12 March 2019 / Team News

Second XV Review

At a time when participation in senior rugby across Wales is dropping it is pleasing to report that Old Penarthians still manage to field a 2nd XV.  The fact that the team is able to fulfil their fixtures is in no small way due to the enthusiasm of captain Alex Lewis and the excessive use of his mobile phone.  Alex inherited the role and a large network of contacts from previous incumbent Ian Buckley and most are still available this season.

 The team play their competitive rugby in Division 1 of the Cardiff & District Rugby Union (CADRU) leagues, an affiliated organisation of the WRU, but have also participated in two ‘Game-On’ Festivals. Despite the league providing a schedule of fixtures throughout the season it is an inditement of the times that other clubs in the area are struggling to find players and games have been cancelled due to lack of numbers.

 Recent relaxations of the attitudes to the sport at this level do however foster a degree of cooperation between clubs and teams without the full compliment of players will arrive on match days and share the available talent to ensure that a game is played.  This means that the majority of players who want to play can do so regularly.

 This philosophy is something that is promoted through ‘Game-On’ Festivals that are organised by local WRU coordinators.  At these events clubs can send as many, or as few, players as are available and teams will be put together to ensure that rugby is played.

 This season two such events have been held, one of which was on the artificial surface at Cardiff Arms Park.  This venue was particularly attractive because players used the same facilities that are usually occupied by the Cardiff Blues, even if the crowd atmosphere was not present.

 As should be at the second tier of club rugby the team is a mix of the young, the old and the very experienced. The energy in the team is provided by the likes of Jack Margetson, Jordan Tyler, Matt Stingl, Dean DeCruz, Craig Haines, Rob Adams and Scott Phillips. The tactical nous to slow the game to a pace that ensures there are more scrums than running around is provided by Neil Margetson, Peter Harry, Chris Dunscombe, and Adam Davies.

 Former 2nd XV captain James ‘Nugget’ Williams plays in whichever position he is selected and still manages to extract friendly expletive comments from his former first XV coach Jeff Norman.  Danny Godfrey, Gareth Boulton and Scott McCarthy have also represented the team when not on 1st XV duties and newly acquired Morgan Smith is using this platform to force his way into 1st XV contention.

 Rhys Thomas, Matt Reid and Michael Rogers have also answered the call of ex-friend Lewis and special mention should go to Richie Moya, a former 1st XV regular, who now plays for Rumney RFC, who is always available when he does not have a game for his own club.

 On top all this the team can draw upon the experience of Lee Brennan and Tony Kemp, both of whom have played over three hundred games for the 1st XV, and still have the appetite to ensure that the traditions of Old Penarthians are maintained to ‘enjoy’ an afternoon of rugby before retiring to the bar for some well-earned drinks.

 Unfortunately, this season the enthusiasm of the players has not been matched by the results and the team is yet to taste success in the 11 league matches played to date.  Some of these defeats have been recorded against clubs whose first XVs have not had fixtures on the day of the match and it has been an unequal contest with better players representing the opposition.  The team has however always given 100% effort and there are still opportunities to record a victory before the end of the season.

 This would be a particularly satisfying reward for the selfless efforts of ‘rub-a-dub’ man Richard Howell who attends every match in the vain hope that someone will eventually go down injured so that he can sprint on to help them. The players are happy to report that the sight of Howell with cigarette in hand is sufficient remedy for self-diagnosis and a return to action.

 The team is also reliant on a small band of dedicated committeemen and supporters, without whom the administrative match day activities could not be completed, and Robert Crimp, Nigel Williams Jeff Norman and Laura Davies are to be congratulated for attending games at home and away in all weathers without ever questioning their own sanity.

 They, like the players, just turn up because that is what you do on a Saturday afternoon in the winter on behalf of Old Penarthians second XV.

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