By Alan Robinson

AS with all local sports teams this last 13 or 14 months has swung from frustrating to harrowing.

The difficulties in running clubs and keeping them going has been well documented - and not least of all for Penarth Wanderers Vets.

The commercial hardship has been felt by the venues we normally use, the Gol Centre being hit extremely hard along with the Cardiff City House of Sport but slowly things are easing.

Penarth Times:

Scott Muir of Penarth tussles against Matt Maksimovic of Cardiff Northern

We have returned to regular Wednesday night sessions and are scheduled to return to the House of Sport towards the end of the month.

The most difficult activity was to play matches throughout this time.

There were still matches outstanding in the league and cup from 2019-20!

Penarth Times:

Dave Lewis sweeping in the fourth goal against Cardiff Northern

Penarth had taken the decision to enter a second team in the new Charity Division of the EVS SW Casuals League.

After a bit of a false start back in December where we played two matches, the first against Cooper in a 5-1 defeat, Rich Bannister the scorer.

Following up with a resounding 9-1 victory over Exiles FC with Bannister (2), Gareth Perkins (2), Scott Ato (2), Darren Scanlan, Nathan Turpitt and Martin Chick the scorers. Then it all ground to a halt again for practically six months!

But with the success of the vaccination programme and the easing of restrictions we have now been able to resume our Charity League programme, sandwiched between the league's national representative games, where the Wanderers are well represented by Alan Robinson, Mike Kean, Chris Rodd, Scott Ato, Martin Chick and Andy Cayford as Welsh representatives. Dave Lewis, Mark Lewis and Dave Gillingham were selected as English representatives.

The Welsh boys have equated themselves well in the first round of matches by beating the English reps 3-0 and the Italian reps 10-2!

Back to the League where the first march back was against new club Cardiff Wyverns.

In a fiercely competitive match on a surface the Wanderers were not quite used to - grass - the game ended in an honourable 1-1 draw with Catalin Catany scoring for Penarth.

Our latest match was back on the preferred surface of 3G at the Ocean Park Arena, which is likely to be our new home until September when the work at Leckwith Stadium should be completed.

Starting with a strong starting line-up, but only three substitutes (Nolan, Kean, Taylor, Buckland, Herbert, Rodd (C), Perkins, Muir, Scanlan, Lewis, Rodd (S), Robinson, Longman and Aydin on the bench, against Cardiff Northern OB, Penarth got off on the front foot and scored early with Chris Rodd netting. Scanlan added a second before Northern pulled one back.

In the second half Penarth stretched their lead with a third by Scanlan and then Lewis joined in with the fourth.

Northern then staged a furious comeback and it was Penarth who were clinging on for a point - the final score being 4-4.

All we need now is the aftermatch camaraderie and banter but that may take a little while longer. Looking forward to the future we can hopefully start planning for the Wim Bode Tournament in Amsterdam in 2022!