Old Penarthians Pontycymer Match Report
Saturday 22nd October 2016
Old Penarthians 1st XV played in the third round of the WRU Bowl competition last Saturday at home to Pontycymer. Pontycymer play their league rugby in Division 3 West Central (A) and came into the match with a similar playing record to the Old Pens, having lost their opening two matches but then winning their next four.
The early exchanges were however to highlight that the two teams had differing styles, with the visitors preferring a forward orientated approach through their large pack whilst the Old Penarthians have so far this season opted for attack through their threequarters. This game plan was however disrupted by the holiday plans of key centre Rhys Lakin and the unavailability of other regular contributors, Mike Nash, Fearghas Gough and Simon Davies. In all ten regular first team players were absent, much to the disappointment of Team Manager Stu Barter.
The coaches, Anthony Davies and Simon Hurley, will want to ensure that these and other players are available and committed for the two league fixtures that will be played amidst the Autumn series of international matches when league points will be on offer rather than the possibility of a visit to the Principality Stadium that awaits the finalists of the Bowl competition.
There were also changes up front which saw Dean Pratt play at prop, on permit from CIACS, and Kaid Hassan return after a two week absence in the second row rather than his preferred position in the back row.
Both acquitted themselves well in the set plays with the Old Penarthians more than matching their opponents at scrums and lineouts. The lineout with Dave Hosking throwing in to Jack Margetson and Joel de Claire was particularly productive but in the early stages the backline could not find enough momentum to challenge the opposition tryline.
In fact it was Pontycymer who exerted most of the early pressure, often after misplaced kicks from the home side, and it was no surprise when they took the lead from a throw to the back of a line out and lock Nathan Silverthorn ran in unopposed from 20m. There were complaints of holding and obstruction of the Old Pens forwards but these were unseen by the referee. Steve John converted the try for a 7 – 3 lead.
Penarthians fought back and from a more well-judged kick from Jonathan Crimp the defending full back spilled the ball forward under pressure from Mark Sadler and a penalty resulted which Crimp kicked from 25m.
Play then reverted to the other end of the field and Penarthians defence was tested to the full from a series of scrums and penalties. The tackling was strong with deClaire, Chris Cobbold, Hassan and Sam Hall prominent. One penalty too many was conceded however and the referee sent Sadler ‘to the bin’ for 10 minutes and the resulting penalty was kicked from in front of the posts to give Pontycymer a 10 - 3 lead which was to last to half time.
The start of the second half, with a ball sponsored by Club Treasurer Nigel Williams, was more encouraging for the Old Pens and Nathan Facey made ground on a couple of occasions with support from Jason Ahmed. Craig Haines also had a chance to attack from the wing but the move came to nothing.
Then on 20 minutes whilst in an attacking position Gareth Clancy was adjudged to have made a high tackle and was also shown a yellow card. Sadler stepped up to the role of no 9 but when a clearance kick from him within his own 22 did not reach touch the Pontycymer winger fielded the ball and sent a cross kick to the opposite touchline for his fellow winger to run onto the bouncing ball and score wide out.
Penarthians tried to react positively and to run the ball at the opposition but there was little reward other than a charging attack by Chad Wilson along the touchline which nearly led to a try. Two attacking lineouts were then defended by Pontycymer and Wilson and Margetson were both close to scoring. Eventually with Pontycymer reduced to 14 men Penarthians opted for a scrum rather than a penalty but indecision at the base of the scrum as to the best line of attack meant that the move fizzled out and momentum was lost.
This was probably the last time Penarthians launched an attack and the final score went to Pontycymer centre Tom Harris when he profited from an almost unopposed run from his number 8 who had spun off a wheeled scrum. The conversion made the final score 22 points to 3 and it was a dejected team that left the field knowing that they had not done justice to their recent league form against a team who had a reasonable game plan but were not unbeatable.
There is now a break whilst Wales start their autumncampaign against Australia next Saturday but the first team return to action on 12th November in a league game at home against Cowbridge. Please note the kick-off is at 1.30pm.
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