ABERYSTWYTH proved too strong for Swalec Division Three West side Cardigan as they marched on into the final of the Pembrokeshire Cup, where they will face newly-promoted Tenby at Crymych on Friday, 12 May.
The Cambrian News reported “The semi-final was played in very dry ground conditions, with a strong end-to-end wind behind the visitors.
Aber used the wind intelligently to gain good field positions and used this pressure to force a succession of scrummages deep in the home half.
It was clear from the first scrum that the visitors’ eight were too strong for the Cardigan pack, and they chose this option when they were awarded penalties early on. It was from a strong drive that No 8 Lee Evans picked up and drove across the line near the posts to score Aber’s first try.
Steff Evans converted and Aber were 7-0 ahead within 10 minutes.
The visitors were winning the lion’s share of possession at this stage and a quick, intelligent tap penalty by Paul Stubbs caught Cardigan napping as he fed Matthew Hughes who jinked over for Aber’s second try. Evans converted for a 14-0 after 15 minutes.
This was followed by a period of sustained pressure from the home side, and after some good inter-passing stand-in No 8 Sion Hughes who took the place of injured skipper Llyr Griffiths, crossed for a try that was very well converted by scrum half Luke Rogers to make the score 14-7.
Possession and territory was evenly shared for the next period, but it was Aber who were next to score. A superb clearance kick from winger Coleman found touch near the home 22m line. Aber stole possession and the ball was fed out to Carwyn Evans, who made an excellent break. When he cut inside he found Gruff Jones in support to score the try of the match.
Rees successfully converted and Aber were 21-7 ahead at half time.
Any hopes Cardigan had of using the wind to come back into the game in the second half were quickly dispelled as Aber scored two early tries.
The first came from a break by Lee Evans from a ruck. The ball was fed out to centre Steff Rees to score an excellent try. The conversion failed but Aber had extended their lead to 26-7.
Llyr Thomas put in a long clearance kick into the wind from Cardigan’s kick off and when Aber stole the ball from the resulting lineout Paul Stubbs and Dan Binks made ground.
The ball was fed out to Hughes, who made a break for Llyr Thomas to cross wide out to make the score 31-7.
Aber based much of their game on their strong scrummaging and gained territory and possession by dismantling the home pack in this phase of the game. The next score came from such a situation as Jones fed Hughes from a scrum 20 metres from the Cardigan line. Centre Steffan Rees came in on the burst at an angle and was unstoppable as he scored under the posts. Rees converted for a 38-7 lead.
To their credit, the home side did not relax at all in the face of this onslaught and gained just reward when Hughes went over for his second try. Rogers converted the score, and they went into double figures at 38-14.
Both sides made full use of their substitutes, and it was Aber’s centre, Tom Slinger who scored their final try. After some smooth inter-passing Llyr Thomas fed Slinger who burst through his would-be tacklers to race 40 metres to score under the posts. Rees converted for a score of 45-14.
This was a tougher challenge than the score suggests and it took a good performance from Aber to win.
For Cardigan their numbers 10 and 12 were a constant threat and the whole team’s tenacity kept Aber on their toes. The visitors’ scrum was strong and solid, but honours were more even in the lineouts. But even if the forwards created the platform for this victory, it was the backs who entertained and impressed most.
The half backs of Jones and Hughes played their usual accomplished games and the back three were rock solid. But it was centres Steffan Rees and Carwyn Evans who impressed most for the visitors. This was their best game of the season as they tore the opposition apart with darting runs and some fierce acceleration as Aber ran out convincing winners” here.