May 03, 2015, 12:07:57 PM by HonSec
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A FINE WIN FOR PENLAN IN LAST GAME OF THE SEASON AGAINST PROMOTED LLANELLI WANDERERS
Should have gone to Specsavers Nariah !
Penlan were up against Llanelli Wanderers on Saturday in their last game of the season. Already assured of promotion to Division 1, the Wanderers were keen to end their season on a high while Penlan wanted to redress their 7 – 30 drubbing at their last encounter at home in early December. A Penlan win would also see them finish third, one place ahead of Pontarddulais, which would give them particular satisfaction.
The promised rain held off although it was still cold and windy as referee Mr. Craig Evans from Glynneath got the game underway with Penlan making the kick off.
Penlan put the first points on the board with a safe penalty kick at 7 minutes from outside-half Steven Davies, until the home side equalled and then went ahead with their own two penalties at 14 and 24 minutes kicked by outside-half Jonathon George to make it 6 – 3.
The Llanelli fast play showed why they had done so well in the season and earned their promotion but Penlan were clearly up for the challenge, especially up front. Penlan’s pressure was strong in the later stages of the first half and at 30 minutes following a series of pick and go moves they finally mauled the home defence back over their line until flanker Ian Scrine safely grounded the Penlan try. The high winds made the conversion kick difficult and Steven Davies came as close as possible as his shot bounced back after hitting the post to leave Penlan with a slim 6 – 8 lead.
Llanelli deprived Penlan of their half time lead when Jonathon George landed his third accurate penalty kick at 37 minutes to give them the 9 – 8 lead at half time.
Nursing injury Robert Green had started the game as flanker having been on the replacement bench for the previous 2 games. He was showing no ill effects though and 12 minutes into the second half got possession following a Penlan lineout in the Llanelli 22. Second row Kurt Velardo won the ball and the forwards set up the push for line which propelled the defence clear back and over. Rob Green safely landed a safe try, his 15th of the season to put his side 9 – 13 ahead and safely make him the top try scorer and top point scorer at 75. Ian Scrine finished close behind with 12 tries and then Adam Glover with 10.
Maybe the try had caused Penlan to relax slightly and that was all Llanelli Wanderers needed to counter attack and, just a minute later, they were celebrating their own try, scored by second row Iwan Jones after some fast passing left the Penlan defence standing. The balance immediately swung to a 14 – 13 home lead.
The too and fro continued for the rest of the game with both sides playing well in a close game by two good sides that provided exciting rugby. The home points were mostly scored against Penlan due to 3 penalties but it was to be a conceded penalty in the 38th. Minutes that was to deprive Llanelli of a final close win. Steven Davies stepped up with a lot resting on his shoulders and confidently completed the kick to bring his personal point tally to 61 points and ensure his team’s close victory by 14 – 16.
It was the closest of games between two good teams and Penlan showed their class by finishing third in their first season in Division 2. Their steady rise from Division 6 back in 2008-2009 after which their attainment of full WRU membership allowed them to gain promotion, has been a credit to the loyal players and coaching staff. Their last match was typical of their competent team game with all players playing their part. For his leading part in the game Robert Green was singled out as the Penlan Man of the Match to crown his end of season success.
Onwards and Upwards for Penlan as our thoughts already turn towards the next season and speculation starts as to which league we will be in. This season we were disappointed to find ourselves in the West which gave us increased travelling and seriously affected player availability for those working on a Saturday. Hopefully the final placings and geography will be kinder to us next season when we face the opportunity to progress from the strong foothold that we have established in Division 2.
All Division 2 West results are presently reported as :-
Hendy 33 Penclawdd 31
Llanelli Wanderers 14 Penlan 16
The very last game of the season will be completed next Saturday when Cardigan are at home to Aberystwyth – whatever happens in that game Cardigan still face relegation and Aberystwyth will remain in 5th. League place.