Penallta RFC | 1st Team 61 - 3 Penarth RFC | 1st Team
Greg Callow
Try 1
Andre Michael Soroko
Try 1
Ryan Davies
Try 2
Michael Adams
Try 1
Aeron Bidgood
Try 2
Ross Morgan
Try 1
Joseph Scrivens
Conversion 8
Try 1

Match Report
28 October 2014 / Team News

The Pitmen march on

Penallta 61 Penarth 3


Penallta enjoyed an uncomplicated day at the office in the second round of the Swalec Plate at home to Penarth.


Penarth, a division below Penallta, weren’t able to throw their full weight behind the fixture. They lost players due to unavailability on the day and were forced into picking a couple of their coaches to make up the numbers. This led to a stream of Penallta supporters rushing to the local Ladbrokes with inside information, knowing they could double their money if Penallta won by 26 points or more. The maximum bet was £55. A few supporters cashed in on it.


Given the circumstances, it was understandable that both Penarth and Penallta fans viewed the game as a bit of a formality. Which is a shame, because Penallta have enjoyed some close battles against Penarth in the past. But despite the expectation of a walkover the punters were made to fret for their money for a good half hour, as first Penarth took the lead with a penalty and then made Penallta work with some seriously good defence and hard, direct running.


In fact, midway through the first half Penarth had taken themselves by surprise and began to look like they were enjoying it. Not only did they do the honourable thing by fulfilling the fixture with a depleted squad, they also put up a hell of a fight on the field. Eventually the dam broke and the expected scoreboard-hammering ensued, but not before Penarth proved that with guts and effort and teamwork you can cause problems against a good side. In this case against Penallta, who remain unbeaten since Easter Saturday.


Penallta had taken the opportunity to give players a well-earned chance. Lloyd Bridges and Garin Eldred both got a start in the front row, although frustratingly for them the game started with passive scrums. Nevertheless, Eldred’s line-out throwing was very good. He has showed a marked improvement in that area this year, the only part of his game which needs serious attention. He has always looked a fine player; strong and sound in the collision area, plus a good tackler and scrummager. And ‘Butch’ Bridges too did nothing to harm his chances. His opportunities have been limited so far by the great form of ex-skipper Keiran Mahoney and the ever-destructive Martyn Dunn. But his solid performances and hard graft in training continue to give the coaches a headache.


Michael Adams made his first start of the season in the back row. Adams was one of Penallta’s best players last season and was hampered with injuries the start of this one. But he had a very good game and scored an excellent individual try, one demonstrating his trademark pace and power. When he gets going he is a difficult man to stop.


And in the backs Greg Callow and Matthew Williams had a chance to shine. Callow hasn’t started for Penallta firsts since 2008 but came back pre-season to add his physical power to the backline. He also marked the occasion with a try, after good work by Williams. Williams is reminiscent of a French back with his languid, balanced running, and he showed some great skill to pop inside to Callow who sprinted in to score before half time.


Alan Thomas from scrum half and Ross Morgan at blind side, now looking back to his best after three consecutive starts, also darted over for first half tries. And most entertainingly of all Joseph Scrivens added all the first half conversions, to the delight of the crowd. On a serious note it was good to see Scrivens back to his kicking best, in the tighter games an accurate front-line kicker will be a must for Penallta.


Penallta led 28-3 at half time but Penarth never gave up despite conceding five quality second-half tries. They even ending the game pounding away at Penallta’s try line, but the Penallta defence just about managed to see them off, making it a satisfying two-games-from-two without conceding a try.


In the second half, man of the match Alan Thomas, who was too hot to handle all day long, scored another effortless individual try.  And the mercurial Joseph Scrivens scored a lovely try of his own, all jinking feet and a good turn of pace. The only surprise was that prolific winger Elliott Keep didn’t grace the scoreboard. His sidekick Ryan Davies grabbed a brace instead, after moving over to the wing. His second, the final try of the game, from a cross-field Scrivens kick was a beauty, showcasing both his pace and balance.


And veteran Andre Soroko was Penallta’s other try scorer, completing the rout. Soroko’s tries, albeit infrequent, are always popular. Soroko was back from injury and he sprinted away from a neat inside pass to touch down over the line. So popular was his score that the Penallta contingent were affectionately shouting ‘forward pass, ref’ as he jogged in. And Soroko’s try was the only one Scrivens failed to convert. The handsome, swaggering Scrivs probably had one eye on his big-night-out in Cardiff by that point, and where he’d lovingly stored his hair gel.


It was a convincing performance in the end by Penallta. Solid, without complacency and ruthlessly executed in terms of tries. Penarth never caved in but were moved about by a very good Penallta side. Penallta now face last season’s runners-up Rhiwbina at home in the 3rd Round on December 13th. The coaches can plan with some certainty for a far tougher test.


Martyn Rowe


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