out charges for the line. But despite all the effort put in, the Aber defence held firm, but was eventually pierced when the ball was slickly passed along the backs with centres Moritz Neumann and Billy Truman combining, with some beautifully timed passes, to put wing Jack Tucker clear of the last defender, to crash over right in the corner. With a superb conversion Lloyd Thomas closed the scores to 17-25 as referee Rees blew for time.
Another narrow defeat but in terms of performance this was more of a backward step when compared to the recent games and no doubt with a two week break before they trot out at Heywood Lane against league leaders Felinfoel, the coaches would have worked on some of the mistakes spotted during this latest encounter.
Scorers Tenby: Tries: Moritz Neumann and Jack Tucker. Lloyd Thomas 2 x conversions and a penalty
Aberystwyth Tries : Llyr Thomas, Ian Ellis, Dylan Evans, Matthew Hughes, Arwel Lloyd
Tenby:- Aaron James, Ashley Murdoch (Charlie Patching), Moritz Neumann, Ben Pugh (Billy Truman), Jack Tucker, Lloyd Thomas, Shane Rossiter, Ethan Morgan (Jack Davies), Dan Allen, Rob Luly (Rob Clark), Huw Evans (Wyndham Williams), Tom Barrass,Luke Dedman (capt), Mike Davis, Jack Broadhurst
Aberystwyth:, Llyr Thomas, Dylan Evans, Matthew Hughes, Ian Ellis, Tommy Stanford, Stefan Rees, Gruff Jones, Oisin Canney, James Plumridge, Arwel Lloyd (capt), Dorian Jones, Steffen Bryn,Tom Kenco Evans, Daniel Binks
Reps:, Steffan Wyn, Lewis Ellis Jones, Dylan Llewellyn, Rhodri Jones