By Peter Weston

Pictures: Alun Roach

St.Albans (14) 28 Penarth (13) 18

In a strange echo of the earlier friendly at Tremorfa Park, Penarth once again looked very much the part, but still failed to come away with the spoils. In fact, the side fielded seemed to be bristling with talent, only for lapses in defence and attack to hand the win to their opponents.

To be fair, St.Albans were no mugs and played a near-perfect game against what the Seasiders were presenting them with. They scored their tries in quick bursts of action and foiled Penarth’s attempts to score by applying pressure on their own line and forcing errors.

On a miserable drizzly afternoon in steadily decreasing light levels, the game didn’t start well for either team. Penalties were awarded, kicks missed and, a taste of what was to come, there was a period of intense pressure from the Seasiders where they failed to get over the line.

However, after 16 minutes Spencer Robinson ran a St.Albans clearance back up and the hosts conceded a penalty in stopping him on their 22, which Andy Richards converted. Eight minutes later a knock-on following a James Docherty kick ahead gave Penarth a scrum. Robinson looped around from the base before finding Josh Hurley arrowing in at a perfect angle to score the first try.

Leading 10-0, the Seasiders had to put up with a high-speed burst of pressure from the ‘Buns, which produced a string of penalties, a yellow card and a try, in that order. The hosts repeated the dose almost immediately as they cut a swathe through the retreating Penarth defence, before an uncompleted tackle on the line allowed the scorer to roll over and touch down. The Seasiders recovered quickly to win another kickable penalty before half-time. A trade-mark jinking break from captain Rhys Morgan, making his 200th appearance for the club set this up, but St.Albans had already established their credentials as a side that can score quick tries with little or no build-up.

To their credit, Penarth were willing to learn from this and a frantic opening to the second half brought two penalties, a yellow card and a try from Mason Good, in that order. Their bolt, however, was shot. A quickly tapped penalty found the Seasiders’ defence ill-prepared for St.Alban’s third try and the fourth arrived soon enough when a murderously quickly driven maul again caught the visitors’ defence unawares.

By now, the Penarth pack were making a real mess of the ‘Buns scrum and enjoying all manner of field position. All the pressure was on the hosts and although the only prize on offer was a losing bonus point, the Seasiders simply couldn’t get the ball over the line.

The postponement of next week’s league fixture at home to Penygraig means that Penarth’s league season will now restart on 8th January away at Canton RFC.

© Peter Weston 12-Dec-21

PENARTH:

Rhys Morgan ©, George Roberts, Andy Richards, Josh Hurley (Osian Coates), Josh Powell, James Docherty, Harry Wood, Mason Good, Geraint Williams (Sean O’Sullivan), Andy Lang, Matt Allen, Mike Lang, Miles Jones, Josh Barden (Chris Mortimer)

Scorers:

Josh Hurley Try, Mason Good Try, Andy Richards 2 Penalties, Conv

Admiral National League 3 East Central A

Saturday 8th January 2022

Canton v PENARTH

Lawrenny Avenue, Canton, Cardiff, CF11 8BR

Kick-off 2.30pm.