Old Illtydians 16 Penarth 15

HERE it was at last, the one that got away. With the warm-up being conducted in high winds and torrential rain, the game seemed unlikely to go ahead, but the pitch remained solid throughout.

It could be argued that the match was lost in the first minute, as Illts ran back the kick-off and a Penarth defence still adjusting to the fact that the game was in progress failed to halt a slick move down the left flank, conceding a try and going a man down as Dan Seal was yellow-carded for impeding.

Despite this early shock, the Seasiders settled quickly and took control, as they were to do for much of the afternoon.

Working play upfield through several carefully-managed phases, they eventually mauled their way over the line for an equalising try from Josh Spragg.

This didn’t alter the fact that they were one man light and two minutes later Illts had a scrum 30m out, which they drove, winning a penalty advantage.

Their right wing exploited this with a clean line-break, putting his outside centre in at the corner.

The home side’s back division had a number of players that looked as if they would have been comfortable playing at a higher level, but the Penarth defence had pretty well got their number and they were to cause the visitors no real trouble from this point on.

However, this turned out to be a much tighter game than the opening ten minutes had suggested and a Tom Smith penalty after half an hour was the only other score before the teams turned around at half time with the home side 10-8 in the lead.

Illts began the second half with a succession of penalties as their discipline deteriorated and the Seasiders came more into game.

The early introduction of Spencer Robinson and Harrison Pugsley sparked further life into the visitors and they should have scored after a tapped Rhys Beynon penalty made huge inroads.

Nevertheless it was the hosts that scored next in a rare visit to the Penarth half of the field as their outside-half converted a penalty after 67 minutes.

But the Seasiders could sense the Illts were tiring and threw everything at them in the last ten minutes.

This could arguably have won them the game and raised them to an unlikely fourth in the table, but for two mistakes.

With six minutes to go, a Penarth assault was halted in front of the posts as the ball was turned over and Illts finally managed to exploit the wind by clearing 70m down-range.

Then an attacking scrum in the Penarth 22 was turned into a penalty at the insistence of one of the Seasiders’ replacements and this allowed the hosts the comfort of a two-score lead and left the visitors without even a losing bonus point.

The irony was compounded two minutes later as Penarth put together the move of the match as they surged 40m into the home 22 and an Owain Lord pass set Kevin Maddox running around the posts for a converted try. A losing bonus point secured, but it could have been so much more.

In the final game before the Christmas break, the Seasiders visit 5th-placed Pentyrch next Saturday.

PENARTH: Tom Smith, James Crothers, Owain Lord, Rhys Beynon (Ben Hill), Aaron Thomas, Kevin Maddox, Rhys Morgan © (Spencer Robinson), Sean O’Sullivan, Liam Richards (Harry Wood), Alan Doyle, Owen Thomas, Andy Lang, Josh Spragg (Harrison Pugsley), Miles Jones, Dan Seal

Scorers – Spragg (T), Maddox (T), T.Smith (P, C)

Division 3 East Central A

Saturday 15th December 2018

Pentyrch v PENARTH

Parc y Dwrlyn Fields, Penuel Road, Pentyrch CF15 9QJ

Kick-off 2.30pm