Impressive performance by Penarth RFC U12s
7:30am Thursday 20th September 2012 in Sport
PENARTH U12s 17 RHIWBINA U12s 5
PENARTH U12s kicked off their season with a hard fought 17-5 victory over Rhiwbina at the Athletic Field.
Playing on the seniors' full-size pitch for the first time, both sides enjoyed the open space.
In a highly competitive match Penarth, who handed debuts to Tomos Jac Fazackerly and Adam Davies, were inspired early on by the tackling of James Rees, Cai Lloyd and George Price as the pack put their bodies on the line.
The tackling was infectious and speedster Jack Shewring caught the bug with a match-defining encounter, drifting in from his wing as he lined up the Rhiwbina three-quarter before driving him yards back and depositing him safely on the floor.
Rhiwbina were the bigger side with a physical pack and an exciting looking back division, and it was against the run of play when debutant Fazackerly broke free in midfield and went on a jinking run, outpacing the Rhiwbina defence, to finish under the posts for a fine solo effort. Iwan Hadfield added the conversion.
Rhiwbina responded with a period of intense pressure, camped in the Penarth half, progressing towards the line. The Penarth defence was well organised but the territory and possession finally told as Rhiwbina crossed for a deserved try.
Penarth, recognising that their pace out-wide through Jack Shewring and Michael Halligan should give them an advantage on the full-size pitch, attempted to move the ball - but a combination of wayward passing and early season handling errors saw a number of well intentioned back-moves fail.
With the pressure coming from the Rhiwbina defence, Penarth varied the play with a few well placed kicks, causing disruption in the Rhiwbina ranks. Matthew Barber profited as he collected the ball in open play, spotted the space out wide and used his pace and strength to glide into the corner. The game was poised 12-5 at half-time.
Penarth demonstrated the strength of their squad as they rang the changes, and started the second half with a belief and confidence that the game was there for the taking.
Tackling and defence were again a feature but this time the tackles were made in the opponents' half, as it was the home side who benefited from the breeze at their backs.
The rush defence saw Rhiwbina spill the ball. Quick hands from Penarth moved it away from the breakdown and found Barber, who again demonstrated what a potent finisher he is. Still with plenty to do, he side-stepped and swerved his way to the line for his second try in an impressive display.
The coaching team will be very satisfied with the performance in this first game of the season, particularly that of the pack at the set-piece and the tackling throughout the team. Despite being the smaller side, Penarth showed how good technique and a competitive attitude can reap rewards.
The breakdown, an area of concern in previous seasons, was significantly improved as Penarth recycled plenty of ball. Handling and passing will improve with each game, as will more direct lines of running from the three-quarters.
A promising start for a side that is clearly benefiting from a team spirit that comes after being together for six years.