Cat keeps Panthers purring

South Wales Guardian: CAPTAIN CAT: Panthers skipper Catrin Rees is dreaming of lifting the WWRU Sup Cup Vase. Pic: Rileysportsphotography.com CAPTAIN CAT: Panthers skipper Catrin Rees is dreaming of lifting the WWRU Sup Cup Vase. Pic: Rileysportsphotography.com

THE skipper of the Penybanc Panthers is itching to get on to Llandovery’s Church Bank pitch to take on Haverfordwest in the WWRU Super Cup Vase final on Saturday.

Catrin Rees has proved an inspirational figure behind the scrum throughout the club’s stunning debut season and she and her teammates are adamant they can finish the campaign with silverware.

“We are in great shape and everyone is really up for it,” Catrin told the Guardian.

“It can’t come soon enough – we just want to get out there and play.”

The 20-year-old scrum-half is no stranger to the big stage having this year been selected for the Scarlets Ladies after cutting her teeth coming through the Carmarthen Quins Ladies’ junior ranks.

“I’ve been playing since I was nine or ten when I joined in with the boys’ sides and this won’t be my first final so I’m aware of the pressure of big games and it is something I am really looking to.”

Rees is not alone amongst the Panthers’ ranks with a wealth of experience to fall back on once the whistle blows, but the vast majority of the side had never even picked up a ball before the 2013-14 kicked off.

“That is one of the great things about this year,” she said.

“A few of us do have a fair bit of experience, but most of the girls are completely new to the game so it has been fantastic for them to get to the final in their very first season.

“The majority of the team were completely new to rugby when the season began.”

Rees is under no illusions however that the opposition will make life easy.

“Haverfordwest beat us twice in the league and to be fair they were the better team,” she admitted.

“But when we faced them in the Super Cup things began to click. We started to gel as a team and we took them by surprise.”

That surprise saw the Panthers claim a shock 31-18 victory, but it marked the moment when the team – as Rees says – “clicked” and found the quick passing and flowing style they have made their own, something the Pembrokeshire side will be desperate to stem.

“There’s no doubt it is going to be tough – they are a good team and I really do not see them being the same Haverfordwest side we beat.

“They have a lot of girls back from university, so they will definitely be a lot stronger – they will also know what to expect.

“They took us for granted last time and got a shock – that won’t be the case this time.”

The turn in the weather may well be one factor that gives the Panthers the edge – even without the element of surprise.

“We will be looking to spread the ball as quick as we can and keep things moving – that is our strength and we will look to exploit it.

“We are all raring to go – it is going to be a tough game but if we play the way we can, we will win.

“The support we have had this season has been phenomenal and that has got us where we are – it also means we want to go one step further and lift the trophy for everyone who has backed us.

“Now we just want to play.”

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