PENARTH 20 - St.Peters 15 (Mallett Cup Quarter-Final)

With four wins out of the last four meetings, it’s really starting to look as if the Seasiders have the rocks in their pocket. It wasn’t always like this, of course. This wasn’t a league match, but on a wet and windy November evening in front of a noisy crowd the two sides slugged it out toe-to-toe for the full eighty minutes.

Penarth dominated the early exchanges, but the Rocks drew first blood after eight minutes as they snuffed out an over-ambitious line break with an interception that took them all the way to the home 22. A series of assaults were easily rebuffed by a well-organised Seasiders’ defence until the visiting outside-half took matters into his own hands and accelerated through a gap to complete a fine score.

Penarth struck back straight from the restart. Ritchie Bowen broke the defensive line in characteristic fashion and was finally stopped just short of the line. A quick recycle at the breakdown and the ball was in the hands of outside-half Morgan Smith, who threw a huge miss pass with pin-point accuracy to Tom Luck. The captain cut inside and shook off the offered tackle to score out wide.

A Seasiders error in receiving the restart handed possession straight back to St.Peters and conversion of a 30-metre penalty pushed the score out to 5-10. Undaunted, Penarth came straight back with a superb counter-punch, again launched by the lively Bowen. The openside flanker suddenly burst clear from a ruck and headed for the posts. Great work at the breakdown and Tom Luck was once again coming in at a superb angle, this time finding Alex Thau with the scoring pass.

Leading 12-10 at half-time, the Seasiders continued to dominate and soon went further ahead. James Crothers launched the next attack as he dropped on a loose ball and neatly evaded the cover to make 40 meters down the right flank. Well-supported, the ball was worked swiftly left to Bowen, seemingly involved in everything on the night, who made the line-break that led to Thau’s second try. Smith converted from touch to put Penarth into a 17-10 lead.

Having been under the cosh for fully 30 minutes, the Rocks finally got a grip on things and began to assert themselves in the tight. Suddenly deprived of any meaningful possession, the Seasiders had to revert to tackling practice in the final quarter as St.Peters launched repeated attacks.

The Penarth defence held out, mostly through their own excellence, but at least partly through the Rocks’ ability to find new ways to fail to convert cast-iron scoring opportunities. However, the visitors finally got across the line as one of their replacements scored in the 78th minute, but the conversion was missed, leaving them two points adrift. The Seasiders then rubbed salt into the wounds as James Docherty converted a last-minute penalty for his side to run out 20-15 winners.

For the next league action, Penarth have to wait until 9th December, when they welcome 11th-placed Abercynon to the Athletic Field.

PENARTH James Candy, Ben Hill, Rhys Beynon, Tom Luck [C], James Crothers, Morgan Smith (James Docherty), Owen Lord (Rhys Morgan), Dave Thomas (Geraint Williams), Mason Good, Alan Doyle, Owen Thomas, Miles Jones (Scott Mackie), Alex Thau, Ritchie Bowen

Scorers: Alex Thau (2 Tries), Tom Luck (Try), James Docherty (Penalty), Morgan Smith (Conversion).

Division 2 East Central

Saturday, December 9

PENARTH v Abercynon

Athletic Field, Lavernock Road

Kick-off is 2.30pm

Swalec League Division 2 (East Central)

Saturday, November 18

P W D L F A Pts

1 Cilfynydd 9 7 0 2 185 177 32

2 Aberdare 8 6 0 2 241 150 32

3 Llanishen 9 5 0 3 206 184 30

4 Gilfach Goch 8 6 1 1 209 98 28

5 Cardiff Quins 8 5 0 3 207 183 27

6 Barry 8 5 0 3 150 179 23

7 Cambrian Welfare 8 4 0 4 174 93 22

8 St Peters 9 3 0 6 177 211 18

9 CRC Caerdydd 9 2 1 6 155 204 15

10 PENARTH 9 2 0 7 164 269 12

11 Abercynon 8 2 0 6 123 203 10

12 Llantwit Fardre 7 1 0 6 86 170 5