DESPITE the bitterly cold weather and heavy snow in many places in south Wales over last weekend, the warmer temperatures of Penarth allowed local Gwent team Cwmbran RFC Youth to travel to the Athletic Ground to play on a perfect pitch against the Penarth Youth team.

With bright sunshine to add to the great playing conditions, it lead to a well contested game of rugby between the two youth sides with Penarth RFC Youth just squeezing out their Gwent competition, running out winners by 18 points to 10.

Despite a good start from the Penarth team which saw Cwmbran immediately placed under pressure for the first quarter of the game, through some great runs from centre and captain George Roberts and solid scrummaging from the front row of Geraint Williams, Tom Griffiths and Liam Richards, it was indiscipline and handling errors from the Penarth boys which allowed the Cwmbran outside half to kick his team into an early lead to give them a 0-3 lead.

Penarth pulled a penalty back to level the score at 3-3 before good play again from the Cwmbran forwards saw them camping on the Penarth try line before eventually driving a maul over the Penarth line to take a well deserved 3-10 lead after 26 minutes.

With the loss of young scrum half Aled Rees to a perplexing yellow card for offside from the visiting referee after 33 minutes, the Penarth boys were really against the wall and hanging on to the first half.

With the Cwmbran team pushing hard on the Penarth line a turning point of the game occurred just before the half time whistle when a superb scrummage from the Penarth eight, saw Cwmbran lose the scrum against the head, and Penarth outside half Gruff Shewring was able to clear the Penarth lines to relieve the pressure.

A re grouping at half time and a coaching input from Penarth coaches Dai Williams and Simon Rees saw the Penarth boys come out in the second half with more purpose and with a huge improvement on unforced errors, the team started to put plays together which immediately saw an improvement and the tables start to turn on their opposition.

It was Penarth that struck first in the second half when good work from second rows Matt Rogers and Alex shore at the line out gave clean ball for the Penarth back line to attack their opposition. With some purpose running from full back Luc Kean-Adams creating space for right wing Mike Halligan, it saw the Penarth wing pass his opposing number and smash his way through to the Cwmbran line to pull the score back to Penarth 8 Cwmbran 10.

With a full 15 players now on the pitch, Penarth started to apply all the pressure on their opposition and start to again dominate play. With good runs from wing Cai Lloyd and centre Toby Dyer, supported by loose forwards Ellis Smith and Will Parsons it was Penarth wing Halligan again that was given clear space to run and leave the Cwmbran back line for dead to score his second try of the match, which after the conversion from Shewring took the score to Penarth 15 Cwmbran 10.

The final 10 minutes of the game saw Penarth turning the screw on the opposition and play most of the game in the Cwmbran half and following a impingement which saw a yellow card for the Cwmbran openside flanker, the resulting penalty saw the final score move to Penarth 18 Cwmbran 10.

With several of the Penarth squad unable to play this match, this was a real tough test for some of the Penarth youth first years in the squad who stepped up to win against a well organised Cwmbran team.

Next week (Saturday) the Penarth Youth are back in action at home against Llandaff RFC Youth.