SULLY SPORTS RFC 1st XV 36pts
OLD PENARTHIANS 1st XV 19
GREAT playing conditions prevailed for this local derby and both teams produced fast, open and attacking rugby and defended with crunching, no quarter tackles.
The referee played his part, allowing good advantage, and not over-reacting to the few minor feisty moments. The game ebbed and flowed, with neither team dominating for long periods.
Old Pens showed a lot of class in the open, with their threequarters showing deft handling, support and off-loading skills, backed up with pace and intelligent angles of running.
Sports held the upper hand up front, which eventually gave them the platform, and possession, to earn victory. The scrum was immense, putting Old Pens in great difficulty at the set pieces and also at the breakdown area. The driving forwards played a major role in wearing down the stubborn Old Pens defence, and provided plenty of good ball for the backs.
Despite an early failed long distance penalty attempt by Sports, the visitors had the better of the opening 10 minutes, but gradually the home side seized the initiative over the 15 minutes, and ran in tries from No 8 Jonathon Blake and winger Dave Stillman, with outside-half Chris Cummings adding a conversion.
The game then swung back to the visitors and, by half-time, they were level with two very good tries and a conversion.
At the start of the second period, Sports re-asserted their grip, with flanker Adam Wheeler and Stillman grabbing tries, both converted by Cummings.
True to form, back came Old Pens who reduced the arrears with a scintillating converted try after the ball was run out of their own half.
The pressure was now on the Sports and, after showing true mettle in defence, they slowly regained the upper hand as the forwards stepped up to again seize the lion’s share of possession. With 10 minutes left, Wheeler grabbed his second try, converted by Cummings, and the game was safe. Lock Alex Szuchnik was unlucky to have a late “try” disallowed as the referee spotted a forward pass just short of the line. Old Pens failed to relieve the pressure and were penalised, and a Cummings penalty ensured a victory that was not as comfortable as the scoreline suggests.
Sports still have four re-arranged league games to complete the season, with the first of these due to be played last night (Wednesday) at home against Cardiff Saracens. The Seconds are away to New Panteg on Saturday, May 10.
The season is due to end on Saturday, May 24, when the club hosts a West Country touring team (WRU approval required).
The club celebrates its 50th anniversary next season, and a number of special fixtures and celebratory events have already been booked. Information will be published as appropriate, but past players, and members, interested in attending/sponsoring can contact a member of the club’s committee. One of the main events will be a “Black Tie Do” on Saturday, November 15, and bookings are now being taken.