Bonus point for free-flowing Penarthians

Penarth Times: SET TO PASS: Old Penarthians' Gareth Moorcraft about to send Charles Gore away for a try. Picture: Ken Langley. SET TO PASS: Old Penarthians' Gareth Moorcraft about to send Charles Gore away for a try. Picture: Ken Langley.

CARDIFF SARACENS 5pts

OLD PENARTHIANS 1st XV 29

THE Old Penarthians visited Roath Park on Saturday for this WRU National League Division 5SE match in the hope of overturning a three-point defeat in the reverse fixture last October. And, on a day when the sun shone, it was the Penarthians' players who returned home with smiles on their faces after the 29-5 victory. A bonus point for the four tries scored was also a justified result from a performance that showed good interplay between backs and forwards throughout.

The forwards set the platform with aggressive scrummaging and good line out work that always had the Saracens on the back foot. The threequarters then made the best of their opportunities and showed that the handling aberrations of the previous week were forgotten amongst the free-flowing style that saw wingers Elliot Clarke and Charles Gore and full-back Romain Mathieu with plenty of ball with which to run.

Any early nerves were settled with a Jon Crimp penalty after eight minutes, but it took until the 27th minute before another score was added when a throw in from captain for the day Mark Smart was caught by Alun Haines and the forwards organised a 15 metres maul which saw Lee Brennan control the ball at the rear and cross for the try converted by Crimp.

Despite more dominant forward work by Noel Etxregary, Danny Godfrey, Tom Sidford and Sam Hall, this was the last score of the half.

The second half was 20 minutes old before the next score which was a touchdown for Gore following good interplay between James Williams and Paul Rapley before Gareth Moorcraft appeared to be set free from 40 metres. He, however, slowed down to draw the final defender before giving the scoring pass. Crimp converted.

The next try resulted from a well-judged kick from which Williams nearly scored. The forwards arrived in support and, with the Saracens defending desperately, they conceded a penalty. Gareth Clancey was quick to take a tap kick to himself before sending Tony Kemp in for the try from 10 metres to make the score 22-0 and a good day for the props who both scored.

With Penarthians chasing the bonus point, defence became a little erratic and they conceded a try to flanker Aden Hughes after 38 minutes but that was not the last score.

With time running out, a break from his own half by Mathieu, again proving what a balanced runner he is, beat the first line of defence and, with support from Rapley, Craig Haines and Richie Moir, the final pass was delivered to Clarke who ran under the posts unopposed. Crimp converted.

The win sees the Old Penarthians with 20 league points for the season and, whilst still only 10th in the table of 12 teams, there is daylight between them and the lower sides.

Rested skipper Joel deClaire will, however, hope to add to this points tally before the end on the season in May.

Next Saturday the 1st XV are at home to table toppers St Albans, with a 2.30pm kick off. Opposition for the 2nd XV is being sought through the fixture pool.

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