Old Penarthians v Cardiff Saracens Match Report
Saturday 15th October 2016
After a week of inactivity because Rhayader could not raise a team for the WRU Bowl fixture it was a return to league action for Old Penarthians 1st XV last Saturday away to Tylorstown. The hosts were undefeated in their three outings in Division 3 East Central (B) and were undoubtedly looking to extend their record.
They were however met by an equally determined Old Penarthians team looking to extend their record to three consecutive victories from five fixtures. The first half started at a tremendous pace with both teams entertaining the large crowd to some very effective rugby combining both forwards and threequarters. The skill level was high from both teams particularly as the wind and rain swept in at about the same time as the start of the match.
And it was the visitors who came out on top of the initial forays with a penalty kick converted by captain Jonathan Crimp, after some good play at the break down by Kaid Hassan, Tom Sidford and Chad Wilson. Three minutes later a kick ahead into the opposition 22 was not gathered cleanly by the defending winger and he spilled the ball forward. Mike Nash was first to arrive and dropping on the ball he managed to pass to Mark Sadler. He found Gareth Clancy on his shoulder and from 20m out his aging legs had enough power to beat the covering defence to score in the corner.
Crimp converted and the Old Penarthians led 10 – 0.
Clancy was to feature again after 24 minutes when he was blatantly charged when trying to take a 22m drop out and the offending prop was ordered from the field for ten minutes, which could have been longer. Playing with 14 men however galvanised the Tylorstown team and they were to spend most of the next 10 minutes on the attack. Good tackling from Rhys Lakin, Joel deClaire and Jack Margetson did prevent Tylorstown from scoring. One offence too many in defence did however see the departure of the Old Pens captain for a ten minute rest.
With Tylorstown back to full strength they eventually muscled over in the corner for a forwards try. For the conversion the kicker started his run up but was interrupted by a colleague moving the touch line flag. Fearghas Gough took full advantage of the distraction and raced forward to charge down the kick.
Half time followed with Old Penarthians leading 10 – 5.
The second half started in even more severe weather but Penarthians again played the conditions well with kicks down field by Clancy and Crimp and strong chases from wingers John Patterson and Nash pressurising the defenders.
On 8 minutes however play was halted when Rhys Blake was left on his knees after a competitive ruck. Blake complained of neck pain and the medical staff from both teams were on hand to ensure that his movements were minimised until ambulance staff arrived. Blake was securely lifted from the field and taken to hospital. After two nights in hospital for scans and observation the Club is pleased to report that ‘Reggie’ has now been discharged.
Whilst treatment was administered the referee had taken the players off the pitch and when play resumed it was the Tylorstown team that were more positive. They attacked the Penarthians line and for the first time in the game the scrummage came under pressure with Hassan having to work hard at number 8 to secure the ball.
The front row of Dave Hosking, Sam Hall and replacement hooker Connor Kavanagh continued to battle and it was with a degree of luck that Tylorstown went ahead after 28 minutes when an attempted chip kick hit a Penarthians player and hopped up into the hands of the Tylorstown centre who went in for a try under the posts. The kick was converted.
A couple of years ago this set back would have disheartened the team but this side is more resilient and they fought back in the last ten minutes to gain the advantage in the opposition half of the field. And from one of those forays 1m inside Tylorstown territory a penalty was awarded with 1 minute remaining. Crimp backed himself to make the kick and with the touch judges flags raised it gave Penarthians a one point lead.
The game was however not over and after two more fierce drives in mid field from Lakin a further penalty was awarded in injury time and Crimp landed his third penalty of the game from 35m for a Penarthians win by 16 points to 12. This puts the team up to fifth place in the league.
Next weekend the first team host Caerau Ely whilst the seconds are also at home to Cardiff Quins. Both games kick off at 2.30pm.
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