Old Penarthians v Canton Match Report
Saturday 17th December 2016
After the disappointment of the postponed match away to Tonyrefail due to a frozen pitch on 2nd December it was a return to Division 3 East Central (B) league action for Old Penarthians first XV last Saturday at Canton RFC. It was the first game for a month and also the first match the team has played on an artificial 3G pitch.
Whilst well attended training has recently been taking place on the Cardiff Arms Park 4G playing surface the Canton pitch does not seem to be of the same quality and there were many grazed knees and elbows and plenty of bruises on show after a defeat by 27 points to 8.
Not that the pitch could be blamed for the loss, that was down to too many fundamental errors that hurt the team both in attack and defence. Coaches and players were disappointed by the performance but they all know there is ability in the team that should be more apparent on match days.
The game had started brightly enough with possession and territory shared equally for the first 25 minutes with Old Penarthians showing a dominance in the scrum through front row Sam Hall, Simon Barry and Luke Crocket. Jack Margetson and Tom Sidford provided the power and this allowed the back row of Joel deClaire, Matt Sutton and in particular Kaid Hassan the opportunities to run at the Canton defence.
And it was after two dominant scrums that Hassan broke the gain line and forced the opposition to concede a penalty. The three points on offer for the penalty were gladly accepted by Jonathan Crimp and Old Pens led.
From the restart the ball was collected well by Sidford and carried forward by Crockett. Gareth Clancy cleared the 22 with a kick ahead but a player chasing the ball was called back for offside and the positive play was brought back for a penalty. Canton kicked for the corner and won the ensuing lineout. After a couple of phases of play Jack Butler (son of TV broadcaster Eddie) was released in the centre and he ran through a weak tackle to score under the posts. The conversion by Peter Hughes gave Canton a 7 – 3 lead.
Three minutes later Canton again took possession inside their own half from a kick ahead and attacked the Penarthians defence. Despite a couple of good tackles by Sidford and Rhys Lakin Canton were able to develop an overlap on the right hand side of the field and Jamie Payne scored a try that went unconverted.
With five minutes of the half remaining Old Pens did mount two creditable attacks when first Jason Ahmed broke through a couple of tackles in loose play and then forwards combined well in mid field to pressure the Canton defence. Unfortunately the end pass delivered on both occasions by Clancy was too hard for winger Jon Patterson and then Hassan to collect cleanly and the opportunities were lost.
This left a half time score of 12 – 3 in favour of the home team. After a fairly tight half everyone thought that the first score after the restart would be crucial and it went in favour of the Old Penarthians after one minute of play.
The attack started from a kick ahead by Canton which was collected by Patterson, he had support from Fearghas Goughand Lakin who was in turn supported by the forwards. Clancy this time delivered a well-timed pass to deClaire who passed on to Barry just inside opposition territory. Barry sold a dummy and raced through the gap created. He then committed the defending fullback and passed to Crimp who ran in to score in the corner from 22m. The try was unconverted.
Visiting spectators were jubilant and expectant but unfortunately this was to be one of few highlights in the second half which was dominated by the shrewd play of the Canton scrum half and his supporting forwards.
With the Penarthians defence under pressure it was first a penalty given away by Mark Sadler for a high tackle that gave Hughes three points and then a clean break on the left hand side of the pitch allowed Kieran Rarle to score on 32 minutes for a 20 points to 8 lead.
Penarthians attempted some substitutions to freshen up the side but this unfortunately depleted the scrummage and gave Canton a further advantage. An advantage they pressed home in the last minute of the game when they were awarded a penalty and kicked to the corner for a lineout. The catch was held and the Canton forwards created a driving maul which, with a hint of obstruction, led to a try for Chris Hann. The conversion added by Luke Radford gave Canton the victory and a bonus point for scoring four tries.
There is no fixture on Saturday 24th December and the club wishes everyone a very Happy Christmas. There is however festive rugby to be enjoyed on Monday 26th December when the Old Penarthians will host the Annual Boxing Day fixture against Penarth RFC for the Richard Thomas Shield. The kick-off is scheduled for 11.30am.
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