Old Penarthians v St Albans Match Report
Saturday 24th September 2016
After a week of rest when Old Penarthians 1st XV were not engaged in the first round of the WRU Bowl competition it was a return to league action away to St Albans in a Division 3 East Central (B) match. The last time Old Penarthians had enjoyed success in this fixture was in 2010 but it was to be a happy return six years later as the team travelled home with a much needed victory by 24 points to 21.
The match started with Old Penarthians playing with the advantage of a fairly strong wind but any help from that quarter was lost initially because St Albans had a dominant scrummage that prevented any ball reaching the threequarters. And it was from pressure exerted at the scrum and ensuing forward pressure at the rucks and mauls that led to two easy penalty kicks for the Buns outside half Mike Thomas within the first 9 minutes.
At this point the visiting spectators and coaches Simon Hurley, Anthony Davies and Curtis Taylor were fearing the worst but to their credit Jonathan Crimp’s men knuckled down and decided that a forward tussle was not in their best interests.
An open game played in the opposition half was the preference and from a long kick down field by Crimp the home defence was harassed by Simon Davies and Chad Wilson. They regrouped and with the support of the forwards St Albans recycled the ball within their own 22. They quickly saw that there was a numerical advantage on the right hand side of the field and decided rightly to exploit the opportunity. Unfortunately for the Buns they had not anticipated Mike Nash’s quick thinking and he intercepted a pass to run in a try unopposed for Crimp to convert and give Penarthians a 7 – 6 lead.
From the kick off a clean catch by Tom Sidford was set up well by the supporting forwards to earn a scrum. Against the run of play St Albans were penalised at the set piece and Gareth Clancy took a quick tap. He passed to Joel deClaire who set Nash away down the left hand touch line. Nash stepped inside and was tackled on the opposition 22 but he had sufficient support for the ball to be passed quickly along the threequarters and Mark Sadler sent the scoring pass to Simon Davies. Crimp again converted a great team try.
The style had been set and when St Albans were again penalised when attacking Davies took a quick tap penalty and after making yards kicked deep into opposition territory. This time the defence did not recover quickly enough and were bundled into touch giving an attacking line out on the 22m line.
The ball was cleanly won by Rob Rees from a Reggie Blake throw in and the ball moved quickly to the backs by Clancy. A pass from Crimp meant for Rhys Lakin hit his chest but still went backwards to Wilson who juggled slightly but retained control to muscle through the defending fullback to score under the posts. Crimp’s conversion made the score 21 -6 after 25 minutes.
The half however ended with Rees receiving a yellow card for an off-side offence when his team were again under pressure and Thomas stepped up to kick the penalty to make the interval score 21 – 9.
Ten minutes without one of the forwards meant that the pack that was already under pressure was further tormented and eventually replacement number 8 Mike Neale scored a try for a Thomas conversion to follow.
The coaches decided that a pack reshuffle was required and stalwart props Gary Bishop and Lee Brennan were replaced by Tony Kemp and Luke Crockett. Jack Margetson was also used to replace the unfortunate Rees.
This did give a little more stability but it was always going to take a defensive effort to ensure that the Old Pens stayed with the advantage and that effort proved effective despite some lapses in kicking from Davies when put under pressure from teammate Jason Ahmed. Eventually field position was gained after deClaire, Lakin and replacement flanker Matt Sutton had broken out of defence and from a rare visit to the St Albans 22 a penalty was awarded that Crimp kicked to give the visitors a two score advantage.
This advantage was eroded with the last play of the game when Robert Cooper scored a try for the home team. Penarthians deserved their 24 points to 21 victory due to their adventurous play but their forward unit will have to put in a lot of hard work in the week leading up to their next fixture.
In the second team game away to Rhiwbina thirds the fourteen players who made the trip put up a valiant performance and only trailed by 10 points to nil at half time with Scott McCarthy and Paul Jones performing very well. Tired legs could not however compete in the end and Rhiwbina won by 36 points to 7. Alex Lewis scored the Penarthians try, converted by McCarthy.
Next weekend first team play at home to Cardiff Saracens, who also won their first league game of the season last week, and the seconds travel to Caerau Ely. Both games are scheduled to kick off at 2.30pm.
There doesn't appear to be any tagged photos.
Please wait as the server processes your request. Do not attempt to refresh the page.