Tonyrefail RFC | 1st Team 16 - 14 Old Penarthians RFC | 1st Team
Scott Mccarthy
1 Conversion
Christopher Poole
2 Try
1 Conversion

Match Report
04 September 2018 / Team News

Old Penarthians v Tonyrefail Match Report

Old Penarthians started their new season in WRU Division 3 East Central (B) last Saturday with an away fixture against Tonyrefail.  The corresponding fixture at the end of last season had seen the Old Pens come away with a victory that was part of the escape from relegation.

Hopes were therefore high following good pre-season training under the watchful eyes of coaches Simon Hurley and Anthony Davies and the recruitment of some new players, many of whom have worn the Old Penarthians colours previously.

The final result in favour of the home team by 16 points to 14 reflected the closeness of the contest but also highlighted the difficulty of gelling a new team together after only one trial match, albeit a very successful winning run out against Llanharen, a team two divisions higher in the league structure.

The game did not start well for Old Pens with four penalties conceded in the first five minutes and possession limited due to a misfunctioning line out.  The errors were compounded when the Tonyrefail territory and pressure were rewarded with a converted try after five minutes.  When Penarthians did get some territory from a forward led charge from Adan Cole, Joel deClaire and Callum Wingren which released Rowan Allcock, a reckless stamp by Gareth Clancy led to a yellow card and the reversal of a penalty that would have otherwise led to a kickable chance

The reduction in numbers was not capitalised upon and Scott McCarthy even had a chance to reduce the deficit, but he pushed his penalty attempt wide of the posts.

On 26 minutes it was unfortunate to see recruit Matt Sutton leave the pitch with injured ribs to be replaced by Josh Allcock but almost immediately a good lineout win by Scott Mackie saw the ball spread wide to Mark Sadler.  He committed his opposite number before releasing to Chris Poole.  Poole made ground and as the last defender approached he kicked ahead and won the 40m race to the tryline to score under the posts.  A McCarthy conversion levelled the scores.

Before the end of the half Wingren and Simon Barry both led the forwards on the attack and James Beaton nearly broke the line to set Jon Patterson free.  Unfortunately, the last score of the half was a three-point penalty to Tonyrefail after which the referee’s whistle blew for the break and a 10 – 7 home advantage.

The second half saw the visitors playing up the slope and the home team introducing some bigger props thinking that their size and the slope may give them an advantage.  This tactic was however negated by some great scrummaging from the Old Pens which throughout the second half saw Wingren, Barry and Sam Hall have a front row ascendancy.  Together with an improved lineout through Beaton and Josh Allcock and the accuracy of the deClaire throwing it meant that the threequarters had more ball to play with.

It also meant that the phase play practised in training could be implemented.  But for minor lapses of concentration which saw some wayward passes and a knock on it could have led to more success.  It is however a game plan that can be developed with confidence as the season progresses.

Some indiscipline when under pressure in their own half meant Old Pens were still conceding penalties and after 17 minutes two more penalty opportunities were kicked and Tonyrefail led 16 – 7.

On 20 minutes however came another score for Old Penarthians.  It came from a Tonyrefail attack with the flanker breaking free down the touchline, but he was classically tackled form behind by Poole.  The forward was surprised by the impact and dropped the ball forward.  This was picked up by Rowan Allcock and he managed to pass to Clancy.  From within his own half, Clancy kicked ahead into the opposition 22.  Indecision by the defending fullback meant that the fast approaching Poole was able to charge down his kick, pick up the rebound and score.

In the absence of McCarthy, replaced by debutant Tom Hillman, Poole slotted the conversion and Old Pens were only two points in arrears

Ten minutes later came the defining moments of the game when scrum dominance gave Old Penarthians territorial advantage and line out drills saw the forwards maul the ball towards he tryline.  Several forward drives were repelled but when it looked as if a space had been created the chance could not be taken and the opportunity lost.

Poole did have an opportunity with a penalty but he could not repeat his earlier success and Fearghas Gough was given space to attack his opposite winger but was tackled when he stepped inside.  In the last five minutes Tonyrefail had two further penalty chances to extend their lead and deny Penarthians a bonus point but these were squandered. 

It meant that Penarthians had lost their opening fixture but gained a bonus point in defeat.  They also gained experience of playing together and understanding that the game plan can be effective.  With the captain, Rhys Lakin, and other regular first team players likely to return next week for the home encounter with Llantwit Major hopes for the season remain high.

The seconds also have an away fixture next week at Llandaff North.  Both games kick off at 2.30pm


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