Old Penarthians RFC | 1st Team 5 - 75 Fairwater RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
26 September 2017 / Team News

Old Penarthians RFC v Fairwater RFC (Bowl)

Old Penarthians v Fairwater Match Report


Saturday 16th September 2017


Last Saturday Old Penarthians hosted Fairwater in the first round of the WRU Bowl knock-out competition.  This is competition for the clubs in the thirteen Divisions at Level 3 of the WRU leagues with the finalists playing in the Principality Stadium for the ultimate honour.  

Unfortunately, Old Penarthians will not be competing on ‘Finals Day’ in May as they suffered an ignominious defeat by 75 points to 5 in a match that was curtailed by the referee after agreement with the two team captains.  It was not a good day for the club but if there is be a positive it is the fact that 29 clubs failed to fulfil fixtures last Saturday thereby giving a walk-over to their opponents. 

The fact that the match went ahead is a great credit to the fifteen players who took to the field in a team that showed 12 changes from the 1st XV that started the game against Canton the week before.  There were many reasons given to team manger Stu Barter and coach Simon Hurley for unavailability but the players will have to take a hard look at themselves and the level of commitment they want to give if they have any aspirations in the league.

The match actually started well with a Scott McCarthy kick putting the Fairwater forwards under pressure and causing a turnover.  It was to be feature of the match that McCarthy’s kick offs were always well directed (with one exception) but he did have enough opportunities to practice with his 11 restarts.

The first Fairwater try and conversion came after 5 minutes when from a promising Old Pens attack the ball was lost and kicked ahead by the visiting outside half.  After some defensive difficulties, Old Pens conceded a scrum which the Fairwater forwards dominated and released the ball for the centre to score.

Then came one of the Old Penarthians’ brightest moments of the day when a penalty taken quickly by Joel deClaire was carried into Fairwater territory.  deClaire found Gareth Clancy in support who in turn passed to Reggie Blake. Blake went into contact and with a quick recycled ball deClaire kicked deftly for the corner.  The ball landed in field and stood up directly into the hands of chasing winger Jordan Tyler to score a try.  The conversion was missed but with a score of 7 – 5 after 12 minutes the game that followed was not anticipated by the expectant home support.

This was however a rare moment of success although Rowan Allcock ran some promising lines from fullback, George Kynaston ran strongly and Charlie Gore tried hard in an unaccustomed centre role.  Gareth Clancy played well behind a beaten scrummage and manged to distribute the good ball won from the lineouts through Nick Boudier and deClaire with a quick service.  Matt Stingl provided the forward power and often made inroads into the defence.

But all too often the ball was lost and passes went astray at vital moments allowing Fairwater to capitalise on mistakes, so by half time the score was 35 – 5.

The scrum did stabilise in the second half and much of that is due to the efforts of three veterans in the pack who had to play the whole game in the absence of any substitutes.  So, Lee Brennan, Mark Smart and James Williams are to be congratulated for their commitment which put to shame some of their absent colleagues

In the end Fairwater were worthy winners and if they can continue to play an attacking brand of rugby they may worry stronger teams than Old Pens were able to field.

Despite the loss there was a positive on the day when the Old Penarthians 2nd XV played their first league fixture of the season on an adjoining pitch against Pontyclun.  Pontyclun arrived with 13 players but in the spirit of rugby at this level a Llandaff North player who was looking for a game was loaned to Pontyclun together with the Old Pens substitute and both teams started with 15 players.  

The game ebbed and flowed throughout and with three minutes remaining Old Pens led 26 -24 through four tries from Nick Healey, Louie Lane, Gareth Boulton and Matt Craft and three conversions from Steve Thomas.  In the time that remained however Pontyclun somehow manufactured a converted try and took the spoils by 31 points to 26.

Both teams enjoyed the encounter and despite the high number of unavailable players the Club were still able to field two teams, when many clubs were failing to raise one team for the WRU Bowl competition.

Next weekend the club will again be fielding two teams when the 1st XV return to league action away to Treherbert and the seconds travel to Cae Delyn Park to play Rhiwbina.  Both fixtures are scheduled to kick off at 2.30pm



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