Division 1 West
Crymych 24 Aberystwyth 31
New Crymych coach Neil Machin who took charge of his first game since joining last week will not have learned anything new despite his troops playing superbly well and being a touch unfortunate not to have sneaked a win. Writes Andrew Clarke.
The Preselimen who have often struggled this season against powerful scrummaging teams, have been inconsistent in front of goal, have a knack of not winning crucial line outs and their high tempo, high risk game is prone to the odd interception try from deep.
All these issues came home to haunt them in this splendid game of attacking rugby and contributed to them missing out on what could have been a great escape after they looked dead and buried at one point.
Some of the tries scored by the hosts were out of the top drawer and they had Aberystwyth on the rack late on as they went for glory but they eventually had to settle for both a losing bonus point and a try bonus point.
What will have been obvious to coach Machin is the group of talented footballers he has at his disposal and if his scrum hadn’t creaked so much he would have been looking down the table at the Plascrug men on Saturday evening and not looking up at them in third place.
The hosts came flying out of the blocks with hooker Ifan Phillips at the heart of everything that was good about Crymych and they pushed hard for a try. Outside half Rhys Davies was presented with an early chance to put his team ahead with a penalty but he was just wide with his effort. Back came the hosts but they were hit where it hurts when winger Adam Carvell intercepted a long pass on the visitors own twenty two metre line and he ran in unopposed for a try that was converted by stand off Rhys Thomas.
Crymych playing down the slope hit back within a few minutes when front rower Phillips drove over from close range and this was converted superbly by Davies to put his team level. Aberystwyth gradually came back into the game through their powerful forwards in the shape of Dan Binks, captain Lee Evans and back rower Paul Stubbs but they were knocked back, with one big hit in particular from home skipper Tom Powell epitomising the determination of the home defence.
However there was very little Crymych could do about a driving line out that followed minutes later which led to a try for Stubbs and converted by Thomas but Crymych were given an easy chance to hit back with a penalty in front of the posts but fly half Davies was wide with his effort. The power within the visiting pack started to dictate matters and they went further ahead with a penalty try after the home scrum was dismantled and with just a few minutes to go of the first half and Crymych once again on the ascendency and looking a good bet to score they over threw their line out and the chance was lost.
There was further woe to follow in the second half when Aberystwyth were awarded another penalty try as the hosts scrum fell apart and to add insult to injury full back Gavin Thomas was yellow carded. With the score at 28-7 the hosts were staring at an early Christmas roasting but to their credit they came storming back and played some superb running rugby and reduced the arrears when fly half Davies scored a cracking try when he broke from deep and beat the cover defence to his kick and chase but the conversion was unsuccessful. Another try followed and this was the best of the lot with Davies the creator. The talented number ten sent a pin point high cross field kick straight into the arms of full back Thomas wide out on the try line and he dived over to bring his team even closer. This was converted to put the home team just nine points behind at 19-28 and the excitement was mounting.
Aber replied with another penalty from Thomas before Crymych hit back again with the bonus point try which was claimed by right wing Gethin Gibby who had a fine match, to gift his team a losing bonus point with just seven points separating the teams and two minutes to go.
Crymych launched one final effort with outstanding centre Carwyn Phillips taking the ball up at pace and punching holes in a resolute defence but time eventually ran out for the Preselimen to deny them despite a superb fightback.
The decent crowd were treated to a very entertaining game with both teams providing further proof that there are some good teams in the top half of this division with both the ambition and skills to play running rugby.
Crymych will look back at three penalties they should have kicked in the perfect conditions and which could have seen them sneak a win but Machin will have been impressed by the never say die attitude of his team and some of the sparkling tries that were scored.