Stanford hat-trick seals glory for Seasiders
6:30pm Saturday 5th May 2012 in County News
Aberystwyth 14-23 Tenby United. A first half hat-trick from right winger Simon Stanford ultimately proved the difference as Tenby United upset Aberystwyth to win the South Hook LNG Pembrokeshire Knockout Cup.
Stanford's treble came in the opening 21 minutes as The Seasiders made a scintilating start at the King George Vth Memorial Ground in Cardigan.
They then had to repel an Aber fightback to deservedly claim the cup for the first time since 2002.
The Seasiders were ahead after just 41 seconds after Aber scrum half Llyr Thomas kicked loosely into midfield. Tenby full back Sion Brace counter attacked and after a series of phases, Tom Lewis floated a wide pass to flanker Richard Rossiter, who combined with second row Luke Dedman to put Stanford over in the corner. Outside half Lewis was wide with the conversion.
Despite playing into a strong wind, The Seasiders threatened again just five minutes in when a Lewis cross-field kick nearly fell into the path of Brace.
But moments later they were on the scorsheet again.
After skipper Nicky Guymer opted to take a scrum from a penalty 10 metres out, a run around move in midfield saw centres Dai Meyrick and Toby Smith combine to put Stanford over again.
Lewis was off target with the conversion but made ammends with a simple penalty after Aber had been penalised at their own scrum.
From the resultant re-start the Tenby pack were penalised and Aber had their first sight of points - but scrum half Thomas was off target with his attempt.
Lewis then came up short with a 40 metre effort but just a minute later The Seasiders were celebrating once more.
A barnstorming run by Sam Smith, in which the No 8 took contact three times, set up a platform from which Lewis chipped into the hands of Stanford - who beat Aber full back Sion Summers and went under the posts. Lewis converted and at 20-0, the game appeared over.
But Aber finally got on the board 24 minutes in with a Thomas penalty in front of the posts.
Despite having winger Matthew Green sin-binned for killing the ball, the division two side then came into the game.
Flanker Llyr Morris, who was adjudged man of the match, and skipper and prop Prys Lewis were to the fore as the Aber forwards began to attack the Tenby defensive line.
Thomas added two further penalties to cut the deficit to 20-9, before his side delivered a hammer blow before half time.
With 40 minutes up on the clock and Aber in their own 22, outside half Ifan Thomas opted to chip ahead and centre Rhodri Richards gathered the bouncing ball, sped upfield and fed Green who dived over at the corner.
But The Seasiders turned around with the wind after the break and Lewis put over a simple penalty to calm the nerves.
Thomas was then badly off target for Aber with a 30 metre attempt before a crucial moment.
Tenby skipper Guymer was sin-binned for a technical offence and after Ifan Thomas kicked the resultant penalty to the corner - a big Aber forward drive for the line was thwarted by a superb tackle and steal from flanker Roy Osborne.
Tenby nearly went further ahead when Toby Smith took a quick tap penalty and fed Stanford, who was thwarted by the cover defence.
At the other end, Summers was unlucky not to control his own kick and chase before Aber earned a scrum five metres out. Replacement No 8 Dylan Llewellyn was held up just inches short, before centre Paul Stubbs spilt the ball in midfield.
With Guymer back on the field and time running out, Lewis then began to pin Aber back with some intelligent kicking.
Aber did however, have one last chance when Richards sped up the touchline but was denied by a great cover tackle from Toby Smith.
Lewis was then short with a long range penalty attempt in injury time, but just moments later the outside half hammered another penalty into touch and referee Martin Lewis blew the final whistle to kick-start Tenby celebrations.
Aberystwyth: Sion Summers, Matthew Green, Rhodri Richards, Paul Stubbs, Richard Read, Ifan Thomas, Llyr Thomas, Tom Pluck, Geraint Rowlands, Prys Lewis(capt), Gethin Hughes, Bryn Sheppard, Gareth Flynn, Llyr Morris, Dan Binks. Replacements: Rhun Morgan, Matt Watkins, Paul Buck, Dylan Evans, Dylan Llewellyn, Rhys Jones, Llywarch ap Myrddin.
Tenby: Sion Brace, Dan Colley, Dai Meyrick, Toby Smith, Simon Stanford, Tom Lewis, Jason Scarf, Rob Clark, Nickey Guymer(capt), Jeff Martin, Luke Dedman, Lawrence Brits, Richard Rossiter, Roy Osborne, Sam Smith. Replacements: Johnny Palmer, Joe Lewis, Jack Guerreiro, Jimmy Davies, Wyndham Williams, Justin Richards, Will Crackford.
Referee: Martin Lewis.
Assistant referees: Jason Ludgate and Colin Phillips.