Old Penarthians' free running game and strong defence prove decisive in 26-14 win
7:50am Thursday 10th January 2013 in Sport
FORWARD MOVE: The Old Penarthians' defensive line moves forward as a unit in Saturday's clash with Beaufort. Picture: Peter Marks.
OLD PENARTHIANS 26pts BEAUFORT 14
ON THE first Saturday of the New Year, the Old Penarthians 1st XV were due to play a home fixture against Abertysswg in Division 5SE of the WRU National leagues.
This would represent the start of the second half of the season following a defeat away to the Rhymney Valley side at the beginning of September in the first league fixture of the campaign.
Unfortunately, the recent inclement weather had resulted in the Abertysswg club having to play their SWALEC Bowl cup competition at the fourth attempt on the arranged league fixture weekend, and the Penarthians match was postponed in favour of the knockout game.
This additional postponement will leave fixture secretary Jon Vaughan with some headaches as the season progresses as he now has to rearrange home fixtures with Markham, St Albans and Abertysswg as well as an away match with Ynysowen called off on December 29.
The players could be in for a heavy schedule in April/May unless the respective clubs can, perhaps, play on the mornings of some of the Wales Six Nations internationals.
As it happened Abertysswg’s Bowl opponents were Nantyglo who had to cancel a Division 5E fixture with Beaufort. It was, therefore, a natural fit for the two disappointed teams, without either league or cup commitments, to play each other. Beaufort generously offered to travel to Penarth and the game was ‘on’.
It was the first ever meeting between the teams and it allowed the players and coaches of both teams an opportunity to see the respective strengths of the two Division 5s.
Beaufort had previously won five of their nine games whilst Old Penarthians had won two of their eight games The game was a tight affair throughout and both teams tried to play attacking rugby but with different styles. Penarthians tried to play a more expansive game whilst Beaufort considered that a tighter, more forward-orientated game played to their strengths.
In the end it was the Old Penarthians' looser, more free running game, coupled with strong defence, that was to prove the more decisive and the home team were 26-14 winners.
Outscoring Beaufort by four tries to two in the process, it was a very pleasing start to 2013 for the players, the coaching staff and the band of supporters on the touchline that will, hopefully, bring confidence for further success in the remaining league matches this term.
The match started in weak sunshine, with Penarthians receiving the kick off at the Beachwood Road end of the pitch and the two styles were apparent from the early exchanges. Beaufort had the better of the first five minutes, with attacking drives by the forwards encouraged by their lively scrum half. The Penarthians' defence was, however, strong, with good tackling in the backs by skipper Lloyd Davey and Dave Owen, and by commitment from Noel Extragary and Tom Sidford in the forwards.
But, on the first occasion the Penarthians had the ball in their own 22, they attacked through Liam Union and Josh Hurley who sent Charles Gore on an attacking run. He was tackled inside the opposition half of the field and Beaufort gave away the first penalty of the day.
On eight minutes Penarthians' forwards drove into the corner and were awarded a scrum. From the set piece, No 8 Joel deClaire fed stand in scrum-half Gareth Welford. He passed to Jon Crimp who was supported by Stuart Clarke who drove over the try line to score. The conversion was kicked by Crimp and Old Pens led 7-0.
More Beaufort pressure was to follow but, again, good defensive work ensured that the visitors did not score and, from a turnover in their own 22, Old Penarthians again broke free.
This time it was Hurley who was instrumental in the break out and he beat three players before passing on to Union who ran into the Beaufort half and looked to have taken the wrong opposition of committing the full back with Crimp in support. But the tackle was weak and Union wrestled free to run in from 30 metres and score under the posts. Crimp again converted.
On 28 minutes Beaufort were, however, back in the game as their forward pressure eventually paid off and prop Glyn Moon scored a try from close range after some shoddy tackling by the forwards that had not matched the commitment of the much lighter Penarthians' outside half. The conversion from wide out was kicked by Chris Bridger.
Penarthians were given an opportunity to extend their lead on 33 minutes but the penalty attempt was missed by Crimp after good work by deClaire and Mark Smart had forced the Beaufort forwards into conceding the penalty.
With half-time looming, Beaufort were again camped in the Penarthians' 22 and were exerting the most pressure seen this season on the home team scrummaging unit and, from broken play after a couple of dominant scrums, centre Jason Taylor scored a try, again converted by Bridger. This made the half-time score level at 14-14.
The half-time interval saw the withdrawal of Clarke and deClaire, both carrying injuries, and the introduction of Danny Godfrey and Alex Holder to the forwards. Andy Gill was also into the fray on the wing instead of Owen.
A change at scrum half was also necessary because Welford had been yellow carded just before half-time and his replacement, Hurley, had the presence of mind after five minutes to take a tap penalty on halfway. He burst through a couple of tackles, rounded the full back and, with the covering winger about to tackle him, he passed to Gill, who, with his first touch of the rugby ball in five weeks, scored a try. The conversion was missed.
On eight minutes the best move of the game resulted in another Penarthians' score when a scrum was secured inside their own half and an unintentional miss move saw the ball pass straight to centre Davey. He passed to Union who again broke some poor tackling to sprint into the opposition 22. With the full back approaching, he then gave a neat flip pass to supporting winger Gore who scored under the posts for Crimp to convert and make the score 26-14.
There was to be no further scoring in the game but it continued to be an entertaining encounter which, towards the end, became a bit feisty as the Beaufort forwards were continually frustrated by the Penarthians' resilience at the break down area, particularly by Holder and Godfrey.
AWAY to Pentyrch in a CADRU Premier Division 2nd XV fixture, Old Penarthians were second best in a lacklustre performance that saw the home team victors 41-12. The team effort was not helped by the late arrival of skipper Ian Buckley and his fellow car passengers who were reportedly caught up in a roadside accident.
Ironically, the first-half performance was far better than the second and, and at half-time with the score 20-12, there was some hope for the Old Pens. The turkey, stuffing and excess alcohol over the festive period, however, caught up with the team and they could not add to their first-half tally.
Those first-half points were made up from tries by Alun Haines and Paul Kemp and a conversion from Scott McCarthy.
Players to perform well throughout were the try scorers, Sean Leach, Scott McCarthy, Scott Hill and Tom Parkinson, who again played in a variety of positions, one of which will eventually be the one that he is most suited to. The remaining players all contributed in one way or another during the game but it was too sporadic to make a cohesive effort to match the opposition.
THIS Saturday (January 12) sees the 1st XV return to league action (hopefully) away to Canton with a kick off scheduled for 2.30pm.
All potential spectators are reminded that Cardiff City play at home to Ipswich on the same day and that, whilst this is probably the closest league fixture in terms of distance, sufficient time should be allowed for the journey to avoid the massed supporters of the Championship leaders.
Currently, the second team are without an arranged match but are looking for a home fixture to keep the ‘stay-at-home’ players and supporters happy. Contact the clubhouse for final details.