PENARTH Hockey Club enjoyed an unbeaten record in the Verde Recreo League last weekend, with two victories and a draw from the teams in action....

PENARTH 4-1 Wotton-under-Edge

After suffering three consecutive defeats for the first time in over three years, the1st XI welcomed Wotton-under-Edge to Stanwell knowing that the visitors were also struggling for form.

Wotton, who had a year in the Verde Recreo Premiership under their belt having been promoted the season before Penarth, started brightly and took the lead after just ten minutes, but soon belied their lowly league position as Penarth subsequently controlled possession and worked their way back into the game.

It took until just before the half-time break for the Bears to pull level, however, with Sam Williamson equalising from a penalty corner to send the sides into the interval at one apiece.

Once back in the game, Penarth dominated, taking the game to their opponents in the second half and stretching out an unassailable lead. Chris Baker put the Bears ahead with a trademark cool finish after a good build-up that started at the back and progressed through the midfield with good interplay and movement from the forwards. Once in possession, Baker calmly rounded the Wotton ‘keeper before slotting the ball into the bottom corner

Ben Croxall, returning to the side following a two-game absence, made it 3-1 shortly afterwards, converting another penalty corner, before emphasising what the team had missed by firing home a second on the reverse from the top of the D. Croxall’s strike was created by captain Tom Haran, who finished the match with three assists in what was an improved all-round performance by the home side.

The 4-1 win also provided a timely three points for the Bears, lifting them back into the mid-table mix ahead of a trip to local rivals Whitchurch this Saturday.

Goalscorers: Sam Williamson, Chris Baker, Ben Croxall (2)

Wotton-under-Edge ‘A’ 3-3 PENARTH ‘A’

With their senior teams facing off in Penarth, Wotton ‘A’ entertained the Bears’ 2nd XI in the Cotswolds, with the two sides knowing that victory would come with the added bonus of second place in De Cymru & The Marches 2.

Penarth went into the fixture occupying the second promotion position, but remained vulnerable to those teams immediately behind, adding extra tension to their third second-versus-third encounter in as many weeks. The Bears showed no sign of pressure as they made a quick start to the game, quickly gaining the ascendancy by pressuring the Wotton defence deep in the home team’s half and creating several half-chances, which were well saved by the Wotton ‘keeper.

The breakthrough eventually came midway through the half when Sam Chick’s deflection was saved by the ‘keeper before falling to David Joyce, who was able to gather the rebound and fire into the empty net, making a difficult chance look very easy.

Joyce found himself with another sight of goal two minutes later but, with the goal at his mercy, he was taken out by a sliding challenge from a Wotton defender.

To the disbelief of the Penarth players, the umpires decided to only award a short corner instead of a penalty flick and the Bears’ opportunity to extend their advantage went begging as the score stayed at 1-0.

As the half went on, Wotton looked increasingly dangerous on the counter and, but for man-of-the-match Adam Putt making a few key saves, the home side would have equalised than they did. Parity was almost inevitable, however, and, with the equalising goal coming just before half-time, the sides went into the interval on level terms.

Penarth looked to regroup during the break, determined to keep things tight in the second half in order to regain the lead.

However, within ten seconds of the restart, they found themselves behind, as a defensive error gifted the ball to the Wotton centre forward, who neatly tucked the ball past Putt into the bottom corner.

After suffering body blows either side of the interval, Penarth did well to refocus and quickly began to dominate possession once again, as the defence broke down Wotton attacks high up the pitch with second team debutant Elys Johnson putting in a particularly impressive performance.

For all their possession, however, the Bears looked likeliest to score from a penalty corner and, with 15 minutes to go, were level again as Tom Griffiths got forward from left back to win the set-piece. It was left to Joyce to convert, though, the striker netting his third brace in as many games.

Just as they got their tails up, however, Penarth suffered another setback, with Wotton seemingly taking the restart without a whistle being blown or the relevant umpire retreating to his end of the field.

The home side capitalised on the uncertainty by catching the Bears’ defence off-guard and grabbing a sloppy goal to retake the lead almost as soon as they had lost it.

Penarth continued to press for an equaliser but, by committing more men forward, left gaps at the back which Wotton’s potent attacking line were able to exploit, creating several clear-cut chances that an inspired Putt did well to keep out with a string of top class saves.

Although the game remained in the balance, it appeared that Putt’s efforts would be in vain despite the visitors continuing to press right to the final whistle.

However, with two minutes left, the Bears were rewarded with a deserved equaliser, as Matthew Stollery fired a drag flick into the top corner to salvage a very important point ahead of this weekend’s home game with Bridgend.

Goalscorers: David Joyce (2), Matthew Stollery

PENARTH ‘C’ 6-3 Whitchurch ‘F’

With no games for either the 3rd or 5th XIs, the Fourths upheld the development end of the team structure with a fine home win over Whitchurch to maintain their grip on top spot in De Cymru 3.

It proved to be an enthralling contest between two teams featuring a nice balance of youth and experience.

Promising youngster Tyrone Moore scored a brace of early goals before Iwan Meddins netted an excellent third for the home side.

Having established their lead, however, Penarth started to get a little over-confident, and conceded a goal to a superb Whitchurch counter-attack.

Suitably stung, the home side responded with another Moore strike to make it 4-1 at half-time, but the Bears did not learn their lesson and a combination of complacency and slick play from the Whitchurch youngsters enabled them to peg the score back to 4-3 with two early second half goals.

This only served to fire the home side up though, with Moore adding his fourth of the day before Greg Cross rounded out the scoring with a brilliant goal to make it 6-3 before the final whistle.

Goalscorers: Tyrone Moore (4), Iwan Meddins, Greg Cross

Penarth will have four teams in Verde Recreo action this Saturday, with the 1st XI travelling across the capital hoping to continue their winning form against old rivals Whitchurch (2.30pm start).

The 2nd XI get the primetime slot to host Bridgend at Stanwell (1.45pm start), with the 3rd and 5th XIs playing either side of them on the schedule as they take on Swansea (3.30pm start) and Bridgend (10.15pm start) respectively.

Penarth Hockey Club always welcomes new, old and returning players, umpires, supporters, friends and helpers regardless of age and ability. Training takes place at Stanwell on Wednesdays, with the juniors on the pitch between 6.15pm and 7.15pm and the seniors between 7.00pm and 8.15pm.

Anyone interested in joining the club at senior or youth level can contact club secretary Dave Stevens ( for further information.