Penarth RFC 2nd XV 34-14 St Albans RFC 2nd XV

WITH scheduled opponents Pentyrch unable to raise a side for the Division 1 League fixture Penarth were grateful to St Albans for stepping into to ensure that rugby was available to the Athletic XV who had a record 23 players available this weekend.

It proved to be a cracking game with the “Buns” fielding a big pack with plenty of experience against Penarth’s slick and youthful backline.

The first half was a real tussle and the Penarth front five of O’Sullivan, Richards, Jones, Heywood and the returning Pugsley put in a big shift to maintain parity in the tight phases to free up the ball for the backs who were expertly marshalled by Morgan Smith.

As the game developed a definite pattern emerged with the visitors trying to keep it tight and build through the phases whilst Penarth looked to exploit their superior speed and dynamism which was fuelled by the tireless work of Thaine Baker, Rob Rees and impressive debutant Mike Lang at number 8.

Tries from Smith, the ever impressive James Walsh and Tom Venn opened up a 17-7 lead at half-time which Penarth never relinquished.

The second half was more of the same as Caleb Docking made a welcome return in the second row and imposed himself on the opposition.

Whilst out back the pace of Jake Briscombe and Leon Appiah on the wings was a constant source of menace for the Buns defence and Alex Fulton was a reassuring presence at full back.

The Second half brought a further try each from Smith and man of the match Walsh and front row power house Ryan Jones smashed his way over the sixth. Smith added an additional conversion and Penarth were victorious by 34-14.

Penarth travel to St Albans in 2 weeks time in the league so this will provide a good trial run for that trip. Despite their lack of league action the Athletic managed to extend their lead at the top of the table as Taffs Well lost to Llandaff.

Next week sees the Seconds travel to reservoir Field in Barry to take on Barry 2nds in the Ron Lucock Cup, despite the fact that Barry have yet to win a game this season the fact that their 1st XV have no fixture will inevitably mean that it will be a tough game.

Penarth 2nds: Sean O’Sullivan, Liam Richards (c), Ryan Jones, Harrison Pugsley, Ben Heywood, Thaine Baker, Rob Rees, Mike Lang, Ben McCarthy, Morgan Smith, Leon Appiah, James Walsh, Tom Venn, Jake Briscombe, Alex Fulton – Bench Caleb Docking, Sam Harries, Ian Cabral, Lloyd Ellis

Scorers: M Smith (2t/2c), J Walsh (2t), T Venn (t) and R Jones (t)