BRAVE DISPLAY BY PENLAN BUT TONDU PREVAIL
Away against Tondu was always going to be a tough game for Penlan and when some of their regular players were not able to turn out on Saturday, things got worse.
It was a good day for rugby but a heavy going pitch with referee Mr. Mark Johns from Pencoed making a competent job of managing the game. Penlan made the kick off and Tondu scored a corner try at just 3 minutes after some fast passing across field that caught Penlan off guard. The conversion gave them a valuable early 7 point lead. Despite this, Penlan looked the stronger team in the first quarter although the only score that came their way was a 7 minute penalty kick ably landed by Outside-Half Paul Spowart.
Tondu clearly had a strong and well-drilled side which Penlan would have needed to have their strongest side out to match. While the Penlan forwards could hold the Tondu pack most of the time the home backs were a distinct danger. Once they got the ball they proved a fast and accurate backline that Penlan found difficult to contain.
At 30 minutes Tondu set up a push for the line which was constantly putting Penlan under pressure until they were pushed back at the corner for a second home try. The accurate conversion put Tondu ahead by 14 – 3.
Just three minutes later the deadly Tondu fast passing got through the Penlan defence again for a third try that made the half-time lead 19 – 3 for Tondu.
The second half started badly again for Penlan with another 3 minute try from Tondu after a ruck and maul that gained pace as it pushed Penlan back over their line. The conversion extended the Tondu lead to 26 – 3 and earned them the valued try bonus point. At about 10 minutes another fast passing manoeuvre got Tondu through the visitor’s defence again for their fifth try, making their lead 31 – 3.
A lesser team would have completely crumbled under the onslaught but not Penlan who stepped up their play in an attempt to regain their respect. At about 15 minutes a throw-in at the Tondu line-out overshot and was seized on by Penlan that got the ball to second-row Kurt Velardo who made a magnificent dodging sprint up the wing and through the home defence to land a first try for Penlan and make the score 31 – 8.
Tondu were quick to respond though when, just three minutes later a long kick and chase got them through the Penlan defence again for their try number 5. The conversion advanced their lead to 38 – 8.
Things settled down for a bit with Penlan finding their game again as they put Tondu under some pressure. They had to wait until 30 minutes though when Tondu made a long clearance kick that was caught and kept by Luke Davies. Luke made a powerful dodging run which advanced the ball deep into Tondu territory so that Penlan could set up a push for the line. Penlan moved the ball back and forth testing the defence until Kurt Velardo made the final move to power over with the ball for his second game try. It took Kurt to top Penlan scorer with 7 trys, which is two ahead of the others, including Paul Spowart who, when he made the conversion established his place as Penlan top point scorer by exceeding the 100 mark. His fine kick took the score to 38 – 15.
Time was running out for Penlan to make further progress and to finally stamp their win with a 43 – 15 score, Tondu scored a seventh try in the final minute after another fast display of competent passing that sailed through the Penlan defence.
Although it was the highest score against Penlan this season, and a big disappointment, Penlan spectators paid tribute to the loyal players that had turned out and made a game of it against a stronger Tondu team who fully deserved their win. Penlan had provided some exciting rugby which earned them respect.
All teams now have a rest for a fortnight until Penlan will be at home against Brynamman on 18th. February.
Other Division 2 West Central results are presently reported as
Aberavon Green Stars 19 Morriston 27
Cwmgors 14 Resolven 21
Maesteg Celtic 31 Pencoed 12
Nnantymoel 13 Ystradgynlais 7
Brynamman v Cwmavon was postponed
A note for your diary, Penlan’s postponed away game against Nantymoel will now be played on Saturday 29th. April.
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