Old Penarthians RFC | 1st Team 9 - 5 Cardiff Saracens RFC | 1st Team
Jonathan Crimp
Penalty 3

Match Report
24 November 2015 / Team News

Old Penarthians RFC v Cardiff Saracens RFC

Old Penarthians v Cardiff Saracens Match Report

Saturday 21st November 2015

Last Saturday under a crisp blue sky but with a cold wind Old Penarthians first team played at home against unbeaten Cardiff Saracens in a match at the top of the table of WRU National League 3 East Central (C).  Old Pens went into the game having lost only once, away to Hirwaun by 13 points to 3, but it was a much more confident side that turned up in this fixture.

Coaches Simon Hurley and Anthony Davies have now reduced the team training sessions to one evening a week in an attempt to concentrate the player numbers and it appears to be working with over 25 players in regular attendance.  They would however still like to see more front five forwards present and that was apparent in the line out performance where there was a lack of cohesion.  That said, the scrummage functioned well and Mark Smart, Lee Brennan and Dave Hoskins gained an early advantage by driving the Sarries back off their own ball.

Alun Haines continues to defy his age in the second row with young Tom Sidford and the back row of Geraint Blake, stand-in captain Joel deClaire and Chris Cobbold were combative throughout, often responsible for winning the ball at the ruck and maul contests.  Some indiscipline in this department did however see too many penalties conceded and at the end of the game Cobbold was ‘yellow-carded’.

The start of the game could not have been better, as from a good kick-off by Jonathan Crimp, winger Chad Wilson was first to the ball forcing Cardiff Saracens onto the back foot deep in their own half.  Other errors from the visitors were punished by the referee and on three minutes Crimp kicked a penalty for a three point lead.

Penarthians continued to attack throughout the rest of the half with Rhys Lakin, Mark Sadler and Simon Davies all having opportunities to break through the Sarries defence but without being able to give that final scoring pass to a team mate.  It was therefore frustrating for players and spectators alike that the pressure could not be turned into points and the half time score was only 3 – 0.

The second half started with another good kick off, this time with Old Penarthians receiving the ball.  Sidford caught well and passed to deClaire.  He off loaded to Gareth Clancy and with some well-directed passes Lakin released Ferghas Gough. He in turn managed to pass to Wilson who took play to within fifteen metres of the Sarries tryline.  Again pressure in the opposition twenty-two paid off and after four minutes Crimp kicked his second penalty.
More good work from Sadler and Lakin in mid field maintained the territorial advantage but on 25 minutes an indiscretion in the Sarries half led to a penalty that was kicked to touch and from a line out catch and drive second row Gareth Lewis scored a try to make the score 6 points to 5.  This was the first credible attack by the Cardiff side and Penarthians nerves were jangling.

Saracens could not however sustain any pressure and with ten minutes remaining Crimp completed his hat trick of penalties and the team had won the match by 9 points to 5.  It was not a dominant performance but it was a win that kept the side in third position in the league, closing the points difference on the leaders.  Ferndale are now top with 29 points, the same points as Cardiff Saracens but Old Pens now move within two, on 27 points .

In the second XV league fixture away to Llandaff North the home team won a high scoring game by 33 points to 31.  The highlight for Old Penarthians was a three try blitz by winger Alex Lewis but it was pleasing to note that Ian Buckley was able to call on a full squad of players including ten substitutes, all of whom featured at some point in the game thanks to the cooperation of Llandaff North.

Next Saturday the 1st XV travel to league leaders Ferndale, who have played one more match than Old Penarthians and the 2nd XV are at home to Caerau Ely.  Both games are scheduled to kick off at 2.30pm.


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