Old Penarthians v Wattstown Match Report
Saturday 10th September 2016
Last Saturday Old Penarthians entertained Wattstown in a WRU Division 3 East Central (B) fixture in which the match ball was sponsored by Ken Langley. Since the heady days when Wattstown played at the (then) Millennium Stadium in the WRU Bowl Final, the club has seen a couple of league relegations and only three players from that side remain. They were however in a higher division last year and brought with them an understanding of playing in a more competitive league.
That greater experience in the key positions of number 8, scrum half and outside half were ultimately the difference and saw Old Penarthians lose by 27 points to 12.
The game could not have started in a more unfortunate manner when the Wattstown kick off was not fielded by the Old Pens forwards allowing Wattstown control of the ball and giving away an immediate penalty. The Wattstown outside half, Matthew Lewis, stepped up and from 35m slotted home the kick.
It did not take long however for the home team to impose their intent and several attacking moves were launched through the threequarters with Nathan Facey only just brought down when he thought he may be through the defence.
On ten minutes however the forwards created a platform at a ruck through Tony Kemp, Chris Cobbold and Matt Sutton and Gareth Clancy broke to the blindside. He passed to Rhys Lakin, who put Tom Sidford into space. Sidford broke the line at speed and gave a scoring pass to Fearghas Gough who touched down for a try converted by Jonathan Crimp. Old Pens led by 4 points.
That lead was to last only as long as the Wattstown kick off when this time the ball was caught but the home team were penalised for ‘sealing off’ the ball at a ruck. Lewis from almost the same position on the field kicked the penalty.
The Penarthians scrummage in the first half was functioning very well with the Wattstown pack always under pressure and much credit must go to the front row of Sam Hall, Connor Kavanagh and Gary Bishop. And it was from a penalty award at a scrum that a kick to the corner and a line out won by Joel deClaire led to pressure on the Wattstown tryline on the right hand side of the pitch. Eventually the ball was released to the threequarters and good link play between centres Mark Sadler and Lakin put Facey through at pace. He then sent a final pass to first team debutant Mike Nash in for a fine try wide-out on the left hand touchline. The conversion was unsuccessful.
Unfortunately that lead did not last until the interval when with three minutes of injury time played at the end of first half came probably the defining moment of the match when a unnecessary penalty was conceded 5m from the home tryline and quick thinking from scrum half Callum Hutton saw him ‘tap and go’ and score a try which was converted by Lewis for a Wattstown half time lead.
The second half started well with Old Penarthians again attacking the Wattstown defence and it was from an attacking position in the Wattstown 22 that a move broke down and Wattstown took advantage with some smart passing and a kick ahead. The defence seemed to have it covered but fast arriving winger Ben Coles beat everyone to the touch down. Lewis again converted from the touchline to make the score 20 – 13.
The game then ebbed and flowed but it was generally Wattstown that were winning the forward exchanges as the Penarthians lack of fitness in certain areas began to show. New players, Rob Rees and Luke Crockett brought a little more impetus and in fact Rees had a 30m run through midfield but at the crucial time lacked sufficient support from his team mates.
The final twists in the game came on 35 minutes when Clancy took a quick penalty inside the opposition 22 when a kick at goal to bring the team within seven points and the possibility of a bonus point and renewed impetus was perhaps a better option. Then with three minutes remaining another kick ahead from Wattstown ran over the tryline and Hutton was adjudged to have sufficient downward pressure on the ball and a try was awarded for Lewis to complete a faultless afternoon with a conversion making the final score 27 – 12 to the visitors.
There is no first XV game this weekend as the club were awarded a bye in the first round of this season’s WRU Bowl competition. The seconds do however have a home fixture scheduled to kick off at 2.30pm in an East District Cup match against Barry 2nds.
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