Penarth RFC 18 - Gilfach Goch 17

HAVING grabbed a win in the last minute of last week’s game, the Seasiders gained a third successive victory in a markedly different manner against Gilfach Goch.

After a scrappy start with both sides struggling to maintain any continuity, the worry was that the wind was anchoring all the play in Penarth’s own half.

There was reason for concern, as Gilfach gained a five metre line out, with openside Mike Smallman latched on to a knock-back and crossed by the posts after 12 minutes.

This seemed to wake up the hosts, who went on to dominate the next phases.

The pack were mauling well, while the backs were beginning to gel nicely, but what the team finally conjured up after 28 minutes was a delight.

Tom Smith cut in from the right touchline and Alex Thau took it through the defensive line. Tom Hillman picked up from the ruck and fed lock Matt Allen, who side-stepped through a gap and scored out wide.

Gilfach failed to claim a poor restart and the Seasiders were off again, this time with Allen hurtling down the left touchline.

Tackled just outside the 22, he passed off the deck to the arriving Scott Mackie, who tip-toed along the line to score in the corner.

With only a minute to go in the half and leading 10 - 7, the Seasiders lost Thau to the bin and Gilfach levelled the scores with a 50 metre penalty.

As Penarth were penalised again, the Gilfach full back Craig Davies lined it up from 48 metres, but put it past the posts.

The Seasiders started the second half a man short, but with the wind at their backs and as the Gilfach loose head got on the wrong side of the referee, they found themselves a man up.

Waves of attacks gained any amount of territory, but no points.

Play in the set pieces wasn’t going well either, as the home line out consistently failed to supply useful possession and scrums were repeatedly reset.

As Penarth sent on the replacements on the hour, the deadlock was finally broken as they finally secured line out possession they could drive.

Mason Good was carried over in the corner for a third unconverted try and a 15 - 10 lead.

Having spent the previous 20 minutes defending, the visitors reacted decisively.

Running the restart back, they secured a penalty on the home 22. From the five metre line out, blindside flanker Jordan Richards, their stand-out player, crossed out wide, but as Gilfach were making a habit of converting their tries, this gave them the lead at 15 - 17.

Gilfach definitely had their tails up now, but the Seasiders dug deep and although they rode their luck in the closing stages, the character of this squad shone through.

Desperate last-ditch defence held out for 10 minutes as the visitors camped out in the 22, but a swift break-out was halted by a Gilfach infringement and Nathan Smith slotted over the penalty for an 18 - 17 lead.

No-one could have anticipated that the referee would extend injury time into the 92nd minute, but the remainder of the match turned into a hair-raising roller-coaster as Penarth secured an unlikely win.

A bizarre penalty award gave Gilfach an immediate opportunity to wrap it up, but their previous accuracy deserted them and it was scuffed wide.

Then they were awarded a scrum penalty on the home 10 metre line, but opted for the line out from which they failed to score.

Then Penarth were done for not scrummaging straight and the visitors yet again turned down the points, choosing a scrum which got them nowhere.

With the floodlights on and little clue as to how or when it would all end, Gilfach finally gained what looked like the decisive penalty in front of the posts on the home 22 metre line, which their outside half obligingly sent wide of the posts.

Penarth: Huw Elias, Tom Smith, Adam Lewis, Tom Smith, James Crothers (Dylan Hansen) Tom Hillman (Nathan Smith), Rhys Morgan, Richard Merrett (Sean O’Sullivan), Mason Good (James Docherty), Alan Doyle, Matt Allen, Dan Seal, Scott Mackie, Alex Thau, Harry Roberts (Elliott Smith)

Scorers: Matt Allen, Scott Mackie, Mason Good (tries), Nathan Smith (penalty).

Penarth will next be in action against Barry RFC on Saturday, December 17, playing at the Reservoir Fields, Merthyr Dyfan Road, Barry. Kick-off at 2.30pm.

National League Division 2 (East Central)

P W D L F A Pts

1 Dinas Powys 10 7 0 3 280 167 37

3 St Peters 10 8 0 2 212 124 34

2 Llantrisant 9 7 0 2 215 158 31

4 Barry 9 6 0 3 229 167 29

5 Aberdare 10 5 1 4 231 202 28

6 Gilfach Goch 10 4 0 6 205 209 22

7 PENARTH 10 5 0 5 167 241 20

8 Abercynon 10 4 1 5 148 187 20

9 Llanishen 9 4 0 5 146 183 18

10 Pontyclun 9 2 1 6 137 224 15

11 CRC Caerdydd 10 2 1 7 211 252 13

12 Old Illtydians 10 2 0 8 163 238 13