A WINTRY spring evening with a strong wind and sharp showers of rain provided us with a game between first and ninth. There was precious little entertainment, few scores and dissatisfaction for both sides.

Canton had first use of the wind and decided in favour of the usual tactic of hoofing it 60 or 70 metres down-range at ever opportunity. While this made it hard work for Penarth, it didn’t benefit the visitors as they struggled to overcome a spirited home defence.

The Seasiders finally seized a rare opportunity to break out as a Canton handling error allowed a hack ahead, which was followed up with alacrity, forcing the visitors’ left wing into touch for an attacking line-out. A second line-out from the ensuing penalty was mauled to the line, where Spencer Robinson claimed the score.

Minutes later the visitors earned a chance to pull three points back with a penalty right in front of the posts, but the kicker slammed it straight at the crossbar and the score remained at 5-0 after 16 minutes.

The rest of the half held little interest, but involved plenty of incident, including an unsightly brawl and Penarth being later reduced to 14 players for nigh-on 15 minutes. The last move the first half was a rare penalty for the Seasiders which James Docherty converted for an 8-0 lead.

Penarth Times: It takes a lot to stop Josh Hurley. Picture: Alun Roach

It takes a lot to stop Josh Hurley. Picture: Alun Roach

Playing into the wind in the second half, the Dervishes lived up to their official nickname and tore into Penarth. Docherty sent in a series of kicks towards the away 22, but the Seasiders simply couldn’t turn all the possession and field position into in the face of ferocious defence.

Canton were rarely seen outside their half, but in a 5-minute spell around the hour, they managed two excursions into the Penarth 22 and came away with points on both occasions. Twelve points from two tries catapulted them into an 8-12 lead with 15 minutes remaining.

Canton’s plan of mitigating the wind disadvantage by knocking the Seasiders out of their stride was now working for them and the visitors dominated a good deal of the play. Penarth, while not lacking in effort, were looking rather lost and a second defeat in successive home games began to look likely.

However, the Seasiders aren’t league leaders by accident and never lost their knack of scoring tries. With only two minutes remaining, they had a scrum in the Canton half, delayed through treatment to some of the visitors’ players. On restart, Robinson colly picked up from the base, looped right, finding George Roberts in position on the touchline. The free-scoring winger made it look easy added upped his season’s tally in all competitions to 13.

Penarth Times: Spencer Robinson launches another attack; with Alex Shore and Sam Sully. Picture: Alun Roach

Spencer Robinson launches another attack; with Alex Shore and Sam Sully. Picture: Alun Roach

Yet another last-gasp escape showed that winning is a habit and remain 12 points ahead of new challengers Llanharan.

Penarth (8) 13 Canton (0) 12

PENARTH: Ben Jones (Josh Hurley), George Roberts, Andy Richards, Rhys Beynon, Ben Wellington, James Docherty, Spencer Robinson ©, Harry Wood (Geraint Williams), Bradman Williams (Mason Good), Sam Sully, Andy Lang (Matt Allen), Alex Shore, Tom Griffiths, Mike Lang, Tom Marsh (James Crothers).

Scorers: George Roberts (try), Spencer Robinson (try), James Docherty (penalty).