FACING teams close to them in their respective divisions of the Davis Wood League, Penarth Hockey Club’s two sides slipped to defeat at the weekend.
CARDIFF & MET C 3
AFTER earning a good point away at Hereford last week, Penarth’s 1st XI turned their attention to old rivals Cardiff & Met C on Saturday, looking to repeat the result of October’s fixture between the sides.
Once again, weather conditions were less than favourable at Barry Sports Centre, and the home side, as has become a habit, started slowly. Although able to ride out the storm in earlier games, this time the tardiness proved costly as Cardiff grabbed two early goals.
Conceding the second goal appeared to shock Penarth into action, and the Vale’s only senior men’s club finally got their act together. Their best phase of play came just before half-time and, having put the Cardiff defence under some concerted pressure, were rewarded with a fantastic individual goal from Phil Lane, who drove in from the right-hand side of the ‘D’ and slotted the ball in the bottom corner from his reverse side.
Buoyed by reducing the deficit, Penarth took their momentum into the second half and were the better team. However, despite enjoying greater possession, the Bears could not find a way past a stubborn Cardiff defence and, just as they appeared to be back in the game, allowed the visitors to catch them with a counter-attack and a decisive third goal.
Desperate to salvage something from the game, Penarth pushed forward in greater numbers, eventually managing to get a goal back through Sam Wooding, who tapped the ball home after it had bounced around the Cardiff 'D,' but it was too little too late as precious points went begging.
The result leaves Penarth still holding onto fourth position in the De Cymru & The Marches 1 division, but with their opponents having pulled level on points ahead of a tough few weeks for the Vale side.
GWENT A 3
PENARTH A 1
The 2nd XI headed for Cwmbran on the back of a 6-2 thumping handed out to Neath the previous weekend, but knew a repeat would be tough against a better-placed side and with a handful of players missing.
As has become the norm in recent weeks, the weather decided to take a turn for the worse as pushback came around, but squally showers did little to dampen a competitive match between the teams occupying fourth and fifth places in the De Cymru 2 table.
Gwent had taken the return fixture 4-2, but the result had been distorted by two late strikes as Penarth chased victory. Incredibly, however, a similar storyline played out second time around as the home side went into an early lead, but were then held by a resolute Penarth defence anchored by the central pairing of Richard Bromiley and Zbig Sobierski.
Turning around just the one goal adrift provided the impetus for captain Rob Harrison’s half-time speech but, despite renewed effort from the Vale side, it was Gwent who scored next, this time taking advantage of a penalty corner.
The goal was somewhat against the run of play as Penarth gradually enjoyed more possession and pressure, but chances on goal were lacking until a quick ball from the back was carried on by Tom Davies and Dave Watkins, with the latter driving to the by-line before providing a cross that was converted from close range by Dave Thomas.
Sensing a comeback, Penarth decided to once again throw extra men forward, leaving a back three of Graeme Jones, Craig Llewellyn and Ian Smith to contain the Gwent threat. Unable to produce an equaliser, however, the Vale side eventually came unstuck as a breakaway overwhelmed the defence, leaving goalkeeper Calum Grant unable to deny the home side a game-ending third goal.
The defeat left Penarth’s overall position unchanged, and the Vale side now has a week off to prepare for the trip to new league leaders Abergavenny.
The 1st XI, meanwhile, face a similar challenge this weekend, travelling to top of the table – and free-scoring – Lydney, looking to avenge a heavy home defeat earlier in the campaign.
The club always welcomes new, old and returning players, umpires, supporters, friends and helpers, regardless of age and ability. Training takes place on the artificial turf at Barry Sports Centre every Wednesday, with the juniors in action between 6-7pm and seniors between 7-8pm.
Further information can be obtained from club secretary Dave Stevens (firstname.lastname@example.org).