DEPLETED PENLAN SIDE LOSE OUT TO MAESTEG CELTIC
For months Penlan knew that they were going to be short of a number of key players as their away game against Maesteg Celtic clashed with the weekend stag do of Craig Trotman. Craig’s connections with players from Morriston RFC meant that they would also be badly hit so Cwmgors agreed to them re-arranging their game, sadly Maesteg Celtic declined to do the same for Penlan. It was a bit of a crunch game as both teams were in mid-table place with 40 points but with Penlan having a game in hand.
There were still bouts of fine rain for the game and the pitch was in a very wet and muddy state when Penlan made the kick off under the fine management of referee Mr. Huw David from Bridgend. Former Penlan stalwart Callum Llewellyn was back at Penlan in the front row with brother, Nathaniel playing at centre. Other loyal Penlan players stood up to fill the places of missing personnel but, not being the regular team, it was always going to be an uphill struggle against a strong well drilled Maesteg side on their home turf.
The early stages saw both teams testing each other out with Penlan giving a good account of themselves against a strong pack on a heavy pitch. Not long into the game, however, the referee stopped the game when he saw that there was a big hole, some eighteen inches deep, near the centre of the pitch. How it occurred was a a mystery but it held up play for some 10 minutes while Maesteg support ran on with shovelfuls of earth and turf to effect temporary repairs. Finally the referee was satisfied, so play continued and it was Penlan who put the first points on the board at the 25 minute mark when Nathaniel Llewellyn at centre made a stunning interception at the halfway line and sprinted up centre field. His pace and determination left the Maesteg chasers behind and he landed a fine try between the posts.
Just 5 minutes later Penlan made a clearance kick that was unfortunately towards the open wing. The available ball was seized upon by Maesteg who ran up the undefended wing to store and make it 5 all.
At 35 minutes Maesteg scored their second try from their lineout on Penlan’s 22 when they eventually pushed the defence back at the corner to make it 10 – 5 at halftime.
Maesteg frantically piled more earth into their sink hole as both teams had a half-time rest in the cold fine rain, covered in mud. Despite their difficulties Penlan were putting on a brave display but at 10 minutes a second less than ideal clearance kick handed Maesteg their third try as they again ran down a fairly undefended Penlan wing. The try was converted for an extended Maesteg score of 17 – 5.
Things got even worse for Penlan when at 25 minutes the home side were again handed a try opportunity that they were quick to make the most of. The missed clearance let Maesteg in to score a bonus try which they converted tor a 24 – 5 lead.
Although Penlan were often coming off worse against the heavy Maesteg side they had shown phases of excellent rugby and it was apparent that if they had been able to field their stronger team then the result would have been a lot different. Penlan never let up their game and at just before 35 minutes they were putting the Maesteg defence under strong and sustained pressure as they pressed for their line. To their credit a fine try followed as Dean Davies at number 8 safely grounded after the home defence were pushed back clear over their goal-line so that the final score was 24 – 10. The result means that Penlan remain in seventh table place.
It was disappointing that Penlan were obliged to field a depleted side but it was to the immense credit of the players that turned out that they played the fixture and put on a good display of rugby. There were no complaints that Maesteg obtained the majority of their points from Penlan slip-ups that is all part of the game and their credit that they made the most of the chances.
Next week Penlan hope to be in a stronger position for their home game against Cwmavon.
Other results in Division 2 West Central are presently reported as
Cwmavon 0 Pencoed 12
Nantymoel 65 Aberavon Green Stars 0
Tondu 40 Ystradgynlais 3
Brynamman v Resolven and Cwmgors v Morriston postponed
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