15 June 2022 / Club News

Season Review, 2021-22...

Presentation evening on Saturday marked the end of the 2021-22 season – a long, challenging season that started way back in June last year! Amidst all the difficulties and struggles with COVID, there was real appetite to get everyone back involved and back on the field playing the sport we love. It was welcome relief for a lot of us – players, coaches and supporters alike in what had felt like an eternity away from the game!


The season itself proved to be another successful one for club – remarkable in fact – but in some ways also frustrating. Our 1st XV went through the entire league campaign unbeaten, but with no promotion or league title to play for their efforts went unrewarded and a handful of games remained unplayable, deeming the league null and void. Much was the same for our Troop side and the Conference League – just the one loss in the league would mean the guys finished top of the pile but no award for their efforts either and for the Youth, a real up and down season – with the change to the age banding moved to 2-years (unlike the usual 3-years) and a number of disruptions throughout the year. But all that aside, we still managed to enjoy more than our fair share of the spoils and the boys across the 3 teams continued to impress and dazzle us on the field with their attacking prowess and exciting brand of rugby that we’ve now fondly come to know as ‘the Penallta way’.


What Jack and the coaching staff have developed with this group of players this year started way back before COVID and the boys’ efforts in all that time have made them the side they are today, so It was fitting then that they were duly rewarded! Our 1st XV got the club to yet another National Plate final and another trip to the Principality Stadium, where they would go on to defeat a good, unbeaten Treorchy side in a scintillating performance and notching another famous victory in the club’s history. The Troop themselves nearly made up for their league woes after reaching the Ivor Williams District Cup final but narrowly losing out to a strong Bargoed side but again, a fabulous cup run for the Troop!


The efforts and contributions of all our players don’t go unnoticed and we thank them all dearly for their continued dedication, time and commitment they give to the club. Each and every one of them last season was thoroughly deserving of all the plaudits and praise bestowed upon them, so choosing yet a handful for recognition was a difficult task, but we can confirm our award winners from this season as follows;


1st XV Player of the Year – WILL KEEP

1st XV Coaches Player of the Year – RHYS STEPHENS

1st XV Most Promising Player – KIERAN O’LEARY

1st XV Supporters Player – BEN GRIFFITHS


Troop Player of the Year – MATTHEW JACKSON

Troop Coaches Player of the Year – MATTHEW JACKSON

Troop Most Promising Player – ALEX LANGWORTHY


Youth Player of the Year – TOM WILTON

Youth Coaches Player of the Year – TOM WILTON

Youth Most Promising Player – MICHAEL CARTER & TYLA HOWELLS


Clubman of the Year – GARETH BISP

National Plate Final, Man of the Match – LEWIS BARNETT


There was also plenty to celebrate off the field – our clubs 70th anniversary was commemorated with an evening of past and former players, coaches and committee members from years gone by in what was a fabulous evening. During the season several current players achieved notable club representation milestones;

50 Caps: Ben Giffiths, Lloyd Bodman, Will Keep, Rhys Spanswick

100 Caps: Geraint Capel, Luke Purnell

150 Caps: Rhys Stephens


As the dust settles on our season, we look ahead to next season eagerly and are delighted to announce the coaching and management team we have in place for next season to guide the teams in what could potentially be one of the biggest years in the club’s history with lots to play for across all three teams.


We have great pleasure in confirming that Jack Condy will continue his coaching journey with us as Head Coach of the clubs’ senior sides. Jack will be working closely with another Penallta great Matthew Tucker who steps into a new role as the Clubs Coach Coordinator, overseeing and developing the coaching set-up throughout the club. Another great appointment that will add some additional structure to the coaching pathway across the club. Jack’s backroom staff will comprise of Steve Cribb and Andrew Jenkins as Assistant Coaches after both had successful spells in role last season and joining them will be Ben Flower as the Strength & Conditioning lead for the 2022-23 season. With Ben’s professional background it is exciting to see what he can do with the current senior squad. In terms of 1st team manager - we bid farewell to Jeff ‘K9’ Davies, who steps down as Team Manager after a brilliant year and another milestone for the legend that is K9 himself, we welcome his replacement in the form of another club legend in his own right that is Gareth ‘Ray’ Bisp who will take up the Team Manager role for the 2022-23 season and another club stalwart coming back to pledge his services yet again will be Richard Scrivens, who comes back into the senior ranks to support Jack and the boys. Great to have you back in the fold Scrivs! Mark Williams will remain onboard as the seniors Performance Analyst and we’re also delighted to confirm that Kate Taylor and Mark Wilmott (Senior Club Physio’s) will continue in their roles after playing a huge part in recent years. Leading the 1st XV on the field again this season will be Rhys Stephens who will continue as 1st XV Captain for the fourth consecutive year (either side of COVID), where he will also have the support of several senior players who will all play a vital part to develop as leaders and in bringing the next generation of youngsters through the senior ranks.


Our 2nd XV (the beloved Troop) welcomes some great additions into the club coaching set-up. Club favourite and Troop maverick Matthew Jackson will take up a joint Player/Coach role and will be joined by Andre Soroko and Matthew Angel – 3 guys that have been part of the club for over 20 or so years as players and coaches in years gone by. Bryan Harris will hold the reigns as 2nd XV Team Manager with Baz ‘The Boot’ Phillips on for another Year as the First Aid/Physio. Captain for the Troop next year is none other than Luke ‘Nelly’ Purnell, who’ll be sure to keep the boys in check this year.


Finally, the Yoof! The revised changes to the Youth age banding made last year have now been set in place for the foreseeable future, meaning Youth rugby in Wales remains at the 2-year banding. Taking up the vacant Head Coach role will be Dai Roberts after coming in to serve for the Youth for the 2nd half of last season. Dai will be partnered by Lee Howells in what will be Lee’s 2nd year with the Youth, along with Owen Robins who will continue to support as Assistant Coach. Dean Williams will continue as the Team Manager for the Youth whilst Paul Phillips will remain as First Aid/Physio. Captain for the new look Youth for the 2022-23 season is Tom Wilton, who had a remarkable season last year that’s been rightly acknowledged. Tom will be supported by Reuben Price as Vice-Captain.


We wish all our players, coaches, physio’s and team managers the very best of luck for the forthcoming season and offer thanks once again for their dedication and commitment to our wonderful club.


The club would like to express our thanks and pay it’s respects to some of the clubs’ greatest players and dedicated members who’ve contributed so much to the success of the club over the years. Dale Powell and Geraint Thomas both stand down for the interim and will take a well-deserved break away from the game after guiding the Troop and Youth respectfully in most recent years. We thank you both for everything you’ve done boys and we’re indebted for the contributions that you have made to our great club over the years.


The forthcoming season really does promise so much, with our sights firmly set on the goal of gaining promotion to the Championship and continuing to develop the next generation of players via our youth and second teams. It’s a very ambitious target for a village club like ours, but a goal none the less that drives our ambition and desire to become one of the top sides in Wales that competes with the best!


We look forward to seeing you all in the coming months…

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