Fixture

Penallta RFC | 1st Team 55 - 18 Llanishen RFC | 1st Team
Joseph Scrivens
Conversion 2
Penalty 2
Try 1
Aeron Bidgood
Try 1
Kieran Lee Mahoney
Try 2
Ryan Davies
Try 1
Elliott Keep
Try 2
Ross Morgan
Try 1
Andrew Jenkins
Try 1

Match Report
17 October 2014 / Team News

The Pitmen make Hay on the 4G

Penallta 55 – Llanishen 18

 

Menacingly dark skies made way for bright sunshine prior to kick off on Saturday, the dramatic change in the weather matching the stark contrast in Penallta’s first and second half performance.

 

The fixture pitted the unbeaten home side against winless Llanishen and after Joseph Scrivens’s early converted try after three minutes, the game threatened to run ominously to form. Scrivens jinked his way over untouched after a lovely show-and go, splitting the Cardiff side’s defence in his usual gliding style. But Llanishen responded to the setback with a performance far better than that of a bottom of the table side. The defended well and showed smart innovation in their backs moves, moving Penallta around and causing problems with their kick chasing.

 

This was the first league fixture ever played by Penallta on the immaculate 4G surface at the new Centre of Sporting Excellence and the still, warm conditions under the glorious sunshine made it perfect day for running rugby.

 

Penallta tried to use it to their advantage, playing an expansive game, but Llanishen’s defence was ready for it, the home side continually spilling ball and making a string of unforced errors; complacency taking hold in the absence of simple, direct running. Two Llanishen penalties brought the deficit to one point before Penallta finally took advantage of a period of pressure. Llanishen made a mess of a five-metre scrum and when the ball came loose blind-side flanker Ross Morgan pounced to score an unconverted try. The try was met with resounding applause from the Penallta crowd, pleased to see Morgan back in competitive action after two long years of knee rehabilitation. If Morgan can get back to his best, and his attitude suggests he will, he will be a formidable addition to the Penallta side. His aggression and power an intimidating factor for the club.

 

Penallta’s second try should have provided a foundation for dominance but again, sloppy play led to a quick response from Llanishen. A comedy of errors eventually led to a loose kick from Llan, yet instead of using it for a basis for an attack, Penallta allowed Llanishen’s inside centre to gather the bounce and sprint through for a 60-metre try. A missed conversion meant Penallta just held onto the lead and they managed to extend it when Scivens kicked a penalty on the stroke of half time to make it 15-11. Llanishen, despite their lowly position in the league, stared down a second half where a win against the hot favourites was more than a distinct possibility.

 

Just as they did in the first, Penallta scored an early second half try. A five metre lineout led to a try for prop Kieran Mahoney, a player who loves to do a ‘Neil Back’ at the rear of the driving maul, cwtching the ball in close before flopping over the line. Penallta’s lineout has been a powerful weapon in recent years, the success rate of try-scoring from close-in as good as anybody’s. The try went unconverted but yet again, with expectation of the floodgates opening, the Penallta faithful were made to bite their nails. During a defensive five-metre scrum, Penallta made a complete mess of controlling the ball and – identically to Morgan’s try for Penallta in the first half - Llanishen’s flanker pounced for a comeback try, one which was duly converted, bringing the score to 20-18.

 

The topsy-turvy encounter continued. Penallta stepping up a gear with the pressure now on; twenty five minutes left and nothing in it. Aeron Bidgood came on at scrum half in a bid to quicken the game, and with Llanishen tiring in the sunshine, Penallta’s lightning back three started to see some ball. A great move after deft skill from Jonny Wright was eventually finished by centre and man-of-the-match Andrew Jenkins, who side-stepped over to make it 25-18.

 

Straight from the kick off, it looked like deja-vu. Jack Condy went for the high ball and was taken out in the air, but the referee called ‘play on’ and from the spilled possession Llanishen were rewarded with a penalty in front of the posts. With just twenty to go Llan should’ve kicked themselves within four points, but missed, and then the floodgates finally did open.

 

Penallta scored 30 points in 20 devastating minutes, finding the form which will frighten most opposition sides. When this side clicks, they are tough to stop. Joe Scrivens started the rout with a penalty which gave Penallta some breathing space and then three tries in five minutes killed the game as a contest. First, rapid full-back Ryan Davies tore in after some superb interplay with Elliott Keep, then Kieran Mahoney completed his brace, finishing off another fabulous move by breaking a tackle and celebrating his score by doing his breakdance-worm on the halfway line. Scrivens somehow managed to miss both conversions before Elliott Keep scored his second with a breath-taking first-phase try. From a scrum wide out on Penallta’s left, two wide miss passes with dummy runners led to confusion in the Llanishen defence and Keep blitzed through for a wonderful score. The ironic cheers which met Scriven’s conversion were the loudest of the day, the affection in which young Scrivens is held by the Penallta crowd matched only by his head-scratching unpredictability with the boot.

 

Scrivens’s conversion took rampaging Penallta past 50 and Llanishen, now tired by their terrific efforts in the first hour, were wilting in anticipation of the full-time whistle. They still had to endure a moment of individual brilliance from Bidgood. The young Penallta scrum half, in only his first year of senior rugby, is proving to be one of the most thrilling players in the Penallta ranks. He took a quick tap penalty inside his own half and sauntered away from all comers before sprinting around Llanishen’s full back to finish it off at 55-18.

 

It eventually became another good win for Penallta but the coaching staff will have much to think about with unbeaten Senghenydd, now looking like serious contenders for the league title, visiting next week. Matthew Tucker and Stevie Richards will be aware that Penallta were loose with the ball, and worryingly, given the wonderful consistency of recent seasons, lacking in cohesion up-front. The play needs tightening up for when it meets the main contenders. Lloyd Bridges did very well in the scrum to provide food-for-thought on selection, and it was great to see Ross Morgan back, but this week Penallta have some tricky questions over which forwards fit together best to turn the screw on Senghenydd. The backs look strong and convincing when they get it right and Tucker will know that if Penallta provide their usual cohesive and destructive platform next week then Senghenydd will find it difficult to find holes in the Penallta package.

 

To add to what should be a mouth-watering top-of-the-table clash, Senghenydd wiped the floor with Rumney Cardiff on Saturday, amassing close to 50 points themselves. Both sides like to play fast, flowing rugby. If the weather sets fair like it did on Saturday, we should be in for a cracker against old friends.

 

We are the Pitmen, we are the best

 

 

 

Martyn Rowe

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