Penarthians concede 57 points in latest defeat
6:01pm Wednesday 2nd October 2013 in Sport
THE weather may have been warm for the SWALEC-sponsored National League Division 5SE fixture between Canton and Old Penarthians Rugby Club Firsts last weekend but there was nothing to warm the hearts or minds of the spectators or watching coaches as the local side lost 57-0.
After a three-match losing start to the season, captain Joel deClaire and coach Alun Haines thought this game may have seen a turnaround of fortunes. The team was handicapped by the absence of English import Nick Stringer but saw the seasonal debuts of Tom Sidford and Simon Barry. Alun Haines started the game to give leadership support and it was, therefore, considered that the pack would be competitive.
The backs were also lacking a first choice scrum half but the ample frame of James Evans filled that shirt and, with most of the backs having played as a unit already this term, it should have been a case of building on previous experiences.
Unfortunately, the competiveness of the pack was lacking from the start and there was no cohesion in the threequarter play to hint at the unit playing together before. It was a day that started badly with three ties conceded in the first 15 minutes to trail by 31 points at the interval and finished as badly with another three tries in the last 10 minutes of the second half.
One of those tries summed up the Penarthians' day completely, when a rare venture into the opposition half saw Mark Sadler make a dash along the touchline, evading two tackles to be brought down just short of the try line. The Canton defenders infringed and the referee rightly awarded a penalty.
With nothing to lose, a quick penalty was the order of the day and it was passed to eager prop Dale Norris. Unfortunately, his fellow forwards failed to support him and the ball was turned over. Canton counter attacked from their own try line and, with three quick passes, the centre escaped the cover to score at the other end of the field. A couple of the threequarters did their best to defend the situation but, as the try was scored, a look around the pitch saw only four defenders at the goal line, with everyone else scattered around listlessly.
There were two players, however, who stood out from the general poor performance and Noel Etxregaray and Dean Dacruz deserve mention for their unstinting efforts.
By a twist of fate the draw for the WRU Bowl knockout competition sees the Firsts drawn away to Canton again next Saturday in a 2.30pm kick off, and it is hoped that for all those players knocked down last week it is a chance to jump back up and redeem both personal and team performances.
The second team travelled to St Albans in a CADRU Division 1 fixture and, whilst they may also have lost, the spectators did see endeavour and 10 points from Mark Smart’s team in a 37-10 loss. Tries were scored by Smart and try-machine Alex Lewis, with good performances from Rhys Thomas and Paul Kemp. There is no scheduled fixture for the 2nd XV, but it is hopeful a home game can be arranged.