30 April 2019 / Team News

Old Penarthians RFC v Wattstown RFC Match Report

The writing was perhaps on the wall some time before kick-off with the number of unavailable front-row players resulting in the Old Penarthians having to elect for passive scrums from the outset and therefore starting the game with 14 men and only two replacements, ultimately resulting in a 29-12 loss at Wattstown RFC.

No-one watching the initial quarter of the game would have known that the Old Pens were a player short as they took the game to their hosts. There were promising attacks through forwards – with Scott Mackie, Tom Sidford, Sam Hall and Adan Cole prominent and also through the backs with centre-pairing Rhys Lakin and Liam Bevan to the fore. Indeed, the first scoring opportunity went to the visitors in the shape of a  35 metre penalty goal attempt by Nathan Facey which was just wide. 

Whilst Wattstown had plenty of possession too, the Penarthian defence was such that most of their play went on behind the gain-line. There were excellent defensive contributions from Matt Sutton, Joel De Claire, Josh Allcock and debutant Owen Thomas (on permit from Penarth RFC) but there was nothing they could do to prevent an opening score to Wattstown on the half-hour mark with outside half Matthew Lewis taking 3 points from a well-taken penalty goal from some 40 metres.

Immediately from the restart, Wattstown were again on the attack and at last managed to make the extra man tell. A sweeping move saw the ball spun wide and then back inside for outside half Lewis to cross for the first try of the game which he duly converted for a 10-0 lead which was the score at the half-time interval.

The second half began with renewed vigour from the visitors and following some excellent link play, De Claire spotted space behind the defence and a deft kick through won an attacking lineout. Under fierce pressure, the home defence conceded a succession of penalties and with a passive scrum always a good attacking option under the posts in the opposition 22, the ball was taken on by Old Pens outside half Nathan Smith who broke a tackle to score out wide. Facey was unable to add the extras and the deficit was reduced to 10-5.

Soon after, 14 became 13 as De Claire was yellow-carded for offside at an attacking ruck and, despite some quite heroic if not desperate Penarthian’s defence, Wattstown extended their lead when the outside centre again made great use of space in the wide channels to make room for full-back Ben Coles to capitalise on a 2 V 1 for an unconverted try and a 15-5 lead.

Despite their disadvantage, the Old Pens continued to take the game to Wattstown but an attacking move in the opposition half only resulted in a dropped pass which was seized upon by forward Tom Edwards who raced 70 metres to score under the posts. Matthew Lewis was successful in his conversion attempt to take his personal tally for the afternoon to 12 points with a quarter of the game still to play.

The game was effectively over as a contest only a couple of minutes later when replacement scrum half Steff Boyd raced over after a flowing move for a bonus point try that was converted by home second row and captain Nigel Jones to the delight of the home crowd.

With the game out of sight at 29-5, you could have forgiven the Old Pens for throwing in the towel, but as this team has shown time and again this season, they are made of sterner stuff and their efforts were rewarded when some excellent attacking phase play marshalled by scrum half Tom Hillman resulted in centre Liam Bevan crossing under the posts for a well-deserved consolation try that was converted by Nathan Facey for a 29-12 final score line.

A fourth-place league finish can be considered a satisfactory return on the season’s efforts, especially considering the inconsistent start to the season as the team gelled. Hopefully it will provide a firm foundation to work from when it comes to next season’s campaign which should be anticipated with some confidence.

A curtain-raiser to the main event saw Stuart Gunnarsson’s Veterans XV outplayed by their more ‘junior’ Wattstown opponents, but they should be proud of their efforts which were duly celebrated by Captain Gunnarsson taking the spoils in the post-match Karaoke competition!

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