Cardiff relentless in avoiding further indignity
Monday 22 January 1996
It was like Good Friday all over again at Donkey Island. There was a huge crowd, a highly committed home side and a host of international players in the opposing side.
The only problem for Penarth was that the scoreline also ended with a familiar look to it as Cardiff, complete with 13 internationals, took over where the Barbarians left off in the Eighties.
Having dispatched First Division opposition in the fourth round of the Swalec Cup - when Ebbw Vale were overcome 30-11 - and beaten Cardiff in friendly games at the Arms Park this season and last, the Penarth faithful had been contemplating celebrating the greatest day in their 116-year history.
Cardiff, on the other hand, were in no mood to suffer the indignity of another St Peter's style exit from the Cup and selected a side to ensure a comfortable passage through to the last 16 of the tournament.
They were too strong at the lines-out, too powerful in the loose and much too fast behind the scrum.
As hard as the Third Division outfit tried, and they certainly played as well as they had against Ebbw Vale, they simply proved no match for their big city neighbours.
Jonathan Davies got another game under his belt, yet continued to be largely ignored in what is now being viewed as a back-line conspiracy against him, but it was the Welsh World Cup skipper, Mike Hall, who really caught the eye.
He had a great game in both attack and defence and not only scored the opening two tries, but also made two others. If the Welsh coach, Kevin Bowring, is looking for experience in order to to bolster his 32-man squad this week, he should look no further than Hall.
Penarth followed a similar pattern to their previous cup tie by offering their visitors first use of the strong wind. Those two tries by Hall settled Cardiff and by half-time they were 25-3 ahead.
Yet having conceded only four tries in the opening 40 minutes, the Seasiders lost their way in the second half and let in a further seven, including a hat-trick to the Wales winger Simon Hill.
It was not so much a question of poor tackling, more that Cardiff were simply brilliant and relentless. It will take a very, very good side to stop them from winning the Swalec Cup this season.
Penarth: Penalties Miller 2. Cardiff: Tries Hill 3, Hall 2, Ford 2, Bevan, A Davies, Stewart, Rayer; Conversions A Davies, J Davies; Penalty A Davies.
Penarth: A Rosser; R Phillips, C Miller, D Paris, C Howells; C Lakin, D Gibbon; G Swaine, T Henson, A Pyman, M Parry (S Crothers, 62), M Edwards (capt), N Baxter, J Allen, D Williams (S Hurley, 16-21).
Cardiff: M Rayer; S Ford, M Hall (G Jones, 76), J Davies, S Hill; A Davies, A Moore; M Griffiths, H Bevan, L Mustoe, J Wakeford, D Jones (K Stewart, 56), E Lewis, H Taylor (capt; O Williams, 68), V Davies.
Referee: W Bevan (Clydach).
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