10:11am Thursday 28th February 2013
PENTYRCH arrived at an Arctic Athletic Field last Friday on an unbeaten run in the league dating back to the middle of October that had seen them rise to sixth in the Division 3 (SE) table.
Given that 13 points separated them from the lowly Seasiders, they had designs on overtaking Brecon and rising to fifth.
They clearly hadn't done their homework on Penarth.
With a stiff north-easterly wind howling from the ground, it was imperative for the Seasiders, given first use to make the most of the advantage.
They started with a vigorous pick- and-drive game and caused all sorts of trouble in the Pentyrch 22 and, despite successive driven lines-out, Aaron Ellis held up at the line and a fine steal on the visitors' throw by Scot Mackie saw the ball cleared upfield.
James Crothers fielded and ran it back, but James Candy was caught by two offside defenders and slotted over the penalty for a 3-0 lead after 16 minutes.
The whole game was now being played out in the Pentyrch 22 and they could only dream of reaching the half-way line.
Penarth piled on the pressure as they drove maul alter maul towards the visitors tine and it was only a matter of time before the pressure told.
On the half-hour, yet another catch-and-drive was held by Pentyrch at first, but Ellis proved irresistible and, as the second drive went in, he crossed for his seventh try of the season with Candy adding the extras.
The visitors were demonstrating thew quality by keeping the score down and, as half-time approached, two scores really didn t look as if they'd be anywhere near enough as they turned to face the wind.
We needn't have worried. For all that Pentrych roared predictably out of the blocks with the wind at their backs, the Seasiders tackled them to a standstill and the visitors simply never looked as if they were going to score, let alone claw back the ten-point deficit.
Even when James Beaton received the latest in string of puzzling yellow cards with half an hour still to play, Penarth were slugging it out in the Pentyrch half and if any side was going to score, it was the rampant hosts.
Despite excellent work by David Jenkins and Candy, with Ben Donovan always looking likely to break free, no further score ensued.
However, the point had been quite adequately made and a full-strength Penarth side should fear no-one in this division now.
They now lead Tonyrefail, their closest rivals in the race to avoid relegation, by 13 points and still have a match in hand.
Even better, two of their remaining games are against the Ely valley club, starting this coming Saturday at the Athletic Field.
The dizzy heights of a mid-table finish surely beckon.
PENARTH: Rhys Morgan, Henry Mitchell, Ben Donovan, David Jenkins, James Crothers, James Candy, Chris Mortimer (Gareth Clancy), Richard Merrett, Joe Page (Gary Power), Sean O'Sullivan, James Beaton, Jon Boland, Scott Mackie, Aaron Ellis (Dan Hoffmann), Elliott Smith.
League Division 3 South-East - Saturday.
March 2 - PENARTH v Tonyrefail - The Athletic Field.
Lavernock Road. Kick-off 2.30pm.
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