NARROW LOSS FOR PENLAN AWAY TO NANTYMOEL
Injury continues to disrupt Penlan’s squad which required more changes to be made to their line up at Nantymoel on Saturday. In the early stages they struggled to settle down but fought back valiantly in the second half.
Penlan took the kick off as referee Mr. Phil Evans from Bridgend got the game underway on an ideal day for rugby at Nantymoel. First points went to Penlan from a safe penalty kick by outside-half Steven Williams at just 3 minutes but it was to be the only time when they were to lead the scoring.
At 7 minutes Nantymoel were putting Penlan under extreme pressure on their line and, initially, left wing Dafydd Pritchard managed to deny them a touch down. A Nantymoel scrum in front of the posts followed and this time the Penlan defence was breached and the try landed. A straightforward conversion made the score 7 – 3 for Nantymoel.
For a time Penlan were successful at keeping the opposition at bay despite their determined efforts but at 25 minutes, Nantymoel had a scrum in the Penlan 22 and, with some fast passing, switched position around the defence to cross near the corner, run around and land between the posts. A second safe conversion put the home side 14 – 3 in front.
Just two minutes later more punishment came Penlan’s way from a Nantymoel lineout in the 22. Quick passing to the wing lead to them making steady progress up the field until, once again they crossed at the corner and ran around behind the posts for their try. A safe third conversion gave Nantymoel a 21 – 3 lead.
The work for Penlan became harder when established players Ian Scrine and Neil Draper had to retire due to injury with Ian sustaining a nasty cut above his eye that required stitching to add to Head Coach Lee Banfield’s ongoing difficulties.
In the last 10 minutes of the first half Penlan clawed back 6 points from two penalties landed by Steven William to shave the Nantymoel lead to 21 – 9 at half time.
With the prospect of securing their first win of the season, Nantymoel came out determined to finish the job and even possibly get a fourth try for a bonus point. To Penlan’s credit they had no intention of making it easy for Nantymoel. At 10 minutes though 3 penalty points were added to the home tally from a safe kick at the posts.
The Penlan fight back proved successful at 15 minutes when they secured a lineout on the home 5 metre. The through-in was made by Adam Glover and won by second row Kurt Velardo who passed across field. Initial work by Stephen Harding advanced the ball well, leading to a constant push for the line until Adam Glover powered over the line to land a welcome first try. Now the home lead was 24 – 14 with the welcome score adding to the fire in Penlan hearts.
Penlan had one player on permit, namely young Luke Ford from Bonymaen, who was playing at scrum-half. It was a big call for Luke playing with a new team in such a crucial position, taking the place of key player Bobby Scrine who was injured and watching from the touchline. Luke showed his ability at the 28 minute mark after Penlan steadily advanced the ball deep into Nantymoel territory. Some fast Penlan passing got the ball to Luke who sprinted up the wing through the defenders to score a great try near the corner to reduce the home lead to 24 – 19 with 10 minutes to go. Luke was awarded Penlan's Man of the Match.
Penlan now looked the stronger and more determined team and had valiantly fought back for a chance to win against the odds. Nantymoel though had had a wake up call and managed to put in the work to prevent any more damage. With just 4 minutes to go they made their win more secure and deprived Penlan of a 7 point losing bonus point by landing their second penalty to make the final score 27 – 19.
Nantymoel deserved their first win of the season and Penlan came away being able to hold their heads high for a spirited performance but with even more injuries to add to their problems.
In the evening the players relaxed as they attended the engagement party of player Bobby Scrine and Carla Jayne Price and a fine evening was had by all, especially as a television was on hand so that the England v Australia game could be followed. Very best wishes to Bobby and Carla from us all.
Next week Penlan are home to Aberavon Green Stars who are currently in 8th table place immediately behind Penlan but with 6 points difference.
All Division 2 West Central results are currently reported as :-
Aberavon Green Stars 13 Ystradgynlais 17
Cwmllynfell 81 Cwmgors 13
Maesteg Celtic 19 Cwmavon 19
Nantymoel 27 Penlan 19
Neath Athletic 23 Aberavon Quinns 36
Taibach 8 Brynamman 47