Old Penarthians v Penarth
11:02am Thursday 2nd January 2014 in Penarth sport
OUTSTANDING: Wootton makes progress with Matt Sutton attempting a tackle. (Photograph by Ken Langley) (3187378)
IN FRONT of a large Boxing Day crowd, Penarth RFC hosted Old Penarthians in the annual fixture between these two clubs. It was a match that produced a high level of commitment despite the festive celebrations that must have occurred a day earlier and there was little quarter given by either team.
It was however unfortunate that the Old Pens could not locate a fit hooker and that the game was played throughout with uncontested scrums which probably denied Penarth one of their more potent weapons.
It was however one of the other familiar features of the Penarth forward efforts that saw them organise themselves from a line-out and drive the Old Penarthians backwards to score a try that was converted by James Docherty after 21 minutes.
The initial stages prior to the try had however been quite even with the defensive units having the upper hand. For Penarthians Max Wootton was outstanding in attack, often making progress and finding Joel deClaire, Tom Sidford and Sam Hall in support. Liam Union also made ground from scrum half and Chris Poole was a constant threat at outside half
Line-outs had also been quite evenly contested with Danny Godfrey and Andy Gill supported by Tony Kemp providing a useful supply of ball for the three quarters against the threat of Stuart Clarke and Jon Boland.
It was however the other Penarth second row that scored the second Penarth try after good defending by James Williams and Steve Roberts had stopped earlier drives only to be let down by a some of their colleagues missing a couple of tackles.
Docherty again converted for a 14-point lead right on the half time interval however Penarthians struck back and with Poole breaking to the blind side from broken play he passed to Louis Chandler who transferred the ball immediately to winger Dean Dacruz. He stepped inside his opposite number and one of the forwards on the 22-yard line before beating the cover defence to score. The conversion was missed by Union.
The second half saw the introduction of numerous substitutions as both teams maximised the number of players who had shown an interest in playing in the fixture but it did not detract in any way from the standard of play or the entertainment.
And it was a great piece of skill after 20 minutes that saw Old Penarthians very much back in the game. From a line-out on the left-hand side of the pitch Poole kicked across the pitch with the inside of his foot for the ball to bounce perfectly for winger Charles Gore. He made ground and committed his winger before passing inside to supporting full back Lloyd Davey who transferred quickly to centre Rob Gill who had an unopposed run to the try line for a score converted by Poole and a 19-12 scoreline.
Penarth were however to have the last word when former Penarthian Ben Donovan broke through powerfully to score an unconverted try by the corner flag. Other chances also fell to the Penarth team and both Boland and Ryan Smith were unlucky with their efforts.
The next outing for the 1st XV will be a home league fixture against Machen on Saturday, January 4, with a 2.30pm kick off.