Penarthians end league campaign on disappointing note

First published in Sport

SULLY SPORTS 1st XV 36pts

OLD PENARTHIANS 1st XV 19

THE last fixture of the Division 5SE league campaign for Old Penarthians saw them travel to near neighbours Sully Sports, with the game having no promotion or relegation issues.

However, the spring sunshine and a surprisingly windless day saw a large crowd enjoy a high-scoring match that favoured the home team.

Penarthians did not get off to the best of starts when, after two minutes, Sports missed a kickable penalty and the lifeless effort continued when a try was conceded from a five metres line out and forward drive after eight minutes. Five minutes later another try and conversion for Sully made the score 12-0 and some of the Penarthians' supporters could be excused for an early exit.

Those that stayed saw something of a comeback when a line out won by Alun Haines from a good throw by Mark Smart was transferred to the threequarters where Craig Haines took the ball into contact for a quick recycle to Jon Crimp who fed Lloyd Davey. He passed to Romain Mathieu who drew the cover for Davey to take a return pass and score an unconverted try.

This was the last attack of the half that had seen other opportunities for the backs to run through their moves but often from too deep as the forwards struggled to gain adequate territory and possession.

The second half started well, however, and from another good line out from Haines, the ball was driven up by Joel deClaire and then Crimp, before recycling to Haines who passed out to Davey, who, in turn, passed to Elliot Clarke on the wing. The winger beat his opposite number and, with the full back approaching, passed inside to Davey for his second try, which was converted by Crimp.

At 12-12 and Old Pens in the ascendancy, it was, unfortunately, the Sully team that took the initiative with an urgency that left the visitors sadly lacking in spirit. Two converted tries in a five-minute period saw Sully into a comfortable 26-12 lead but at least the attacking play from the threequarters continued.

Another line out inside the opposition 22 saw a maul driven towards the try line and, as Lee Brennan thought he was going to score, Gareth Welford pinched the ball from his hands to touch down in the corner. Crimp converted from the touchline via the post.

The last converted try of the match went to Sully Sports, however, when another attack from deep saw a loose pass fall between three prone Penarthians' players and the opposition centre pick up the ball and score between the posts. The last kick of the game saw a penalty for the Sports and a final score of 36-19.

Whilst some of the refereeing decisions may have left Penarthians' players scratching their heads, it will be the players themselves who need to do more than scratch their heads to decide whether any of their talent can be aligned with spirit to make next year a more profitable season.

Next Saturday there is a club fixture against English touring team Old Haberdasheries. The kick off will be at 2.30pm.

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