Panthers roar to opening victory
1:22pm Monday 2nd September 2013 in Sport
Penybanc Panthers 31 Lampetern 22
The setting could not have been better for the first ever league game for the Penybanc Panthers, the Amman Valley’s only women’s rugby team.
The sun was shining and there was a buoyant crowd as the two teams looked to play an expansive game of rugby.
Penybanc took to the field with a mix of experience and novice players and this showed in the opening minutes when Lampeter scored a well-worked try from their No8 Claire Davies.
To their credit Penybanc composed themselves quickly and impressive outside-half Brittany Price sprinted for a breakaway try on 11 minutes.
Panthers scrum-half Catrin Rees was a thorn in Lampeter’s side all afternoon and created an opportunity for Price to score again from a solid scrum on 20 minutes with Rees converting.
Lampeter’s experienced told on 39 minutes when they were in control of the ball for a sustained period and were camped in Penybanc’s half, outside-half Emily Oliver completed a well-organised phase of play just before half-time to bring an exciting first half to conclusion with the score at 12 -10 to Penybanc.
The second half resumed with Penybanc carrying on with their good work ethic.
From a strong scrum the ball was played to the backs with Price and man of the match centre Holly Roderick combining to create a fabulous try straight off the training paddock, Rees converted.
With Penybanc dominating the close quarters through their influential forwards - especially Sophie Mangano, who worked tirelessly all day to use her strength to create turnovers and hold up the play - presented a chance for Price to again show her skill and create another scoring opportunity on 53 minutes, Rees converted impressively.
With Penybanc having given everything for 60 minutes, the heat and occasion was showing as energy levels became sapped, this resulted in Lampeter crossing the whitewash from a well deserved try by outside-half Emily Oliver.
With Lampeter now dominating possession, it was a relief to the 100 plus crowd when Darcy Hardy intercepted the ball on half way and dodged and weaved her way to the line to register a superb individual try on 61 minutes.
Penybanc had to dig deep and defend for the majority of the remaining time as Lampeter huffed and puffed and nearly blew the house down but to the Panthers’ relief two passes were dropped with the line at the visitors’ mercy.
The final score did go to Lampeter with the impressive Oliver crossing for her hat-trick.
Penybanc were out on their feet but managed to run down the clock to record their first ever win and game in a competitive League.
A beaming head coach Hywel Thomas said: “I am so proud of the team, they stuck at it for 80 minutes against an experienced and organised Lampeter side.
“They have worked so hard to get to this day and on reflection of the whole game I think they deserved it.
“The games come thick and fast so the focus will return to training Wednesday and to our next opponents Bargoed”