Old Penarthians v Caerau Ely Match Report
Saturday 22nd October 2016
Old Penarthians 1st XV returned home last Saturday after a well-deserved victory away to Tylorstown the previous week to play a Division 3 East Central (B) league fixture against Caerau Ely. The side were without regular half backs Gareth Clancy and captain Jonathan Crimp but experienced campaigners Simon Davies and Lloyd Davey were more than capable deputies.
Unfortunately Davey’s return to action for the first time this season lasted as long as it took for him to start the match with a kick and run across field to miss a tackle before he injured his knee again and was replaced by James Williams. This caused a reshuffle of the threequarters with Rhys Lakin moving to outside half and Williams to the centre.
This disrupted the initial phases of play and the Caerau forwards dominated the exchanges and it took a collective defensive effort led by Tom Sidford and Matt Sutton on the goal line to prevent a try being scored.
Once composure had returned it was the Old Penarthians who asserted themselves in all phases of the play. The forwards were well served at scrum-time by Sam Hall, Dave Hosking and Callum Wingren and the line out was efficient with Jack Margetson and Joel de Claire contributing good possession for the backs.
It was however to be a forward orientated drive from a lineout that saw the home team push the Caerau forwards back towards their own line. Eventually Wingren broke free and when he was held up Sutton was on hand to barge his way over for an unconverted try.
The Caerau restart did not travel the required 10 metres and a scrum was awarded to Old Pens. The ball was won cleanly and de Claire passed to Davies. He found Fearghas Gough in acres of space and he took the ball into the opposition 22 on the right hand side of the pitch. When he was tackled he found support from Chris Cobbold and Margetson and they secured possession for the ball to be spread quickly across the field for Mike Nash to score relatively unopposed. Chad Wilson converted.
It was now all Old Pens and from a series of penalties awarded against Caerau Ely Lakin kicked for territory inside the opposition 22. Two lineouts were won comfortably by de Claire and when the pressure was applied from a driving maul Cobbold was the last man up claiming the touchdown. Wilson again converted for a 19 - 0 lead.
This was to be the half time score but two further tries went begging, when first Sidford barrelled his way through the defence and threw the perfect pass to the supporting Mark Sadler as the Caerau full back moved in to tackle. Unfortunately Sadler dropped the pass with the line at his mercy. The second try was missed when at close quarters Margetson obstructed the opposition and the referee disallowed a Hall try, which would have been his first for the senior team.
The second half started in a similar manner with Penarthians securing enough ball and territory and trying to play some expansive rugby but mostly the moves fizzled out. One exception after 20 minutes saw Nash appear in the midfield with a chance to attack the opposition. He kicked ahead and under pressure from Nash and Davies the Caerau fullback was ushered into touch five metres from his tryline. The ensuing line out was caught by de Claire and from the maul Cobbold peeled off for his second try.
Caerau attempted to respond through their threequarters but a poor pass went to ground on half way. Nash was quickest to react and he hacked the ball ahead and won the foot race to collect the ball and score under the posts for Wilson to convert and a comfortable 31 point to nil lead.
That was however to be the last comfortable part of the game for the home spectators as Caerau dominated the last ten minutes and scored three tries through Ian McCoy (2) and Dwayne Eyles, with Nathan Camilleri converting two. This was a lack of concentration by the players that dampened the spirits at the end of what should have been an emphatic performance.
The result did however lift the Old Penarthians to second place in the league, one place behind undefeated leaders Cefn Coed who disposed of the Wattstown challenge in their top-of-the-table clash.
It is worth recording that on the adjoining pitch at Cwrt-y-vil the second XV were enjoying a dominant performance against their Cardiff Quins opposition which they maintained until the final whistle winning by 108 points to nil. Ellis Spear was the star, scoring seven tries from outside centre, which could have been one more had he not passed to George Kynaston allowing him a hat trick of tries.
Next Saturday the 1st XV are home again in the WRU Bowl competition against Pontycymmer and the seconds are away to Llandaff. Both matches kick off at 2.30pm.
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