GOOD TEAM GAME EARNS PENLAN THE WIN WITH A BONUS
Saturday saw Penlan at home to Cwmgors in their return game of the season. In their previous mid-September match Penlan had earned a 17 – 20 win with a try bonus point so they understandably were hoping for the home win.
Referee Mr. Matthew Evans from Pembroke did a first rate job of managing a flowing game that proved entertaining for spectators from both clubs. The weather was dry but very cold with Penlan using their second pitch to limit use of their main pitch following the recent wet weather.
Penlan made the kick off and immediately went on the attack and by 4 minutes they secured ball from their lineout deep in Cwmgors territory. A determined push over the line was taken down by the defence and referee Mr. Evans awarded Penlan the penalty try. Paul Spowart at centre converted to give Penlan an early 7 point lead.
Penlan were up against a strong and heavy side but their disciplined play was clearly up for the match and in the early stages they were dominant. At just before 10 minutes Steven Williams at centre advanced the ball well up the pitch and some fast passing got the ball out to the wing to afford Penlan the attack for the line. The push reached the line and allowed flanker, Stephen Davey the chance to dive over for a second home try. Paul Spowart safely converted again to extend the lead to 14 – 0.
It was a joy for Penlan supporters to see their side playing such a flowing and close team game but Cwmgors were no push over. They often put Penlan under pressure that they mostly managed to overcome but at about 15 minutes they won their lineout on the Penlan 5 metre. The visitor’s fast passing and momentary loose Penlan defence saw them score at the corner, and with a fine conversion clawed the score back to 14 – 7.
Penlan knew that they needed to close the visitors down if they were to avoid them increasing their comeback. They succeeded and after trying some well drilled set moves second-row Kurt Velardo secured the ball for Penlan from their lineout just beyond the 22. He saw his chance and sprinted clear up the touchline, dodging through defenders to score at the corner flag and advance the lead to 19 – 7, scoring his fifth try of the season in the process.
Penlan maintained the pressure and just 5 minutes later took a quick penalty which, with some fine fast passing got the ball to flanker Luke Brooks who dodged and dived over the line for his third try of the season that extended the home lead to 24 – 7 and earn them the bonus point for 4 tries.
The visitors never let up on their play and at no time could Penlan relax which was brought home when Cwmgors had a second try 5 minutes before half-time. It came from their scrum in the Penlan half that gave them the ball and led to some fine passing to the wing, followed by a sprint up the touchline that dodged through the home defence to enable their try at the corner.
With the score standing at 24 – 12 at half time, the game looked to be going Penlan’s way but they knew that they needed to maintain their strong team game if they were to win. Four minutes into the second half their lead was trimmed to 24 – 15 when Cwmgors had three points from a penalty.
It was good to reassuring to see Penlan with a strong forward line up and bench for a change with Rhys Thomas and Liam Richards back for the front line and Ben Martin contributing a strong first half. Penlan’s strength at the scrum and lineout proved critical and at 8 minutes their scrum in the visitor’s 22 led to some fast passing across-field where the equally strong Penlan backs out manoeuvred the defence to allow winger Dafydd Pritchard to cross the line for his try at the corner flag, that put Penlan further ahead to 29 – 15.
For the rest of the match Penlan were dominant but Cwmgors managed to keep them at bay for most of the time. Penlan’s disciplined and flowing game was a joy to watch but it was not until the 20 minute mark that they breached the defence again. Penlan secured a lineout on the visitor’s 22 which they won and led to backs display of some great passing. Paul Spowart advanced the ball well up the centre and at the final second placed the ball into the hands of centre Steven Williams in support at his shoulder. Steven was unstoppable as he powered over the line for Penlan try number six between the posts. Paul Spowart got his breath back in time to make easy work of the conversion to put Penlan ahead by 36 – 15.
In the final quarter the heavy cloud had passed over and while players and supporters alike welcomed the warm sun, it was shinning strongly to the disadvantage of Cwmgors. Despite the disadvantage the visitor’s managed to hold Penlan at bay with no further score. This was quite an effort on their part as some long probing kicks from Penlan’s Steven Williams could hardly be seen coming by the Cwmgors backs against the strong sun.
When the final whistle sounded the 36 – 15 win, with a bonus point, it was good news for Penlan but even more welcome was to see the team playing a close, well executed and disciplined game. Cwmgors presented a strong opposition and the result was an enjoyable spectacle of rugby.
The Penlan strategy will need to be at it’s best next week when they away against table leaders Tondu. Tondu are looking strong, having won 11 out of their 13 games and will be a worry for Penlan who had conceded their home encounter by 7 to 24.
Thanks to our resident photographers, Colin Rush (his pictures have been uploaded to our gallery) and Mike Evans who will be uploading his to his website www.mike322.com in due course.
Other results in Division 2 West Central are presently reported as –
Cwmavon 0 Tondu 50
Maesteg Celtic 24 Brynamman 12
Pencoed 24 Morriston 29
Resolven 22 Nantymoel 16
Ystradgynlais 38 Aberavon Green Stars 0
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