PENARTH RFC's slow start to the season will come as little surprise to many, but their latest run of four straight defeats should definitely be viewed as work in progress, rather than game over.

Having to deal with the integration of many new additions to the squad and the absence of key players due to injury means coach Matt Bolton has had his work cut out in recent weeks.

For a start, the opening 40 mins of this game were closely-fought and the Seasiders took the lead after five minutes with a James Docherty penalty. The Quins struck back to level the scores after 10 minutes, and took the lead five minutes later as they launched an attack down the right flank, with slick handling seeing their right wing hurtling over in the corner.

While the hosts continued to look lively, they couldn’t repeat the trick and Penarth were holding up well. A wind-assisted 45-metre penalty from Docherty brought the score back to 8-6 after 24 minutes and just before half-time, they took the lead as the outside-half slotted over a third penalty.

Penarth rode their luck at the start of the second half, but after the home left wing had threatened to score twice down the flank, the Quins finally got their act together and again some slick passing put him clear. As the hour mark passed, the hosts were again probing down their favourite touchline, but this time the number 14 came off his wing to put his full-back clear and over in the corner.

Having dropped 13 points behind, the Seasiders decided they really did want something out of this match and went out to get it. Piling on the pressure in the home 22, they drove over but Tonypandy referee Neil Pruett judged they’d been held up. The Quins then scrambled possession from a retreating 5m scrum, but only managed to clear as far as James Crothers. The replacement wing did everything right, passing inside and then following the play over to the right. Captain Tom Luck made a clean line break and found Crothers in support to complete the score.

Having clawed their way back into the game at 22-16 with a superb score and with thirteen minutes remaining, the Seasiders might have built on this and won, but once again it simply wasn’t their day. The Quins struck back as their scrum half made a line-break and, looking for support with two Penarth defenders on his case, he found himself clear and proceeded to score.

Yet again, Penarth fought their way back into contention – if only for a losing bonus point – laying siege to the home 22. Ferocious rucking by the visitors brought a tense finish and the home number eight went off with a yellow card, but as the ball was spun wide after several forward thrusts, the Quins outside centre snaffled a wayward pass and ran ninety metres down the flank to score his side’s fifth try. The match ended with the Seasiders on the wrong end of an apparent thrashing.

Next Saturday’s home fixture against Clwb Rybgi Cymry Caerdydd now takes on an extra significance. Penarth have now lost to the teams in first, second, third and fifth place in the division, but now have a chance to test themselves against 10th-placed Clwb. The Cymry have registered only one win so far, against 11th-placed Llantwit Fardre, who remain winless themselves.

PENARTH: Tom Smith, Tom Luck [C], Owain Lorde, Rhys Beynon (James Crothers), Rhys Lloyd (Mitch Hickey), James Docherty, Rhys Morgan (Owen Rees), Richard Merrett, (Liam Richards (Chris Mortimer), Sean O’Sullivan, Dan Seal, Anthony Pine, Miles Jones, Nick Davenport, Owain George

Scorers: James Crothers (try)

Division 2 East Central

Saturday 30th September 2017

PENARTH v Clwb Rygbi Cymry Caerdydd

The Athletic Field, Lavernock Road

Kick-off 2.30pm

National League Division 2 (East Central)

Saturday 23rd September 2017

P W D L F A Pts

1 Gilfach Goch 4 4 0 0 125 58 18

2 Aberdare 4 3 0 1 132 55 17

3 Cardiff Quins 4 3 0 1 112 87 16

4 Cilfynydd 4 3 0 1 91 109 15

5 Barry 4 3 0 1 88 115 14

6 Cambrian Welfare 4 2 0 2 135 44 12

7 St Peters 4 2 0 2 99 94 11

8 Abercynon 4 1 0 3 65 91 5

9 Llanishen 3 1 0 2 47 87 5

10 CRC Caerdydd 3 1 0 2 49 78 4

11 Llantwit Fardre 4 0 0 4 66 115 1

12 PENARTH 4 0 0 4 43 143 0