12 January 2018 / Club News

Historic Cup Day Awaits Penallta

It will be a historic day for Penallta tomorrow as two senior teams play in the last 16 of WRU cup competitions.


WRU National Plate - 4th Round

Crymych v Penallta - 2pm kick off

WRU National Bowl - 5th Round

Penygraig v Penallta - 2pm kick off


Penallta 1sts make the long trek west to Division 1 side Crymych. The champions have made solid  progress in the Plate so far, overcoming a serious banana skin in Risca in the first round before seeing off Pencoed and Cwmgors. Crymych will be tough but the Pitmen are able to field yet another strong squad and will be hoping to make it into their fourth consective quarter final draw.


And in one of the most remarkable stories of the season, Penallta 2nds team - the Troopers -  continue to make history as the first second-string side to go so deep into a WRU cup draw. The Troopers have been on an incredible journey since the start of the season. After a worrying summer for the coaches with so many senior players leaving Penallta to make their way in the Premiership, the Troopers have enjoyed an extraordinary season.


With boys coming out of retirement to help steer the 2nds in the newly-created Conference league, blending with the young guns, the performances have been fantastic. The Troopers are currently top of their Conference league and have so far knocked four 1st team sides out of the National Bowl.


Tomorrow's away trip will be Penallta's fifth consecutive away tie in the cup competition. So far the boys have seen off Ynysowen, Cefn Coed, Pyle and Oakdale and now they face the toughest one of the lot away to Penygraig.


The odds of drawing five away ties in a row are pretty steep but probably not as steep as Penallta 1sts drawing five top-of-division-1 teams in a row last season. Our very own maths-geek Dai Finance did the odds on that and worked out the chances of those ties being drawn was something ridiculous like 40,000-1. But he had been drinking shorts for six hours beforehand. Whatever the figures were, it didn't make any difference as the first team boys went on to win the Plate and the Mid District's Cup.


And if there's one thing the Troopers love, led by the marvellous coaching team (a litany of club legends) of Gareth Bisp, Jonny Wright, Dale Powell and Paul Ansell, it's a huge challenge. It really is extraordinary how well the boys have done this season. The difficulty in fielding two competitive sides within the competition rules (1st team registered boys cannot play for the 2nds, and only four 2nd team boys can permit to the 1sts each round, getting cup-tied in the process - a rule we fully agree with) has been a major headscratcher for the 1sts and 2nds coaches, as they work hard to ensure no player is cup tied or ineligible as the competition progresses. It comes with its very particular challenges. The 1sts travelled to Cwmgors last week with long-term injured Jonny Wright and retired ex-captain Geraint Thomas on the bench, to ensure that no 2nd team boys were cup-tied for this week. But it has been great fun and has added to the drama, with no calamitous losses yet!


A measure of how well it's been handled by the coaches is demonstrated by the fact that the Troopers hadn't conceded a single try in the competition until the final moments of the fourth round against Oakdale. Despite playing teams three or four divisions above them, away from home. 


The Troopers squad tomorrow is a wonderful mixture of veterans and youngsters. Rhys Silcox, Andre Soroko, Martyn Dunn and Luke Purnell all featured in the Penallta Plate winning side in 2012, and are now out of retirement to help the youngsters have a chance of more silverware. The boys also have a battleaxe of a trick up their sleeve in Shaun Powell. The ex-Cardiff captain might have a few grey hairs these days but after a year out of rugby he's back and thoroughly enjoying life under his brother's coaching.


Penygraig may well prove to be a bridge too far but the Troopers are relishing the challenge of the Bowl competition and loving rugby in the fast lane. Best of luck to them and to the reigning champions in the Plate on another great day for our great club.


The 1st team supporters coach leaves Penallta RFC at 10am and the Trooper supporters coach leaves at 12.30pm.


Please come along and support the boys on another historic day.

There doesn't appear to be any tagged photos.

Upload and Tag Photos

You must be signed in to add comments