Old Penarthians 2nd XV beat Rhiwbina 2nds in Cardiff & District Rugby Union Premier League encounter
8:40am Thursday 4th October 2012 in Sport
BALL AWAY: Old Penarthians' Lloyd Davey slips the ball away from two defenders in Saturday's league clash with Rhiwbina. Picture: Ken Langley.
Old Penarthians 2nd XV 22 RHIWBINA 2nd XV 18
SATURDAY saw the start of the SWALEC Bowl knockout competition for teams in Divisions 4 to 7 of the WRU National Leagues but, with Old Penarthians receiving a bye straight into the first round, the 1st XV were without a fixture.
At one stage fixture secretary Jon Vaughan was asked by coach Jeff Norman to arrange an alternative game but, with a large number of the first team squad having made other arrangements, they decided on a rest weekend.
That left centrestage to the 2nd XV to entertain Rhiwbina 2nd team in a Cardiff & District Rugby Union Premier League fixture at home at Cwrt-y-vil Playing Fields.
So, on a bright but chilly afternoon, the referee, Francesca Martin, blew her whistle for the visitors to kick off into a stiff breeze blowing from the Beachwood Drive end of the ground. The ball did not reach the required 10 metres and Old Penarthians captain, Mark Smart, opted for a scrum.
The ball was won by hooker Gareth Boulton and scrum-half Gareth Welford broke to the blindside. He managed to break through the tackle of a defender and threw a pass towards Alex Lewis on the wing. Like many of his passes on the day, the ball did not reach its intended target and hit the floor in a direction which most considered to be forward. Fortunately, the referee did not have the same view as most of the other people present and allowed play to continue.
Equally as fortunate was the fact that Lewis did not have to catch the pass but, instead, chipped ahead before collecting the bouncing ball and scoring a try wide out by the clubhouse. Jonathan Crimp struck the crossbar with the conversion but the ball bounced back into the field of play and the points were missed. There were also no T-shirts on offer for the ‘crossbar challenge’ featured weekly on the Soccer AM TV programme.
After 18 minutes driving play by the Rhiwbina forwards set up a platform for their backs to attack and, following a series of rucks, the home defensive line was fragmented and a kick over the heads of the defenders found no full back at home and the Rhiwbina centre ran through to score. The kick was unsuccessful and the scores were tied at five points all.
From the restart Penarthians exerted some pressure themselves and, with a scrum that was dominant throughout the first half through Peter Harry, Dale Norris and Boulton supported by the ‘heavyweight’ second row of Dean Pratt and Danny Godfrey, a series of possession was provided to scrum-half Welford, whose only common feature with legendary Gareth Edwards was his first name.
It was something of a surprise, therefore, on 25 minutes when a penalty was awarded against the Penarthians at a ruck and the Rhiwbina scrum half tapped the ball to himself and spun through several tackles from 10 metres out to score. The kick was again missed and Rhiwbina led 10 -5.
A fine restart kick by Crimp went the allotted 10 metres and straight into the arms of the onrushing Noel Etxragary, only for the flanker to drop the ball with the waters of the Red Sea opening before him for a straight run to the line.
On 30 minutes Boulton retired from the fray with an injury to be replaced by Bali Salisbury at hooker who was straight into the action with some defensive tackling with the assistance of Paul Kemp.
More good work by the forwards saw the referee award a penalty to Old Penarthians for another ruck infringement on halfway and this time Liam Union took a quick tap. He burst through the defensive line and, with 20 metres to go, with players in support and only the full back to beat, Union sold a dummy and ran straight into the defender who brought him down. Fortunately, Union was able to release the ball to Godfrey who scored under the posts for Crimp to convert. Penarthians led 12-10 and this was the half time score.
Six minutes into the second half Rhiwbina were awarded a penalty which their outside half kicked and nudged his side in front again by a point. Rhiwbina then produced their best move of the game with an attack to the left hand side of the field before sweeping back to the right hand side.
The outside half seemed to be running across the field too much and cutting out his other threequarters but, with a neat pass around his back, he released his winger to score the try to take the lead to 18-12.
By now it was ‘end-to-end’ play and the introduction of Josh Hurley, as a replacement for Lewis, seemed to add a lot of pace which could be expected from someone who has played at a higher level within the WRU league structure.
And it was from one of his runs from within his own half that left the defence floundering and a clear field ahead. Hurley found Gill and Richie Moir in support who, in turn, found Union and Godfrey before releasing Pratt for the last 15 metres to score wide out on the touchline. The conversion was unsuccessful.
There was now 15 minutes to play and Penarthians introduced their last substitution in Matt Goldsworthy who was soon contributing with a tackle of his opposite number into touch within his own 22.
With the excitement of a one-point game, tensions began to mount and the penalty count was ever increasing mainly for indiscretions at the ruck area. Finally one of the Old Penarthians' errors resulted in a penalty kick in front of the posts which was missed by the Rhiwbina No 10.
This miss energised the Old Penarthians and they again attacked from deep through Union, now playing at flanker having started at centre. He passed onto Hurley who found Gill in support and he ran in from 25 metres to score the decisive try. Crimp again hit the crossbar with the failed conversion and there was still no T-shirt for his efforts.
With the score of 22-18 in favour of the home team they then had to defend stoutly for the last five minutes and, despite being repeatedly penalised, managed to hang on for the victory.
This was a solid performance by Old Penarthians in all departments against a side who the week previously had beaten Clwb Rygbi Caerdydd by 50 points. It should give sidelined skipper Buckley every encouragement for the rest of the campaign particularly because of the number of younger players making themselves available to support the more experienced members of the squad.
* On Saturday, October 6, the 1st XV pay their first visit to Trelai Park to meet Caerau Ely in a SWALEC Division 5SE fixture and the 2nd XV are also away playing against Barry 2nd XV in another CADRU league fixture. Both games are scheduled to kick off at 2.30pm.
* It is unfortunate that the club is without a fixture at home this weekend as it is important for their financial stability that the revenue is maintained throughout the year particularly in the winter months.
Therefore, in an attempt to encourage support on other days of the week the club is running a promotional offer throughout October and early November of reduced price beers. So on Sundays and Mondays, Carling, Strongbow and Worthington Creamflow will be available at £2/pint.
Why not support your local club and at the same time enjoy the full range of the BSkyB and ESPN Sports Channel programmes that will include Premiership and Championship football, Aviva Premiership rugby and Heineken Cup rugby.