24 April 2019 / Team News

Old Penarthians RFC v Caerau (Ely) Match Report

Old Penarthians RFC v Caerau (Ely) RFC Match Report

Saturday 20th April 2019

Match Result: Old Penarthians 24 Caerau (Ely) 15


In a similar vein to last week’s victory V Tonyrefail at Cwrt-y-Vil, this was another game of two different halves. At half-time the home side found itself 8-7 down, only to go on to take the maximum 5 points in a determined performance which left the final score 24-15.

Not that the Old Pens played badly in the first half. On a very warm and sultry afternoon which certainly served to entertain an excellent crowd in the last home game of the season, it quickly became apparent that the Ely boys were made of stern stuff; an excellent set-piece, a well-organised and resolute defence and very physical and direct in attack.

Such was the pressure exerted by Caerau from the off, the Penarthians conceded a succession of penalties – 5 in as many minutes – resulting in the well-deserved first points of the game going to the visitors with an excellent 40 metre penalty goal from outside-half Mike Hurley.

Undeterred, the Old Pens continued to take the game to Caerau through sterling work from forwards Scott Mackie, Louis Chandler and Dan Watts, but the Caerau defence held firm. One probing kick from Nathan Smith almost found a gap for brother and winger Morgan Smith to go over in the corner on his debut, but the defence was simply too good, and the attack was repelled.

After 15 minutes, quick thinking number 8 Joel DeClaire reacted to the awarding of a penalty by tapping the ball to himself and charging upfield into the opposition 22 before the defence could reorganise. After a series of drives, winger Chris Poole took a pass and cut inside to score under the posts with a try converted by full-back Nathan Facey. Unfortunately, it was to be the last contribution by the ever-threatening Poole who appeared to injure his back in the process of putting the home side in front by 7-3. He was replaced by John Patterson.

With a quarter of the game gone, another series of drives by the home side was thwarted when Nathan Smith was stripped of the ball some 20 metres into the Caerau half and following an excellent off-load, flanker Cameron Canter more than lived up to his name as he ran in untouched from 70 metres for a score that went unconverted but put his team into the lead 8-7.

Shortly before half-time, an astute tactical move by home coaches Simon Hurley and Anthony Davies saw Gareth Boulton in his uncustomary tight-head role being replaced by Peter Bennett. Further home changes were made shortly after the restart to bolster the set-piece with Andrew Hillbourne and Luke Crockett entering the fray. With improvements at both scrum and lineout, the Old Pens were able to exert greater pressure and Nathan Smith posed further questions of the defence with a clever mix of attacking options. One excellent high kick was regathered by the fly-half in Dan Biggar fashion and was typical of his increasing influence on the game.

After an excellent break-out by the first class Adan Cole, Nathan Facey did well to support and he off-loaded to captain Rhys Lakin who broke through two tackles to score under the posts. The attempted conversion was unusually charged down, but the home team found itself 12-8 in front with just a quarter of the game to go.

But Caerau almost immediately struck back. The play went through several phases and, having sucked in the defence, the ball was spun wide for winger Lewis Allen to score near the corner. A great conversion from Hurley went in off the post for Caerau to regain the lead 15-12.

But the home side was not to be denied. and An unwillingness to yield saw attacking phases through both forwards and backs. Facey centre Liam Bevan linked up well to take the play into opposition territory and with the referee playing advantage for a high tackle on Bevan, he was able to off-load to his centre partner Lakin who straightened the line superbly for another score under the posts which Facey duly converted to put his team 19-15 in front.

With 10 minutes left to play and despite there being only one score in it, the Old Penarthians seemed assured, confident of victory and determined to score a fourth try for the bonus point. The home fans were delighted to see wing John Patterson go over in the corner following great link play by Hillman, Nathan Smith and Facey who was unable to add the extras.

Next Saturday 27th April, the Old Penarthians 1st XV travel to Wattstown RFC for the last fixture of their league campaign accompanied by the Veterans XV who will also play in a curtain-raiser to the main event which kicks-of at 2.30pm.

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