5 TRY VICTORY FOR PENLAN AWAY TO ABERAVON GREEN STARS
A strong on form performance by Penlan > picture from Colin Rush
In mid-October Penlan was experiencing some temporary team shortages when they were at home to Aberavon Green Stars and paid the price with a narrow 20 – 23 loss and just one losing bonus point. It had been the only home game that Penlan had conceded in the season and is not a very common occurrence. On Saturday Penlan were out to redress the balance with a strong well drilled team performance. They needed to be on their best form against a strong and able Aberavon side, who were now on their home soil.
The heavy rain during the preceding week held off for the day but had left the pitch heavy going and the wind was gusting. Referee Mr. Colin Kirkhouse from Swansea got the game underway on time and made a fine job of managing a flowing and enjoyable game throughout.
Penlan Head Coach, Lee Banfield was not able to be present at the game but his side was to carry out their game plan to secure an impressive win. Initial points though went to Aberavon with a penalty kick by their full-back, Sean Curran, and for the majority of the first half the play was to and fro. The two strong sides worked to be dominant and, although the resulting rugby was exciting, it was not until after 30 minutes that the score changed.
A long accurate kick by Penlan outside-half Steven Williams found touch near the corner flag. His side won the resulting lineout and immediately set up a push for the line which propelled the Stars clear back over the whitewash until flanker, Ian Scrine, landed a firm try to give Penlan the 3 – 5 lead.
The lead lasted no more than 3 minutes until Sean Curran landed a second penalty for Aberavon to switch the lead in their favour by 6 – 5.
As time was running out in the first half, Penlan were mounting another strong attack and a long pass by scrum-half Bobby Scrine advanced the ball and resulted in constant work for the line. This led to them being awarded a penalty and saw Captain Robert Green advance the ball well into Stars territory. A well executed Penlan maul again pushed the defence back to allow hooker Dean Davies to land a second try for Penlan near the corner. The slim 6 – 10 lead for Penlan at half-time was important for the visitors and a good position to be in when the second half started.
Aberavon Stars were nervous but unbowed and despite Penlan advancing their lead at 3 minutes to 6 – 13 from a Penalty kick by Steven Williams, managed to keep the visitors at bay for a while. The Penlan machine was on form though and, after a number of attacks, scored a third try at the 20 minute mark.
The Stars had fought back and by degrees had advanced the ball into Penlan territory but were dismayed as another long and accurate kick by Steven Williams switched the play deep into home territory. The pressure was back on Aberavon and a mid-air juggle by one of their defenders was seized upon by Penlan centre, Dafydd Pritchard, who gained possession. His timely pass to Ian Scrine allowed him to sprint clear through the remaining defence to land his second try for Penlan, which with a safe conversion by Steven Williams gave them a healthy 6 – 20 lead.
Ian sprints clear leaving the Star’s defence in dismay > picture from Colin Rush
For the rest of the game Penlan looked dominant despite Aberavon continuing to put up a strong defence. At the 30 minute mark there was a lineout in the visitor’s 22 which saw the ball going lose until it was gathered up and advanced by Robert Green for Penlan. The result was another determined push by the visitors which bulldozed the defence back until Ian Scrine completed his hat trick with Penlan’s fourth try. Steven Williams made a second safe conversion, despite the strong wind, to give his side a crushing 6 – 27 lead.
Penlan Captain and flanker Robert Green had been well in the action throughout and in the final minutes of the game scored his sixth try of the season, to equal Adam Glover, as present top try scorers. The try came from more constant well drilled Penlan play that again put the home side under unstoppable pressure until Robert powered over at the corner. Penlan’s fifth try put the icing on their fine game performance with a 6 – 32 win to maintain them in fourth table place with 43 points, just 5 away from Ystradgynlais and Brynamman in second and third places.
Penlan Man of the Match went to Ian Scrine whose 3 tries now gives him a league total of 4 to join Antony Butt in second place. It had been a great team effort and it was agreed that they all deserved credit. Now on a roll, Penlan have to keep on the ball as they have two weeks rest during the start of the 6 Nations tournament until 20th. February when they meet Maesteg Celtic at home. Their previous away game in October against Celtic had resulted in a Penlan loss of 15 – 39, a game that they should have won, despite the high score, and clearly Penlan will be out to even the balance.
Very many thanks to our resident photographers, Colin Rush (his photographs have been uploaded to our gallery) and Mike Evans. Mike had been having some technical problems lately but these have now been resolved with Nantymoel’s game last week now added to his website and today’s being added in due course www.mike322.com.
All Division 2 West Central results are presently reported as below with the resulting league positions now as shown on our table page (subject to exact try scores being verified) –
Aberavon Green Stars 6 Penlan 32
Cwmavon 3 Neath Athletic 5
Cwmllynfell 47 Neath Athletic 5
Maesteg 8 Ystradgynlais 43
Nantymoel 10 Brynamman 33
Taibach 8 Cwmgors 17