11 April 2022 / Team News

Match Report - Llandaff North RFC v Old Penarthians RFC

 Old Penarthians suffer defeat against Llandaff North. 21.12

On a sunny afternoon the Old Penarthians travelled away to play Llandaff North in their penultimate game of the 2021–2022 season.

The inability of the side to have any consistency in team selection again showed for this match where there were eight changes to the side that had previously started against Wattstown on the previous Saturday.

The game started well with team captain Chris Poole scoring after four minutes but unfortunately the conversion from Nathan Facey  was unsuccessful. This early score seem to invigorate the much bigger Llandaff North forwards and following a kick and chase they attempted to power their way over the Old Pens line  with numerous home team forwards picking up from the back of the maul and driving into the strong tackling  Penarth defence with Louis Chandler and Joel Declaire particularly prominent. Pressure from this phase of play was eventually released when the Llandaff  North players gave away a penalty and allowed  Chris Poole to put in a relieving kick and take play up to the halfway line where following a successful line out take by Owain Evans the forwards led by Stuart Clarke and scrum half Rhys Goodfellow led a counter attack deep into the Llandaff North 22. Unfortunately this led to a scrum penalty to the home side and it was clear that the much  bigger Home team forwards soon realised where their strength was and were determined to play nine man rugby for the rest of the match.

Two consecutive scrum penalties against the visitors enabled the home side to eventually release the ball along the backs creating space for the winger to cut back inside and when a try looked almost certain a powerful tackle from fullback Nathan Facey prevented Llandaff North taking advantage of their territorial position.The subsequent line out was taken cleanly by Stuart Clarke and the inevitable relieving kick by Rhys Goodfellow took the  visitors once more into the oppositions half.

The rest of the first half followed a very similar pattern with the dominant home forwards driving the Old Pens back at every scrum resulting in numerous scrum penalties but were prevented from scoring by a strong defensive performance from the visiting backs where Rhys Lakin and Craig Haines were faultless in defence.

Individual breaks  by Chris Poole and Louis Chandler saw the visitors  end  the first half on  the attack and Nathan Facey was unlucky to have his final pass to Alex Lewis adjudged forward and although a kick able penalty was given on the stroke of half time Rhys Goodfellow was unable to extend the lead. The visiting supporters considering their team to be rather lucky to finish the half still 5-0 ahead

The second half was a carbon copy of the first with the home side forwards totally dominating the scrums and with the referee awarding a stream of penalties for scrum infringements the home side were able to camp in the Old Pens 22 meter area for sustained periods with pressure only being relived by the determined tackling of Rhys Thomas, Joel Declare and Stuart Clarke.

In an effort to freshen up the pack Luke Crocket came on for Dan Jones and Josh Alcock for Joel Declaire and in the backs James Williams was replaced by Ritchie Moir

The changes did give the visitors some momentum and with the incisive breaks of Rhys Lakin and the pace of captain Chris Poole the visitors began to stretch the home defence and looked dangerous with ball in hand. Unfortunately the superior power and size of the Llandaff North forwards was difficult to counter and midway through the second half the home side scored two converted tries from close range forward pressure.

Maintaining their free flowing approach the Old Pens continued to run the ball back at the home side and after a sustained period of pressure were unlucky not to score when Luke Crockett was held up on the line.

The home side were still dominant in the forwards and it came as no surprise to the supporters on the touch line that the referee felt he had to eventually produce a yellow card with the unfortunate Lee Brennan being the recipient even though he had only been on the field for 5 mins. 

The extra man advantage then proved telling when the Llandaff North prop broke free in midfield and scored near the posts with the conversion making the score 21.5

With no prop replacement available the scrums became passive and this enabled the visitors to finally win some possession which they exploited to the full. Good loose ball was now being regularly turned over by  Clarke, Alcock and Chandler and positive running by Lakin, Facey and  Poole was  causing the opposition problems.

The home side were now the ones being forced to defend and rely on kicks to relieve pressure and it was following one such kick that the ball was collected by Poole who broke through the struggling defence and ran 35 metres to score with Facey adding the conversion.

The final five minutes saw the home teams coach exhorting his players to kick the ball long on every occasion to eat up time and to prevent the now dominant visiting backs getting possession.

This tactic worked well until the last minute when Poole once again fielded a kick in his own half and jinked his way past 4 defenders and advanced to the opponent’s 22 metre line but was unable to get the ball to Moir who was in a position to run in an unopposed score.

Chris Poole was voted the SCSC man of the match

A disappointing penultimate game of the season.

The final game of the season is at home on Saturday the April 23 when Hirwaun RFC are the visitors

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