Old Penarthians RFC | 1st Team 23 - 8 Hirwaun RFC | 1st Team
Joel De Claire
Try 1
Jonathan Crimp
Conversion 1
Penalty 2
Geraint Rhys Blake
Try 1
Fearghas Gough
Try 1

Match Report
08 May 2018 / Team News

Old Penarthians v Hirwaun Match Report

Safe!! What a difference the last eight days have meant to Old Penarthians RFC.  Prior to the last three games played away to Tonyrefail on Saturday 28th April, at home to Ynysowen on Tuesday 1st May and finally at home against Hirwaun on Saturday 5th May, the Old Pens were lying 11th in the twelve team WRU league division 3 East Central (B).

Three wins in these three games has however lifted the team to 29 points and they cannot be caught by the two teams below them and hence relegation has been avoided.

The first match away to Tonyrefail was a tense affair with a 24 – 20 victory only assured in the last five minutes, but four tries ensured a bonus point.  Tries were scored by Scott Mackie, playing on permit from Penarth, Fearghas Gough, David Lakin and Chris Poole, playing on permit from Llanharen. Jon Crimp kicked two touchline conversions.

The midweek fixture saw a 12 point to 5 victory with two tries from Poole and a conversion from Crimp.  The crucial score coming straight from the restart of the second half with Poole racing clear from a ruck from 65m.  The defensive effort was then enough to keep out the visitors and ensure that the decisive game against Hirwaun would be played with Old Penarthians six points ahead of their rivals in the table

A victory would be the only way to ensure survival without relying on the result of the last game of the season which sees Old Pens travelling to championship contenders, Tylorstown.

And on a beautiful sunny afternoon the victory by 23 points to 8 was enough to make everyone involved in the club very pleased and relieved, especially ‘two-point’ Tony Crimp.

The match itself was a physical encounter with no quarter given and it was Hirwaun that dominated the early stages with a forward orientated game-plan. The defence was however strong and Josh Allcock, Stan Ellis and Joel deClaire were the leading tacklers in these early phases.

When opportunities arose for the home side their tactics were to move the ball away from contact and attack in the wider channels through the threequarters.  This was effective on a few occasions with Crimp coming into the line at speed from full back and creating opportunities for John Patterson and Fearghas Gough.

It was however Hirwaun who scored first with a try from their flanker who appeared in mid-field and picked up a loose bouncing ball which deceived Gough and created a space to allow him to cross the line.  A relatively easy conversion was missed.

Then it was Penarthians turn to attack and a series of penalties were awarded that Penarthians chose to kick to the corner for line outs.  On two occasions hooker, Rhys Blake’s throws accurately hit his targets of Allcock and James Roach and drives by the forwards saw Peter Bennett and then deClaire almost make the line.  The third line out was however lost and the pressure relieved.

Penarthians came again and a penalty was awarded.  This time captain Rhys Lakin elected for a shot at goal.  Crimp was unfortunately unsuccessful.  From the restart drop out twenty-two, Gough caught the ball in open play and ran back at Hirwaun.  He passed to Crimp who broke the defensive line and fed Mark Sadler.  He found fellow centre Geraint Blake on his shoulder who twisted over the line for a try and level the scores.  This was to be the the half time score of 5 – 5.

The second half was played in the same pattern but the efforts by the heavier Hirwaun pack were taking their toll in the heat and the more expansive Penarthians game was coming out on top.  So, on twelve minutes several forward drives led by Liam Spindler and Scott Mackie gave Gareth Clancy time to release quick ball to Lakin and then Sadler who passed to Gough on the wing to take the opportunity to cut inside and score unopposed for Crimp to convert.  Penarthians now led 12 – 5

Hirwaun fought back and the outside half kicked a penalty from wide out to reduce the advantage to four points

Then came a couple of decisive substitutions by coaches Simon Hurley and Anthony Davies with the introduction of Richard Merritt and David Cooper into the front row.  The scrum which had been holding its own then became dominant and increased the pressure on the tiring Hirwaun pack.  A penalty from a scrum, after a try for Geraint Blake had been ruled out by the referee, then resulted in a Crimp kick success to restore the seven-point lead.

A less needed substitution saw Roach leave the field after a poor head-high challenge.  He was replaced by Chris Cobbold and the pack reshuffled to accommodate the flanker.  This did not seem to weaken the pack and on 33 minutes the scrummage pushed Hirwaun over their own line for deClaire to score and make the score 23 - 8

Further chances nearly came to replacement winger Simon Davies and from a charge down of a clearance kick by Allcock that just bounced away from Patterson.

At the end of the match it was Old Penarthians who were in the ascendancy and they deserved their victory.  It was late in the season before Rhys Lakin and his team found the performances that matched their abilities and it is hoped that a settled side can commit to Lakin again next year, as he has been re-elected for a second term in charge

Before that however there is the small matter of travelling to Tylorstown on Saturday to see if Old Penarthians can upset the home team celebrations and perhaps win a fourth match in a row. Kick off is scheduled for 2.30pm.


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