Old Penarthians RFC | 1st Team 0 - 23 Llantwit Major RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
20 December 2017 / Team News

Old Penarthians v Llantwit Major Match Report

Saturday 16th December 2017

On a bright but cold afternoon last Saturday Old Penarthians returned to league action at home to Llantwit Major in a Division 3 East Central (B) fixture.  This was the first game for the team since 4th November due to the break for the Wales international matches and the poor weather. 

Before the match the Old Penarthians lay tenth in the division of twelve clubs having won two of their nine fixtures.  Unfortunately, the loss by 28 points to nil to Llantwit Major, together with the results in other matches dropped the team into the relegation zone and with just over half the fixtures to play 2018 will be a battle for survival

The team under the leadership of Rhys Lakin have at times played some attacking, free running rugby but the big disadvantage this season appears to be the size of the opposition front five forwards.  All the other teams appear to have bulky forwards who may not be as skilful as the Penarthians players but by sheer weight can dominate the set pieces. 

The Llantwit defender grabs hold of Stuart Clarke’s shirt as he makes ground

The Llantwit defender grabs hold of Stuart Clarke’s shirt as he makes ground

Without a solid platform from these phases of the game the backline is always going to be restricted.  The only way to overcome this size differential will be with player commitment to training and practice.  This commitment from some may be lacking and as Geraint Blake said in the changing room after the match that will have to change as we move into January.  Coaches Simon Hurley and the newly returned Anthony Davies deserve that support from all and not just the hardy few

The Llantwit match summed up the season in many ways.  There was a kick off at the start of the game that did not travel the requisite 10m which put the forwards under pressure immediately.  There was determined defence that denied the visitors an early score.  There was counter attacking play from deep within their own half, there was competition at the lines-out but a frailty at the scrum that was exploited. 

In the end player fitness levels were not sufficient in the last fifteen minutes and the side conceded late two tries to make the scoreline more one-sided than the team deserved.

After the poor start to the match there was a good defensive tackle by full back Jon Crimp that stopped a try and then there was resolute goal line defence form the forwards with Joel deClaire, Sam Hall and Tom Sidford to the fore. On seven minutes however, a high tackle by a Llantwit player directly in front of the referee was not seen however the retribution taken by Rhys Blake was noticed and Blake was shown a yellow card.

With the infringement in front of the posts Llantwit kicked the goal for a three-point lead.  These were the only points conceded in the ten-minute period when the team were reduced to fourteen reflecting the commitment. 

Joel deClaire appears to have an open field in front of him with plenty of support from his teammates

Joel deClaire appears to have an open field in front of him with plenty of support from his teammates

On 25 minutes a loose ball won in their own twenty-two was run out of defence by David Lakin.  He passed to cousin Rhys who put Jon Patterson into space.  He broke an initial tackle but with the Llantwit Major fullback committed Paterson could not get a pass away to the unmarked Alex Lewis on the wing.

Pressure was however maintained and from a lineout and driving maul Rhys Blake and Liam Spindler were just denied.  From the resulting five-metre scrum the front five held strong and no 8 Stuart Clarke picked up and attacked the blindside.  Unfortunately, he released his pass into the arms of the opposition winger who raced 97m to score at the opposite end of the pitch.  The kick was unsuccessful, and the half time score was 8 – 0 to Llantwit

Not long after the interval Rhys Lakin was forced off the pitch feeling the after effects of a knock towards the end of the first period.  This caused a reshaping of the backline with George Kynaston moving to full back to allow James Williams to play on the wing with Crimp moving to centre.

For the next twenty minutes the match was evenly contested but an infringement seen by the referee at the break-down in front of the posts resulted in three points to the visitors.

The Old Penarthians forwards line up to defend an attacking Llantwit Major ruck

The Old Penarthians forwards line up to defend an attacking Llantwit Major ruck

Substitutes Peter Bennett, Chris Cobbold, in an unexpected full-back role, and Josh Allcock were introduced to replace some tiring players but it was to no avail and after a brief foray into opposition territory two late tries were conceded, one of which was converted for a final score of 23 – 0 to Llantwit Major

 The next match to be played by the Old Penarthians will be the Boxing Day clash with Penarth at the Athletic field as the teams compete for the Richard ‘Dickie’ Thomas Memorial Trophy.  Kick off will be at 11.30am and there will be a match day collection, the proceeds of which will be donated to a local charity.

The following Saturday 30th December will however see the first team back in league action in an important match away to Canton.  It is hoped that this will result in a victory to set up a recovery to the Club’s playing fortunes in 2018.


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