CANTON 1st XV 31

AFTER the interruptions due to the weather and Six Nations fixtures, it was back to league action for the Old Penarthians Rugby Club 1st XV onSaturday in a home match against Division 5SE table toppers Canton.

In previous outings in the league and the SWALEC Bowl competition, the Old Pens were defeated by over 100 points so a reverse by 31-10 was a positive improvement.

In fact, there were several positives in the performance that would have pleased the coaching staff, not least of which was the displays of the forwards who were competitive throughout. The scrummage, with Lee Brennan, Bali Salisbury and Dale Norris, were a match for their heavier opponents and the line out, with Mark Smart, Danny Godfrey and Alun Haines, provided a good source of possession. The rolling maul from a couple of these line outs were particularly threatening and, with a little more control, should have led to a score.

The threequarters also showed that they have abilities and scored two good tries. The first, on six minutes, was a result of outside half Jonathan Crimp making a half break before passing to Gareth Moorcraft who, with a strong run, broke two tackles from 20 metres to score. This was the first score of the match and, whilst the kick was missed, Penarthians were worthy of the lead.

Penarthians also scored the last points of the game through a try from Richie Moir which was as skilful as the first had been direct. In this instance, skipper Joel deClaire robbed the opposition ball at the breakdown and scrum half Gareth Clancey passed to Crimp, who, without interruption, passed to Davey. Davey passed to Moorcraft who passed to debutant and substitute winger Romain Mathieu. He then drew the last defender and gave the perfect try-scoring pass to full back Moir who touched down in the corner. The kick from Crimp narrowly missed.

Unfortunately, in between these two scores, the Canton team had scored a penalty and four converted tries. The try scorers were winger Barry John (two), centre Scott O’Brien and fellow centre James Roberts, with the kicks from full back Luke Radford.

For Penarthians,Tom Sidford was an effective ball carrier and deClaire was a constant thorn to the opposition at the maul and ruck situations. Davey had a few opportunities to counter attack but it was a shame that Dean Dacruz had to limp off in his final game before moving for work opportunities.

Penarthians did have one further opportunity to score when a break out from defence saw Moir run into space with one man to beat but he chose an inside option which resulted in a tackle by the full back rather than a pass to Mathieu to repay the earlier try- scoring delivery.

Overall, Canton were justifiably the victors although it is hoped that the some of the good aspects of the Old Penarthians' performance will serve them well in the away fixture against Newport Saracens on Saturday. Kick-off is at 2.30pm and potential spectators are advised that the Saracens play at the Maesglas Playing Fields, Docks Way, Newport.

For those wishing to stay at home, the second team have a friendly fixture against Llantwit Fardre; again with a 2.30pm start.