Old Penarthians v Cefn Coed Match Report
Saturday 14th January 2017
A sombre and reflective mood hung over the Old Penarthians last weekend as players, members and rugby supporters in general were coming to terms with the sudden and untimely death of Club President Roy Churchill.
Amongst many roles and responsibilities that Roy undertook in more than a 60 year association with the Club Roy prided himself in always being present on the touchline, resplendent in club tie and when the weather called for it a knitted scarf in club colours. He said he attended to ensure that the playing records were maintained accurately but most knew that was an excuse so that he could watch his team play rugby and afterwards enjoy a drink and a chat with players and supporters of both the home and opposition teams.
In the knowledge that on Saturday afternoons Roy would have been at pitchside the Club decided, with guidance from the Churchill family, that the scheduled league fixtures for both the first and second XVs would be played and his memory honoured. So with the unreserved agreement of the opposition teams a minute’s silence was held and impeccably observed at both venues.
Unfortunately the first team could not provide a victory but they did play with plenty of spirit against unbeaten league leaders Cefn Coed on a pitch which more resembled a paddy field than a rugby pitch. The eventual scoreline in favour of the home team of 20 points to 3 was a reflection of the Cefn Coed team’s game management in appalling conditions but it did not do justice to the defensive effort put up by the Old Penarthians.
There are however no points for defensive effort and it was the three tries, one conversion and a penalty scored by Cefn Coed compared to the single Liam Union penalty that decided the result.
That defence was epitomised by Rhys Lakin, Tom Sidford, Rhys Morgan and Stuart Clarke. The latter two playing on permit from Penarth and they were joined by front row Jerome Bryan as Old Pens were handicapped by the absence of 10 first choice and back-up players and were having difficulty raising a team. The fact that Penarth were able to assist their neighbours on a weekend that they did not have a fixture was much appreciated.
Stuart Clarke also featured prominently in attack in the first half of the game and with the assistance of Bryan, Sidford and Chad Wilson were the main reasons for the most sustained pressure from the Old Pens in a ten minute period at the start of the game which led to the only kickable penalty awarded to the team in the match.
This after some adventurous play right at the start of the game by the Old Penarthians had resulted in an interception pass, a weak scrummage and a penalty to Cefn Coed that had seen them take the lead in less than 2 minutes
Jon Patterson showed good defensive qualities at full back with good catches under pressure and he also broke strongly when given the opportunity. He will however want to forget one attempted kick ahead that ended up as a sliced cross kick into the arms of the Cefn Coed centre. No damage was done however and on that occasion the attack was repelled by a cover tackle by Fearghas Gough.
Late in the game coach Simon Hurley introduced substitutes Simon Barry, Matt Stingl and Geraint Blake into the quagmire and it was particularly pleasing to see ‘Trev’ back in the side for his first outing of the season.
The efforts of all the team are however to be applauded on a day when it had been difficult to organise a side, difficult to play on a pitch that was barely fit enough, but most of all difficult emotionally.
In the home game against Llandaff North, the 2nd XV were last gasp winners by 23 points to 22 when Steve Thomas kicked a last minute penalty. This in some way made up for his missed opportunity from under the posts earlier in the game. The team was a mixture of youth and experience with Mark Glover appearing in the second row, alongside Alun Haines, for the first time in 8 years and scoring a decisive try. James Williams also scored two tries with the remaining points coming from the boot of Steve Thomas.
On Saturday the Old Penarthians 1st XV travel to Wattstown who won at Cwrt-y-vil by 27-12 earlier in the season. The second XV play at home to Taffs Well. Both games are scheduled to kick off at 2.30pm.
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