RUGBY UNION: Penarth's triumph

Penarth 30 Ebbw Vale 11
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The Independent Online
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It is going to be something of an old boys reunion on 20 January when Penarth face Cardiff in the fifth round of the Swalec Cup. That was the reward for the Seasiders from their greatest moment in 25 years of otherwise extremely thin, and often embarrassing, fortune in the cup.

Having been beaten by some of the lowliest clubs in the Welsh Rugby Union, as well as a number from outside the official ranks, to come away with such a convincing victory over a First Division side will have had them dancing down the promenade on the Penarth seafront.

No doubt the prize of a fixture against Cardiff played heavily in the pre-match team talk from one of seven former Arms Park men now in the Penarth ranks, the home captain, Mark Edwards.

"We certainly had one eye on the next round tie against Cardiff. It will be a great day for the club and a great chance for a number of our players to prove a point," he said.

Both first-half tries came from ex-Cardiff men, the lock Simon Crothers and the prop Greg Swaine, and there were 0 points from the boot of another old blue and black, the full-back Craig Miller. More of the same next month could help to make it three wins in a row over their big city neighbours after victories in friendlies this season and last.

While a triumph for the Third Division underdogs was always a possibility, it became a virtual certainty when they changed ends just one point in arrears after Edwards had chosen to play into the teeth of a near gale- force wind.

Ebbw Vale failed to take any meaningful initiative up front and were unable to shake the Penarth resolve. A monstrous 45-metre drop goal from their acting skipper Byron Hayward apart, the visitors did not make the best use of the elements.

A try on the stroke of half-time, worked on the narrow side of a five- metre scrum, at least enabled them to turn around with their noses in front, but it was only a matter of time in the second half before the minnows hit back.

A Miller drop goal eight minutes after the restart launched the victory drive and two more tries from the outstanding pack added some style to the windy proceedings.

Scorers: Penarth: Tries Crothers, Swaine, Allen, Williams; Conversions Miller 2; Penalty Miller; Drop goal Miller. Ebbw Vale: Try Bamsey; Penalty Hayward; Drop goal Hayward.

Penarth: C Miller; A Hurford, C Wilkins, D Paris, C Howells; C Lakin, I Fifield; G Swaine, T Henson, A Pyman, S Crothers, M Edwards (capt), N Baxter, J Allen, D Williams.

Ebbw Vale: D Worgan; N Morgan, C Price, I Lewis, J Bamsey; B Hayward (capt), M Boys; A Phillips, S Jones, W Ford (M Sibthorpe, 72), D Medlicott, E Moores (K Jones, 52), B Watkins, J Williams, P Hudson.

Referee: N Whitehouse (Swansea).

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