Players' efforts deserved better reward
8:02am Thursday 12th December 2013 in Sport
WINNING BALL: Old Penarthians' Gareth Clancy passes the ball away from a ruck. Picture: Ken Langley.
OLD PENARTHIANS 1st XV 9pts
CAERAU ELY 14
OLD Penarthians entertained Caerau Ely last Saturday in their National League Division 5SE match and it was a much improved performance over recent outings. The players were, however, disappointed at the end to have lost against the team currently second in the division.
The efforts, particularly in the first half, warranted a better reward than a losing bonus point and there must come a time when the side will turn their better performances into a positive result.
It has to be said that the team was strengthened by the inclusion of permit players Rhys Lakin, Chris Poole and James Beaton, all of whom have played rugby at a higher level, but the general spirit from numbers 1 to 15 was improved.
And it was early pressure from Old Penarthians' forwards, with Dale Norris, Joel deClaire and Tom Sidford prominent, that led to two penalties from Jonathan Crimp and a six-point lead. Norris claimed a try to extend that lead but was overruled by the referee.
The line out functioned well, with Craig Mohring regularly finding Danny Godfrey, who provided useful ball to scrum-half Gareth Clancy. The loose play saw carries from Lee Brennan and Tony Kemp to keep up the momentum, but, throughout the half, the most physical presence was provided by Beaton who was a constant threat.
Despite the good attacking play, it was the improvement in the defence that was most effective, with a well marshalled midfield of Crimp, Lakin and Craig Haines ensuring that there was no openings for Caerau. It was, therefore, unfortunate that Penarthians were penalised at the tackle area on 30 minutes and, with an advance of 10 metres for backchat, Caerau were able to kick a penalty.
Penarthians were not, however, finished in the half and, on either side of missed penalties, Crimp gave his side a 9-3 lead.
Then came two refereeing decisions involving the hookers that changed the complexion of the match. Firstly, he sent off the Caerau Ely hooker for a head butt at a scrum, and then he refused a Penarthians' substitution because replacement hooker Simon Barry was not named correctly on the reserve list. In fact, Barry had been named to play but his arrival was delayed and his replacement Mohring had started. The referee was unmoved by the coach’s protestations.
The first decision galvanised the visitors, whilst the second, together with the loss of Beaton through injury, demoralised Penarthians. Then, within minutes of the restart, Caerau scored a try after some uncharacteristic poor tackling. The kick was, however, missed and Penarthians retained a slender lead. Penarthians continued to pressurise and Dean Dacruz and Poole both had attacking opportunities but were bundled into touch after good passing moves.But it was Caerau who scored the match deciding points when their centre crossed for an unconverted try.
Penarthians did create chances towards the end of the game but the visitors defence held and the final whistle blew on an encouraging but, ultimately, disappointing result.
With the first team eliminated from the WRU Bowl competition, a friendly match is being sought for this weekend in preparation for their outing against Penarth in the annual Boxing Day fixture at the Athletic Field.