7th March 2012, 14:06
Aberystwyth bow out in semi-finals
Aberystywth suffered a narrow loss to Newcastle University 'A' at the
Aberystywth suffered a narrow loss to Newcastle University 'A' at the Semi-Final stage of the BUCS Plate competition.
Aberystwyth came into this semi-final against Newcastle on a high, after winning their previous two-cup games in a confident style showing a clear level of improvement since the beginning of the season. After arriving later then expected in Newcastle due to a falter windscreen wiper and a narrow bridge, Aberystwyth were reduced to a radically shortened warm up of ten minutes. The game was also reduced to 30 minutes each way.
With Aberystwyth kicking off, Newcastle collected the ball and straight away showed their powerful running, which instantly made an impact on the Aberystwyth defensive line. The impact of the seven hour coach journey was soon telling, with a number of miss tackles resulting in Newcastle scoring an early try, with a solid conversion, which resulted in a 6-0 score line.
This early try appeared to be the wakeup call that Aberystwyth needed as they took the game straight back to Newcastle with powerful runs from the forwards including Dave Rogers, Nathan Owen and Rory Maginess-Roberts. The Aberystwyth backs soon got their chance to show what they are made of with some great play between Jack Courtney, Sam Purvis and Josh Simmons. However with a number of mistakes committed by the Aberystwyth team, Newcastle was soon in possession of the ball once more.
Aberystwyth one again showed their defensive skills against a powerful Newcastle attack with some big tackles from Rhod Lowndes, Danny Jamson and Rhys Morgan, all of who showed Newcastle that Aberystwyth was not a team to be taken lightly.
Aberystwyth soon regained possession of the ball and were on the attack, which some superb play from the back line, Simmons was able to go over the line and successfully convert the score, leaving the game level at 6-6.
Aberystwyth soon showed their talent once again with a perfectly weighted kick by Purvis, who placed the ball high in the air for Tom Savage to catch gracefully over Newcastle's try and score to bring Aberystwyth ahead in the game for the first time, the conversion was narrowly missed by Simmons in some very windy conditions, a score line of 6-10.
With both teams pulling out some great runs and huge tackles, the match quickly became a nail-biting affair. The pressure placed upon Aberystwyth soon started to show, as the penalty count began to rise, Newcastle took strong advantage of this and managed to place man and ball over the Aberystwyth try line to secure a try. Shortly after this upset, Newcastle hit the Aberystwyth defensive line hard and a number of missed tackles led to another try for the home team. The score at the end of the first half was Newcastle 18 Aberystwyth 10.
With the second half under way, Aberystwyth fully recognised that they were still very much in the game. The team was also able to take advantage of the wind behind for the half. The opening exchanges saw a number of big runs from Owen, Anthony Creasey and Matt Broad, combined with a great defensive set with huge hits from Rogers, Jamson and Gavin Smith knocking the Newcastle team flat on their back. However a number of handling errors and silly penalties, damaging Aberystwyth's ball possession. Even with these mistakes, Aberystwyth were still playing with a great level of intensity in both attack and defence against the well-drilled Newcastle side.
The tackle of the match from Aberystwyth's own Jordan Brown raised the team's focus and intensity for the remainder of the game.
Aberystwyth were threatening the Newcastle defensive line for large swathes of the second half. Danny Jamson, who took advantage of some sloppy Newcastle defence, crossing in the corner for the opening score of the second half, eventually broke the line. The conversion was missed from a difficult angle by the touchline. The score line now read 18-14.
With Aberystwyth showing a resilient determination to win or go down fighting, the team began to turn the screw on the tiring Newcastle outfit. Huge runs from Aberystwyth's Rogers followed, with close support from Pete Woods and Matt Bartlett.
However, when Newcastle were on the attack Aberystwyth's James Anderson got sin binned for a late tackle on a Newcastle player, resulting in Aberystwyth having only twelve players for ten minutes. Even with a man down, Aberystwyth were not giving up. The team exerted a large amount of pressure on Newcastle, but with a man down they were unable to find a break in the Newcastle line.
When Anderson was able to return to the pitch, it was clear that he wished to make up for his earlier costly mistake and put in a number of hits on Newcastle forwards along with Morgan Brown.
Even with a last minute attempt to find the elusive try that Aberystwyth so badly needed, the full time whistle was blown and the final score was Newcastle 18 Aberystwyth 14.
The team can take great heart and pride from their end of season form, with skill levels and knowledge of the game coming on leaps and bounds in little over a month. Special mention has to given to Rodney Peake who has been instrumental in the turn around in fortunes for the team, with his coaching and invaluable knowledge during training sessions and match days. The team would also like to thank Steve Dingle, Adam McCarthy and Jason Cookson for their help throughout the knockout competition. It is safe to say that we would not have come this far without all of your help.
1 Jack Courtney - Full Back
2 Tom Savage - Wing
3 Rhys Morgan - Centre
4 Rhod Lowndes - Centre
5 Pete Woods - Wing
6 Josh Simmons - Stand-off
7 Sam Purvis - Scrum-half
8 Jordan Brown - Prop
9 Danny Jamson - Hooker
10 Jimmy Anderson - Prop
11 Nathan Owen - Second-row
12 Rory Maginess-Roberts - Second-row
13 Dave Rogers - Loose forward
14 Matt Broad
15 Anthony Creasey
16 Matt Bartlett
17 Gavin Smith