Old Penarthians RFC | 1st Team 5 - 40 Cowbridge RFC | 1st Team
Rhys Lakin
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Match Report
23 February 2018 / Team News

Old Penarthians v Cowbridge Match Report

The two-week break in the Old Penarthians season for the Wales internationals to be played was something of a blessing for the team as they recovered numbers and some commitment from the players to be able to field a fully functioning front row with appropriate replacements and therefore a full squad.  There were still a couple of notable absentees through Sam Hall, Joel deClaire and Tom Sidford in the forwards. However, the threequarters were nearly at full strength for the Division 3 East Central (B) fixture at home to Cowbridge.

The team also included a number of university students returned for term time in Cardiff and their presence was certainly appreciated.  The side can never be totally dependent upon too many students but when they can be introduced into the team, and the club, in appropriate numbers it benefits the Old Penarthians and the students who are looking for Saturday rugby. This week Albert Miles, Stan Ellis, Dave Cooper and Liam Spindler were joined by debutant prop Matt Georgiou and they all had a part to play in the performance.

The game started brightly for the Old Pens and for the first 20 minutes they more than matched a Cowbridge side who are currently third in the division and included former Wales centre Leigh Davies.

Attacking runs by Stan Ellis, Matt Georgiou, Rowan Allcock and Tom Rogers carried the game to the opposition and when Cowbridge attacked Josh Allcock always seemed to be on hand to steal the ball at the break-down or win a penalty.

Unfortunately mixed with all this good play in the loose was a scrum that was constantly under pressure and could not provide a solid platform from which to release the threequarters. And it was from one such scrum with a home team feed on the half way line that the forwards were shunted off the ball and the Cowbridge no 8 broke to the blind side to pass to the winger who crossed unopposed. Despite one of the touch judges declaring that the kick did not pass through the uprights the referee awarded the conversion and Cowbridge led by seven points.

Cowbridge could now sense some frailty in the Old Penarthians but they did not reckon on the outstanding defensive spirit that saw them withstand five minutes of pressure on the try line which featured strong tackles from Jonathan Crimp, Rhys Lakin, Geraint Blake and the Allcocks.

In the end the Cowbridge number eight’s frustration boiled over and he was dismissed for ten minutes for backchat to the referee. This allowed Old Penarthians to return to the opposition 22 after good runs from Fearghas Gough, Jon Patterson and Mark Sadler but it was again the forwards that pressed forward in a tight unit.  After four or five surges Liam Spindler nearly got free but a poor kick when in attack led to the Cowbridge players fly-hacking the ball away and Old Pens lost 70m.

Just before the half time interval Rhys Blake saw yellow but overall the performance was pleasing for the local spectators and Old Penarthians were still very much in the game.

As so often happens however, immediately after the break concentration waivers and points are conceded. This time the kick off was well taken by Rogers and the forwards presented the ball for clearance.  The ball was kicked long by Scott McCarthy but unfortunately it stayed infield.  The opposition full back returned a high kick which no one from the Old Pens wanted to claim and the fullback caught his own kick.  Two plays later Cowbridge scored in the corner and the conversion was kicked for 14 – 0 lead.

Old Penarthians tried again and from a good line out, replacement Chris Roach made yards.  The ball came back to Crimp who fired a 50m cross field kick to touch just inside the Cowbridge 22.  At the ensuing lineout Cowbridge infringed and a free kick was awarded. A set move was called, and the forwards again carried the ball up to the try line but could not quite score.  Patience was however good and eventually the ball was released to Dave Lakin who managed to pass to his cousin Rhys Lakin to dive and stretch for the line and a well deserved try.  The conversion was unsuccessful but after 12 minutes of the second period Old Pens were only nine points in arrears.

That was however to be the last success of the game for the home team and whilst new players were introduced the commitment and energy expended in the first 60 minutes of the game began to tell and Cowbridge eventually scored four more tries, three of which were converted to make the final score 40 points to 5

Following this defeat Old Penarthians remain at the bottom of the table but the three teams immediately above them also lost and did not collect any bonus points.  It means that a relegation escape is still possible, but some wins will definitely be required from the remaining seven matches

On Saturday Wales travel to Ireland in the next round of Six Nations matches and there is no league action for the club.  There is however player training at 12.00noon and all supporters are welcome to the clubhouse to watch the international which kicks off at 2.15pm.  The first XV return to the league on 3rd March, away to Tylorstown where last season Old Penarthians sprung a shock victory.


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