Old Penarthians RFC | 1st Team 17 - 25 Caerau Ely RFC | 1st Team
Jonathan Crimp
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Rhys William Blake
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Rhys Lakin
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Adan Cole
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Match Report
18 April 2018 / Team News

Old Penarthians v Caerau Ely Match Report

Following a thrilling victory at home to Tonyrefail the previous week, by 53 points to 0 during which Old Penarthians scored eight tries, it was the turn of Caerau Ely to visit Cwrt-y-vil.  The fact that the two teams met in a very competitive fixture only three weeks ago added to the tension and it was again a closely contested match.

It is a fact that as the season ends all the matches are tense, especially when Old Penarthians are in a fight to avoid relegation from Division 3 East Central (B) of the WRU National leagues.  The result against Tonyrefail was a great boost with the club climbing off the foot of the table and closing the gap on the team above them, Hirwaun, to three points. 

Two teams are to be relegated from the league, so every point is worth scrapping for and it looks as if the home match against Hirwaun (now scheduled for 5th May) will be a pivotal.

Firstly however, there was the matter of the match against Caerau and it was good to see that the team had a full compliment of front row forwards and substitutes.  For once the coaches, Simon Hurley and Anthony Davies, had selectorial decisions to make and they were assured of strong cover from the replacements.

The start of the game was all Caerau and after six minutes of pressure they were rewarded with a penalty for indiscipline at a ruck. The defensive effort until that point had been strong with Joel deClaire, Rhys Lakin, Jon Patterson and Geraint Blake prominent

The scrummage was strong with Peter Bennett, Rhys Blake and Tom Sidford forming the platform but there was nothing they could do when Caerau won their own scrum 30m from the tryline and broke to the blind side where two Penarthians defenders missed tackles and a try was conceded.  The conversion was unsuccessful.

Old Penarthians then had ten minutes of pressure of their own with one break out from their own half involving interchanges between threequarters and forwards that would have graced matches at a much higher standard. Eventually the move broke down as the final pass was hurried.  Another instance saw Gareth Clancy make a break and just delay his pass to Alex Lewis by a fraction and the chance was lost.

Throughout the half Adan Cole, on permit from Llanharen, was industrious in attack and defence and when he was tackled high it afforded the Old Penarthians a kickable penalty.  The option of a kick to the corner was taken and it seemed the right decision as the ball was won by Stuart Clarke and the forwards rumbled towards the line.  The referee stopped the play however and when Old Penarthians reacted verbally they were penalised and the pressure on the Caerau line was released.

To make matters worse play returned to the other end of the pitch and another Penarthians indiscretion resulted in a penalty which was converted for the last action of the half and a 11 – 0 scoreline if favour of Caerau Ely.

The second half could not have started in a worse fashion.  The kick off from Jon Crimp landed in between the 10m and 22m lines where it was collected by the Caerau scrum half.  He ran at a non-existent attacking line and made 20m.  He then off-loaded to his supporting centre who ran the rest of the distance to the tryline to score under the posts for a converted try and an 18-point lead.

In previous matches this may have caused heads to bow but knowing that every point in the battle against relegation is important the team made a committed effort.  This led to a penalty that was again kicked to the corner by Crimp.  This time however the secured line-out ball was controlled and as the forwards collapsed over the line Rhys Blake had the ball and a try was awarded.  The conversion was unsuccessful.

The contest at the breakdown was at time ferocious and for most of the time honours were even but on 20 minutes a series of forward charges from Caerau tied in the defensive effort and an overlap was created for the visitors to score their third try, which was converted.

Old Penarthians did not however wilt and they again gained the ascendancy despite losing try scorer Blake’s presence following a yellow card due to a sustained verbal questioning of a referee’s decision. 

Further forward efforts led by Sidford, Cobbold and Clarke were eventually rewarded when the tireless Cole crossed for a try to make the score 25 – 10

With what was to play out at the end of the game, there was then the most telling incident in the match when a loose ball went to ground during a Caerau attack and Fearghas Gough set off on a 70m dash for the tryline.  Unfortunately, the Caerau winger was quicker than Gough and he was overhauled inside the 22.  Josh Allcock had valiantly made ground in support, but the pass thrown back was poorly directed and another opportunity was lost

However, back came Penarthians again and, with Caerau were not seeing much of the ball, a third Old Penarthians try was scored by James Roach, who had replaced injured Stuart Gunnarsson earlier in the match, again from a rolling maul from a line out.

This time Crimp was successful with the conversion.

There rest of the game favoured the home team, but a further points were not forthcoming and the final score in favour of Caerau was 25 - 17

It was also a good day for Caerau on the adjoining pitch where the top two teams in CADRU Division 1 went head to head to determine the league winners.  It was another strongly contested match which unfortunately saw Old Penarthians come up short by 16 points to 3.

There are no fixtures for either team next week but the first team return to action on 28th April with an away fixture at Tonyrefail. They will travel with a lot of confidence after their last two performances and the club is till hopeful of ‘avoiding the drop’


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