Old Penarthians v Penygraig Match Report
Saturday 7th January 2017
The first fixture of the New Year saw Penygraig visit Cwrt-y-vil to play Old Penarthians in a WRU Division 3 East Central (B) contest. After persistent rain during the week the pitch was heavy under foot but playable and it was Penygraig who kicked off. Penarthians claimed the ball through Luke Crockett, who passed to the threequarters. With inventiveness they tried to run out of defence but a final ball went to ground affording Penygraig an attacking opportunity.
One they took from a resulting lineout when they drove a rolling maul over the line for an unconverted try. So that in less than two minutes Penygraig led by 5 – 0.
Penarthians responded however in equally quick measure when from the restart Penygraig infringed. A penalty kick to the corner resulted in a lineout which was won by the home forwards but the attack was resisted and an attacking scrum awarded. From a quick hook from Reggie Blake and control at number 8 by Chris Cobbold, Gareth Clancy passed to Jon Crimp. He passed to Rhys Lakin on a familiar straight run into the heart of the Penygraig defence. As he was stopped he managed to release his arms and throw a short pass to supporting centre Jon Patterson. Patterson caught the ball at full stretch and was able to break clear from 20m and score a well worked try. Crimp converted for a 7 – 5 Old pens lead.
Much of the rest of the half Old Penarthians spent defending inside their own territory. Strong defence led by Crimp, Lakin and Patterson with support from forwards Tom Sidford and Matt Sutton, aided by some poor passing by Penygraig meant that stalemate ensued.
Old Penarthians did have opportunities and Chad Wilson almost broke free on one occasion and Alex Lewis was able to pressurise the Penygraig fullback into an error after a high well-judged kick from Clancy.
It was however the visitors who had the last word in the half when a speculative kick ahead by the Penygraig winger bounced into the Penarthians twenty-two and both the covering threequarters failed to dispatch the ball into ‘row Z of the stands’ leaving the Penygraig support to collect the ball and score a try for a 10 -7 half time advantage.
The second half started promisingly with good possession from the scrum and a steady supply of ball from the lineout which was devoid of regular jumpers Joel deClaire and Jack Margetson. Instead Cobbold and Sutton were the main recipients although there were a couple of neat options displayed with front of the line throws straight to non-jumping prop Gary Bishop standing at number one in the line.
After 15 minutes Penygraig were reduced to fourteen players for a ten minute period when their flanker was side-lined for an early tackle on Tony Kemp after a quickly taken free kick. Old Penarthians could not take advantage and in fact suffered withdrawals themselves when Crimp, Craig Haines and Crockett had to be substituted through injuries. This following the early withdrawal of Sam Hall with injured ribs.
Replacements Nick Boudier, Rob Rees and Matt Stingl were drafted in but there was nothing they could do on 25 minutes when the referee missed a Penygraig knock-on in front of the Old Pens posts and with the play continuing awarded a penalty to the visitors. They opted for a scrum and from a well drilled possession the returning flanker scored a try that was converted.
Almost from the kick off Penarthians conceded territory and then a penalty within kicking range. An opportunity Penygraig took for a 20 points to 7 lead.
Unfortunately the last five minutes saw Penygraig score two more converted tries to earn themselves a four-try bonus point victory by 34 – 7 as they consolidated themselves in second place in the table. Old Penarthians drop to eighth. With ten first team players unavailable through injury, work or "other" commitments it has to be hoped that availability improves.
In the clubhouse after the game hooker Reggie Blake had all his head and beard shaved in aid of local charity, Latch, a voluntary organisation set up to support the special requirements of the children's oncology centre at the Children's Hospital for Wales. His target was to raise £500 but with the generosity of friends, family and supporters, at the time of writing he has received contributions in excess of £1,000. Congratulations to Reggie and thanks to Penygraig players who also made donations on the day.
Next Saturday sees Old Penarthians 1st XV travel to, top of the table and undefeated, Cefn Coed and the second team entertain Llandaff North. Both games scheduled to kick off at 2.30pm.
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