Old Penarthians tackle appalling conditions

First published in Penarth sport

Rogerstone 29 Old Penarthians 8

WITH the Seconds team fixture away to Rhiwbina already a victim of the atrocious weather and subject to a Friday postponement, Old Penarthians Firsts were afforded the luxury of a full squad for the first time in 2014 when they travelled to Rogerstone for the return fixture with the host club.

Having succumbed to two late tries in the 24-13 defeat in September's home tie at Cwrt-y-vil, the Old Boys were hopeful of turning the tables this time, thus ending the run of five successive league defeats that has marred their efforts this term.

Sadly, those aspirations did not take into account the appalling conditions that greeted the players at the venue and it was almost unbelievable that the match official deemed the waterlogged surface playable.

In the event and with the assistance of a further downpour, the hosts set to with a will and Penarthians were unable to resist the tidal wave that swept them aside and produced a corner touchdown after only two minutes.

Worse was to follow ten minutes later when the same player emerged from the maul on the opposite side of the field to claim a second try that was converted to establish the twelve-oint lead.

The try scorer was later involved in a clash of heads with Lee Brennan that saw both forced off, but the visitors recovered their composure with a spell of pressure that received scant reward in the solitary penalty kicked by Jonathan Crimp. Whereas Rogerstone upped the ante in injury time with the converted try that extended the interval score to 19-3.

Gareth Clancy's sin bin departure in the second minute compounded Penarthian woes and it was no surprise that the hosts went further ahead with yet another forward's try eight minutes into the half.

Conditions, by this time, were taking a toll and Alun Haines, James Williams, Noel Etxegaray, and Gareth Welford all followed Brennan on the injury trail to leave the side with 14 players. Nevertheless the remainder battled bravely with Geraint Evans, Tom Sidford, Mark Smart and Joel De Claire all working hard but forced to give second best to a solid home eight.

Behind the scrum, Gareth Clancy relished the physical contact and Jonathan Crimp showed good judgement with his line kicking but, generally, it was a miserable time for those in the backs as they struggled to come to terms with the relentless rain and cloying mud.

That said, they still summoned the spirit to secure the last word when, in response to a fifth Rogerstone try on the half hour, the ball was worked to the left for Lloyd Davey to defy the elements in the 40-yard dash to the corner that reduced the deficit in a 8-29 scoreline.

Both sides will be hoping for an improvement in the weather so as to permit Saturday's home games to take place. The Firsts are due to entertain Bettws from Newport whilst the Seconds take on St Albans, both matches scheduled to kick off at 2.30pm.

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