THE Penarth Hockey Club 1st XI’s recent winning run continued into a third week, with successive victories over student opposition cementing their fourth position in the De Cymru & The Marches 1 division of the Davis Wood Hockey League.
CARDIFF UNIVERSITY A 2
After a good result against Cardiff Medics the previous weekend, Penarth welcomed Cardiff University A to Barry Sports Centre knowing that a win would take them closer to third-placed Lansdown.
As has become the case in recent weeks, the Vale side started well, passing the ball confidently and causing the students trouble. After a period of pressure, the home side won the first penalty corner of the afternoon and, despite a good save from the University ‘keeper, the ball fell to top scorer Chris Baker, who calmly volleyed the ball into the net.
The Bears were now well on top, and it was no surprise when they doubled their advantage. Again, it was Baker doing the damage, adding to his burgeoning season’s tally as he drag-flicked the ball into the top corner.
Going into the break 2-0 up, Penarth appeared very much in control, but were surprised on the restart as the students emerged to play some of their best hockey. Whether the home side were caught napping or simply outplayed was a matter of conjecture, but they suddenly found the game turned on its head as the visitors quickly levelled at 2-2.
With time running out, Penarth could have panicked, but, instead, made a final push to reclaim the advantage and take victory. After some stout defending denied the students a third goal, the home team finally managed to break away from their own end and eventually worked the play towards their talisman. Sensing a personal milestone as well as team success, Baker completed the move by calmly slotting the ball past the hapless 'keeper to complete his hat-trick and secure the victory.
SWANSEA CITY C 1
PENARTH A 1
Determined to bounce back from consecutive defeats against Abergavenny and Cardiff Medics in games that could have gone either way, the 2nd XI travelled west looking for a repeat of the 5-1 home success from an earlier fixture between the teams.
Despite encountering a Swansea City team featuring a number of different faces from the first game, the visitors started well, piling on the pressure as a new-look formation – with the wing halves pushing further forward – provided strength in numbers.
Swansea appeared unable to cope with the task at hand, but Penarth allowed their hosts to remain in the game by failing to take their chances. Although Dave Watkins gave the Vale side a deserved lead early in the half, the gap between the sides should have been greater going into the interval, with Tom Davies and Richard Clarkson having worked tirelessly to keep the ball at the Swansea end.
The lack of goals told as the teams turned around, with Swansea making changes that put an extra man in their midfield which eventually led to a succession of penalty corners that produced the equaliser.
Penarth, perhaps over-anxious after not turning around with a bigger advantage, wavered from their previously successful passing game and, in pressing forward to try and reclaim the lead, lost shape. This left the visitors exposed down the flanks, and it was no surprise that Swansea claimed the upper hand for much of the half. Some committed defending from Richard Bromily, Zbig Sobierserski and Craig Llewellyn managed to repel the home side, however, but the 1-1 result left the visitors with a deep sense of frustration, particularly as results elsewhere saw them drop to seventh overall in the De Cymru 2 standings.
While the 2nd XI have a weekend off to recover, the Firsts travel to Cyncoed for another student encounter, taking on the combined Cardiff & Met side currently occupying second place in their division.
The Penarth 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)