ACCORDING to the records available the earliest Boxing Day game between the two clubs was played in 1938, though at the time, it was Penarth Athletic (Penarth RFC seconds) who entertained their neighbours, as the senior side was otherwise engaged on its traditional Christmas tour to the Midlands.

The fixture was resumed after the War and was played on an off until 1988, when the regular match between Penarth and Old Pens First teams commenced played home and away alternatively on either side of Lavernock Road.

This was the seventh consecutive match since the local Penarth derby has resumed in its present form in 2010 and the third for the “Richard Thomas Shield”, a trophy in the memory a local player who played for both clubs.

Tuesday’s match, well attended by local public, was the first to raise funds for Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), thanks to the efforts of Penarth RFC member Richard Newman.

It is interesting that regardless of form and league position, the Boxing Day matches between the two clubs have always been highly entertaining affairs, played with great intensity and commitment by both sets of players.

This week’s match made no difference, starting with the visiting outside half Jon Crimp landing a penalty to capitalise on a period of sustained pressure on the Seasiders line.

For a variety of reasons the discipline of the hosts failed to impress referee Kelvin Shorte, who kept penalising the Penarth boys for quite a while, culminating with a yellow card to James Crothers.

That enabled the visitors to increase the pressure and capitalise with a try by hooker G. Boulter after about 15 minutes of play, extending the lead to 0-8.

Penarth regained their composure and skipper Alex Thau, broke through some feeble back-row and fullback tackles to score the first of his hat-trick of tries.

Five minutes later, he was at it again, this time a touch-down try at the back of a huge Penarth pack effort, following a scrum at five.

With Crothers back from his yellow card break, Penarth redoubled their efforts this time with the rampaging prop Alan Doyle at the scoring end and outside half James Docherty converting his try for a 17-8 Penarth lead.

Not to be outdone, the Old Penarthians bounced back in the game with a try by A Lewis, to reduce the gap to one score 17-13.

But Thau broke again through the tiring Old Pens back row, to score his third try, with Docherty adding the conversion.

A further unconverted try by Jim Crothers set the final score Penarth 29-13 Old Penarthians.

A special mention for Penarth youth number eight Sam Sullivan who made his senior debut and for youth prop Geraint Williams, at his second appearance for the seniors this year.

A first appearance this season also for Harry Roberts, the brother of Youth Captain George Roberts.

Both clubs return to League action this weekend.

Penarth entertain promotion contender Barry RFC at home while Old Penarthians travel to Canton for a significant game in Division 3 B.

This is an important match for Penarth, currently ninth in the table, with three wins out of 11 games, against a club that lost only three of their 10 league matches.

Deprived of several of their first team players injured in the match against Aberdare in the first round of the league last September, Penarth got soundly beaten 32-12 by the rampant Barry in the second round.

Saturday’s game should offer the Seasiders an opportunity to turn the tables on the visitors, providing that their defence, currently the most porous in the League, holds firm and is matched by an equal vigorous effort up front.

Penarth RFC: (15-9; 1-8) Tom Smith, Tom Hillman, Rhys Beynon, Morgan Smith, James Crothers, James Docherty (Chris Mortimer), Rhys Morgan (Owen Rees), Dave Thomas (Geraint Williams), Mason Good (Richie Bowen), Alan Doyle, (Matt Holder), Dan Seal, Owen Thomas, (Harrison Pugsley), Scott Mackie (Sam Sullivan), Richie Bowen (Harry Roberts), Alex Thau (Captain),

Scorers: Tries Thau 3, Doyle, Crothers, Cons Docherty 2

Old Penarthians RFC: (15-9; 1-8) F. Gough, N. Boudier, N. Healy, L. Crockettt, A. Lewis, J. Crimp, G. Kynaston, S. Hall, G. Boulter, T. Sidford, T. Kemp, M. Glover, P. Bennett, N. Vagges, M. Lloyd

Scorers: Tries: Boulter, Lewis; Pens J Crimp