Old Penarthians v Wattstown Match Report
Saturday 21st January 2017
Old Penarthians travelled to Wattstown last Saturday for a Division 3 East Central (B) fixture with a bare 15 players. This was the second time this season that the side has had to start a match with uncontested scrums and therefore in accordance with the league rules no substitutions are allowed.
The coaches, Simon Hurley and Anthony Davies, were very supportive of the players who committed themselves to the team but were frustrated at the end with what might have been against a Wattstown team who were not unbeatable if a full squad had been available for selection.
Every team goes through phases of the season when injuries can affect selection but more of the squad members need to show support and commitment to the coaches and captain by making themselves available on a regular basis if the season is to be revived.
The final score of 15 points to 10 in favour of Wattstown showed how close Old Penarthians came and with a little more luck with some of the refereeing decisions may have come away from the fixture with more than a losing bonus point.
The game started in bright sunshine but with an air temperature two overcoats colder than in the temperate Penarth climate. Shadows cast over a 10m strip of the pitch meant that the overnight frost had not left that part but both captains and the referee agreed that the pitch was playable.
The first eight minutes were dominated by Wattstown aided by a high penalty count for a range of infringements by Old Penarthians. One of those penalties for offside in the threequarters was punished and Wattstown took the lead. This seemed to wake up the visitors and with a steady stream of service from the uncontested scrums Gareth Clancy and Jon Crimp manged to bring centres Rhys Lakin and Jon Patterson into play through the midfield. Unfortunately a few dropped passes and lack of support meant that opportunities were lost.
When Wattstown next attacked it resulted in a lineout 7m from the Old Pens tryline and with a well organised move from a middle of the line catch, the flanker from the back wrapped around the front of the line to score unopposed, aided by some holding and obstruction. The kick was missed but Wattstown led 8 – 0
Just before the end of the half Old Penarthians again attacked, this time through the forwards led by Joel deClaire, Matt Stingl and Tom Sidford. An infringement at a ruck by Wattstown after a good kick chase by Alex Lewis enabled Clancy to take a quick tap penalty and with Matt Sutton and James Williams in support Old Penarthians were given another penalty to the right of the posts which Crimp converted for three points, and a half time score of 8 – 3 in favour of the hosts.
Seven minutes after the restart Old Penarthians produced the best move of the afternoon when from a scrum within their own half a short ball from Crimp brought Lakin into midfield at pace. He manged to release his arms in the tackle and get a pass away to Patterson. Patterson then sprinted away from his opposite number from 45m before staggering the last 5m with a tight hamstring to score a try. The conversion by Crimp gave Old Pens the lead 10 - 8.
Penarthians may have sensed an upset as they continued to play some adventurous rugby tempered with some accurate kicking by Scott McCarthy and one bullocking run from Simon Barry supported by Chris Cobbold, deClaire, Sidford and Matt Craft nearly broke the Wattstown defence.
The decisive score came after 32 minutes but it was not in favour of the visitors when after a period of stout defence at scrum and ruck by the Old Pens, the Wattstown forwards were in support of their threequarters and from 5m out the flanker was tackled but wriggled, crawled and then knocked the ball over the line for the referee to award a try.
The conversion was successful and Wattstown led by 15 -10. This was to be the final score but at the end of the game Old Penarthians were in the ascendancy and pressing for a final score when the referee blew the final whistle without apparently adding on any time for the injury stoppages that occurred during the half.
Overall the result was therefore disappointing but all fifteen players deserve credit for their efforts, which included Mark Sadler returning to the fray after a do-it-yourself sabbatical. It also serves to show what could be achieved with the right preparations and player availability.
On Saturday the Old Penarthians 1st XV are at home to St Albans and the seconds travel along Lavernock Road to play Sully Sports. Both games are scheduled to kick off at 2.30pm.
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