Barry RFC 32
AS RECENTLY as three weeks ago, the Seasiders had just beaten Pontyclun, having run Aberdare and Llantrisant close the previous two Saturdays.
They were lying in seventh place in Division 2 East Central, fully 15 points above the second relegation place. Three catastrophic defeats later, they approach their final game of the season at home to St Peters with a win being the only result that will guarantee an escape from relegation.
Luckily there are plenty of other possibilities, as Penarth are in competition for the second relegation place with Clwb Rygbi, Abercynon and Pontyclun, who play each other in equally critical end-of-season clashes.
The Penarth 'Seasiders' made a slow start against a slick and purposeful Barry and found themselves 0 - 10 down after only four minutes. The visitors ran back the restart from an early penalty and simple good handling put number eight Luke O’Sullivan clear.
Penarth finally got their hands on the ball two minutes later as James Docherty converted a penalty.
Things weren’t going so well in the tight either, so there was a constant struggle for possession with only the visitors’ errors keeping the score down.
The Seasiders were offered an opportunity after 25 minutes as one of the Barry locks was awarded a yellow card for completely ignoring the offside law at a ruck and they took it immediately. The penalty was kicked to touch for a five metre lineout, Owen Lloyd took the throw and Stuart Clarke drove straight through where Barry’s number five should have been.
Barry seemed certain to increase their lead as their inside centre drove through three tackles to the line, but the score was declined on the basis of a double movement and it was 8 - 10 at half-time.
No reason to panic at the start of the second half, but then the visitors rode their luck well and had put the game beyond Penarth’s reach by the 55th minute.
An early Kyle Barros penalty had extended the Barry lead to 8 - 13, but the insertion of Richard Merrett had reinforced the Penarth scrum and their backs were beginning to see some ball at last. Then the ball shot sideways out of a scrum, picked up by the Barry blindside flanker and the move finished off by their outside half Einon Scott.
The long restart was sent back with interest by Barros, but as Alex Thau ran it back upfield, the ball was dislodged in a tackle, with replacement flanker Moyle running clear for Barry’s third try.
Even now the Seasiders back division was getting plenty of possession, but this availed them little as Barry had clearly been coached to attack the ball rather than tackle the player.
The remainder of the game was simply a string of turnovers as Penarth failed to turn possession into points. By the time the Barry outside centre had side-stepped through a static defence on 67 minutes to extend the lead to 8 - 32, the game had long gone beyond the Seasiders’ reach.
The good news is that Penarth are more than capable of beating a St Peters side who have lost their last two games (against Pontyclun and Clwb Rygbi, ironically). After all, the Seasiders ran out 17 - 11 winners in the earlier fixture at Minster Road.
Penarth take on St Peter's at the Athletic Field, kick-off 2.30pm.
Penarth: Mitch Hickey, James Crothers, Sam Laity, Chris Mortimer (Owen Rees), Tom Luck (C), James Thatcher, Rhys Morgan, Jerome Bryan (Richard Merrett), James Docherty, Alan Doyle, Owen Lloyd, Caleb Docking (Ollie Shore), Stuart Clarke, Elliott Smith, Alex Thau (Mike Clare)
Scorers: Stuart Clarke (try), James Docherty (penalty)
National League Division 2 (East Central)
P W D L F A Pts
1 Dinas Powys 21 16 1 4 645 334 82
2 Llantrisant 21 17 0 4 531 341 79
3 St Peters 21 14 0 7 522 373 65
4 Barry 20 13 0 7 460 353 63
5 Aberdare 21 10 1 10 470 435 55
6 Gilfach Goch 21 9 0 12 437 465 47
7 Llanishen 19 9 1 9 439 433 46
8 CRC Caerdydd 21 7 2 12 508 581 42
9 PENARTH 21 8 1 12 386 507 41
10 Pontyclun 21 7 1 13 354 477 39