Gwernyfed 18 V Penarth 19

TREFECCA Road is always a good place to go: lovely scenery and the Seasiders often do well there. Usually not without the drama that unfolded last Saturday.

The Green, White and Blacks haven’t exactly burst out of the traps this season and it was soon clear to see why they had only secured the one win so far this season. The fact that Penarth had turned up with two-thirds of a front row, necessitating passive scrums, knocked them back further.

The visitors were hardly at full strength, but after a close call where a grubber just beat Jamie Halpin to the dead ball line, preventing a dramatic early try, they eased into a six point lead courtesy of two penalties from James Docherty.

Penarth were looking dangerous behind the scrum, but the hosts’ disruptive tactics at the breakdown were interrupting the flow of possession and it wasn’t until the 26th minute that they managed to move the score along significantly.

Alex Thau had already made a 20-metre thrust to the line from outside centre, but possession from an unopposed scrum saw the ball moved rapidly right, where Rhys Lakin feinted to go outside, but cut inside to score.

The Seasiders were well on top now and referee Andrew Timms had finally worked out what Gwernyfed were up to at the breakdown and yellow-carded lock David Roberts. The ensuing line-out was driven to the line, with Mike Clare the scorer.

For the second week running, Penarth had the game by the scruff of the neck, but nearly managed to throw it all away in a bizarre fashion. Inexplicably fumbling the ball backwards behind a passive scrum, Rhys Morgan impeded the Gwernyfed player bursting through and the Seasiders finished the half two instead of three scores ahead and one man down.

The hosts certainly came out of those traps with a vengeance in the second half and made a one-man advantage look like many more as the Seasiders struggled to keep up. It took only four minutes to reduce the arrears as outside centre Zachariah Snape went over in the corner and after a further 10 minutes with Penarth firmly on the back foot; Gwernyfed drove a line-out over for a second try to bring them to within one point.

With all the damage done, Morgan returned and something like normal service was resumed. A third Docherty penalty eased the lead back up to four points, but both sides were simply trying too hard and a string of marginal errors kept the score at 15-19 until the 73rd minute when the hosts converted a penalty to reduce the arrears again to a single point and set up an exhilarating if strange finish.

Gwernyfed outside half Gareth Dodd kicked long to touch in open play, the Seasiders were forced to defend a five-metre scrum. The throw was adjudged ‘not straight’, scrum with put-in to the hosts, Penarth hands in the ruck, penalty Gwernyfed. With Dodd on excellent form with the boot, the hosts surprised everyone with a kick to touch. The catch-and drive was perfectly executed, but ferocious defence by the Seasiders deflected the final thrust, the ball was grounded short and the final whistle secured four points for the visitors.

Penarth: Keiron Carpenter, Jamie Halpin, Alex Thau, Tom Luck, James Crothers, Rhys Lakin, Rhys Morgan, Chris Grant, James Docherty, Sean O’Sullivan, Mike Clare, Stuart Clarke, Scot Mackie, Elliot Smith, Geraint Blake

Scorers: Lakin (T), Clare T, Docherty (3P).

Next match is the Swalec Plate Round Two on Saturday, October 25 at Ystrad Fawr Ground, Ystrad Mynach. Penarth will play Penallta with kick off at 2.30pm.

WRU National League Division 3 (South-East)

Saturday, October 18

P W D L F A Pts

1 Brecon 6 6 0 0 188 83 26

2 Pontyclun 6 5 1 0 122 72 24

3 CRC Caerdydd 6 4 1 1 192 142 23

5 St Peters 7 4 0 3 195 115 21

4 Porth Harlequins 6 4 0 2 124 111 18

6 Fairwater 6 3 1 2 125 122 15

7 St Joseph's 6 3 0 3 148 128 17

8 PENARTH 7 2 0 5 116 208 13

9 Abercynon 6 1 0 5 126 164 8

10 Gwernyfed 6 1 1 4 90 126 8

11 Pentyrch 6 1 0 5 105 160 7

12 Wattstown 6 1 0 5 76 176 6