Penallta RFC | 1st Team 41 - 22 Mountain Ash RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
08 December 2019 / Team News

4G Pitch A Different Ball Game

The Old Firm departed this season’s Specsavers WRU Plate and Coors Mid District Cup with defeat to worthy victors Penallta on the 4G pitch at Ystrad Mynach. It was noticeable that the home side played at a faster pace than Mount in the first half and it paid off, with them scoring 4 tries by half time and leading 29-10. The Old Firm did not help themselves with too many loose kicks which missed touch and allowed Penallta to counter attack. From one of these and a lost lineout, the home team worked an opening to put one of their midfield players away in the Mount half, and he cut inside to finish off a fine attack to score under the posts. The conversion made it 7-0 after 8 minutes. The Old Firm’s first attack of the game came from a scrum on halfway. Full back Jarrod Cushion made a break and beat several defenders and got to within 10 metres out where a long pass was intercepted and Penallta cleared.

The home scrum half was sharp all game, and from a scrum on the Penallta 22 line, he got away down the touchline and kicked on, taking play to 5 metres out from the Mount line. Another attack took play into the Mount 22, and although the Old Firm did well to stop a second try being scored, they conceded a penalty which was kicked to make the score 10-0. A 35 metre penalty converted by wing Morgan James reduced the home lead to 10-3. Penallta regathered the restart and it was only a forward pass 5 metres out which stopped another try. Penallta were well on top and a diagonal kick into space in the Mount 22 bounced awkwardly and pressure from the home midfield led to the ball being kicked over the Mount line for an attacker to touch down which made it 15-3.

Mount were slow in moving the ball, giving the home defence time to organise, but for almost the first time in the half, they put half a dozen passes together at speed to take play into the home half. A penalty was kicked to the Penallta 22 where flanker Matthew Rees won the lineout and took play to 10 metres out. Prop Tom Harper drove on to metres out, and then the ball was moved to outside half Tom Pascoe who jinked inside and forced his way over under the posts for a try to bring Mount back into the match. James converted to make it 15-10 after 35 minutes.

The 5 minutes before half time were a game changer. A counter attack by Penallta had the Mount defence stretched, and a break in midfield and a pass saw the home wing run in for a converted try. With the last move of the first half, a turnover on the Penallta 22 line was hoisted high. The home side were quickly up and regathered the ball from Mount, moving the ball wide quickly. The Mount defence did well to keep them out in the corner, but the move was moved into midfield where a nice slipped pass led to a home midfield player scoring under the posts, with the conversion making it 29-10 at half time, and leaving the Old Firm with a mountain to climb.

The first quarter of the second half was punctuated with a couple of stoppages for injuries. On the hour, a crossfield kick was won by the home wing and a short pass put a home player over from 5 metres out for a fifth try, which made it 34-10. Penallta made it 41-10 after 65 minutes when the referee awarded a penalty try from a 5 metre scrum.

Replacement forwards Jordan Burke and Jarrod Parfitt gave the Mount attack more dynamism, taking the ball at pace and making ground. From one of these runs, the Old Firm started an attack and from pressure on the Penallta line, a try near the posts by flanker Matthew Rees made it 41-15 in the 70th minute. Mount started playing their best rugby of the match, moving the ball quicker across the park, replacements Liam Attwell and Alex Hughes contributing in attack. More pressure on the home line was finished off by prop Tom Harper who drove under near the posts, James converting to make it 41-22 after 77 minutes.

The game degenerated in the final minutes with several cards shown, but there was no further scoring which left Penallta as the team moving into the quarter final draws in both the WRU Plate and the Mid District Cup.

The Old Firm should not be too despondent by the defeat. They were beaten by a well-drilled, capable team which played very well on the day, playing 15 man rugby. On the perfect conditions of the 4G pitch in Ystrad Mynach, they will pose a challenge to any club in Division 1 and in the next round of the Plate should they be drawn home. If the Mount team can learn anything from this game it is that they need to make their kicks to touch, maintain a strong scrum for the whole game, and play the game at a greater pace. They looked far more effective late on in the game when playing with more tempo.

This Saturday, 14 December, Mount welcome St Joseph’s to Duffryn Pennar Park for a Division 1 East Central game, kick off 2:30pm. The division is wide open, with the Old Firm, on their day, capable of beating any team. They are out of all cup competitions and can concentrate fully on finishing as high as possible in the League. If they put their minds to it, there is no reason why they cannot do so.

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