Pain for Penarth against high-flyers
10:20am Thursday 25th October 2012 in Sport
TRY FOR ALEX: Penarth centre Alex Thau on his way to a first-half try against Pontyclun. Picture: Alun Roach.
PENARTH 14pts PONTYCLUN 74
NOW WE know why Pontyclun are top of the table with a points difference of plus 244 after only eight games: they’ve got a tremendous back division ably, if a little unconventionally, orchestrated by full-back Gavin Pascoe. What remains a puzzle is how they were able to run in 11 tries without any forward platform at all.
The thing is several Penarth players had good games and the pack, in particular, never took a backward step. So much so that they dominated the tight and gave the visitors no leeway to build momentum.
So why wasn’t this match less one-sided? Simply put - turn-overs. Plus the superbly-drilled Pont backs, whose short-passing, high speed game saw them safely through a stitched together Penarth defence on not many more than 11 occasions.
For the second week running the visitors found themselves two tries up inside the first five minutes. Pascoe was instrumental in both, setting up wing Adam Lewis for the first and scoring the second himself via route one. Following a 50 metres penalty conversion, the full-back popped up again on the right wing and this time put outside-half Rhys Morgan under the sticks.
Then the tries dried up as the Seasiders cut out the errors and took control. A penalty was kicked to touch and Dan Hoffmann, who was dominating the lines out set Chris Mortimer up to take it on. The ball was worked back from the breakdown to Alex Thau at inside centre who made no mistake from 20 metres.
It really looked as if Penarth had got on top of things and were managing to keep it away from Pont’s dangerous backs. It was working, as well, until a loose ball was picked up by Pascoe who beat five tackles before setting up lock Jordan Dean for the short run through some home forwards to the posts.
A fifth try arrived just before half-time as scrum-half Nicky Theaker exploited a charged down clearance to leave his team out of sight and the score on 7-38. Pontyclun added a further four tries without reply in the third quarter despite plenty of possession for the home side. Blindside flanker Jason Wheeler went over twice, with hooker Sam Barkley and scrum-half Theaker adding the others.
The 10th try arrived soon enough through outside centre Nathan Rees and Pontyclun closed their account as early as the 67th minute as the No 8 broke free to score. You could say without too much irony that the rest of the game belonged to the Seasiders.
A try bonus point hardly seemed out of the question as the home pack dominated as they had done for a considerable part of the preceding 75 minutes. However, they had to content themselves with a second try from Thau, breaking through some soft tackles to the posts. While Tonyrefail and Nantymoel still conveniently prop up the table, Penarth now face a struggle to stay in touch with the teams above them and the next league fixture is a visit to second-placed Dowlais a week on Saturday. For a little light relief the Swalec Plate intervenes this Saturday and the Seasiders take the familiar path up the Taff Bargoed valley to visit old playmates Bedlinog from Div 2 (E).
PENARTH Rhodri Smith, Louis Chandler, James Crothers, Alex Thau, Mike Hurley, Chris Mortimer [Gareth Mathias], Owain George, Richard Merrett, Joe Page, Tom Gent [Sean O’Sullivan], Aaron Ellis, Dan Hoffmann, Mark Devine [Owain George], Elliott Smith, Scott Mackie.
Swalec Plate Round 1 - Saturday, October 27 - Bedlinog v PENARTH. Kick-off 2.30pm.