Old Penarthians v Llantwit Major Match Report
Saturday 26th November 2016
Old Penarthians 1st XV travelled to Llantwit Major last Saturday for a 1.30pm kick off on the day of the Wales v South Africa match. Unfortunately the team management were not able to pick from a full squad because seventeen players were unavailable either through injury, work or other commitments. It also meant that the side selected had no recognised front row forwards and the game had to commence with uncontested scrummages.
This was unsettling for all concerned including the opposition and the referee but all parties managed the situation well and the resulting match was exciting to watch despite the lack of competition at the scrum.
The game started well for the Old Penarthians and with Rhys Lakin in particular relishing the contest with his opposite centre the threequarter line regularly make progress through the Llantwit defence. From one such line break by Lakin the opposition infringed. Gareth Clancy took a quick penalty and with the defence making contact with him within 10 metres Jonathan Crimp was afforded the opportunity of a kick at goal which he accepted and Old Pens led by 3 points.
From the restart there was unfortunately a misunderstanding between Tom Sidford and Matt Sutton and when the loose ball was hacked ahead by the Llantwit forwards it was a race to the tryline that was won by the opposition. The conversion gave Llantwit a 7 – 3 lead.
Penarthians continued to attack and with a plentiful supply of line out ball from Jack Margetson, Joel deClaire and Chris Cobbold from accurate throwing from Mark Smart the attacking options of Mike Nash, Mark Sadler and Jason Ahmed could use their pace to threaten the Llantwit defence. Unfortunately the last pass seemed to go astray and full advantage could not be taken. Another penalty from Crimp did however reduce the deficit to one point.
Then came a ten minutes period of errors, poor tackling and lack of concentration that gifted Llantwit Major two converted tries and 14 points.
The half did however finish well for the Old Pens when another kickable penalty was declined by captain Crimp and a kick to the corner for a lineout was the preferred option. From the ensuing catch and drive the forwards took control and after initial efforts from Chad Wilson and Sutton it was first team debutant and birthday boy Matt Stingl who crashed over for an unconverted try and a half time score of 21 -11.
Another penalty 8 minutes into the half for Crimp saw the lead again reduce. This was followed by the best attack of the afternoon which started within their own 22 when deClaire and Sidford ran out of defence. They found support from Fearghas Gough who passed on to Nash who scored. The conversion hit the post and rebounded wide.
Further attacks saw Sadler and Nash just come up short of the tryline with the crucial final pass again going forward in contact. The pressure on the Llantwit line was then relieved through an offside offence at the scrum and two minutes later another penalty error on half way and a quickly taken tap saw Old Pens concede another converted try to trail by 28 -19.
With ten minutes to play the Penarthians players looked exhausted, as substitutes are denied to a team starting the game with passive scrums, and their heads could definitely have dropped when Llantwit scored another try to take their score to 33. Fortunately there was more resolve in the team than was observed from the touchline and Old Pens launched another series of attacks that eventually saw Sidford held up over the line.
From the resulting scrum the ball was moved wide and Gough scored a try. Crimp kicked the conversion and with two minutes remaining it looked as if a surprise result could be on the cards. It was however not to be and the fifteen players who competed so well had to settle with a losing bonus point in a 33 – 26 point defeat. Without the errors in the first half they may have been returning home with the win.
On Saturday the first team have another away fixture, this time at Tonyrefail with a return to normality and a 2.30pm kick off. It is also hoped that normal service can be restored to selection and that a full squad of players will be available. It is hoped that a home fixture for the second team can be arranged. Please contact the club for final details.
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