One day after the 1st XI reached the Welsh Trophy final, the youngest members of the club showed that the future is also in safe hands by travelling to Swansea to take part in qualifying for the South Wales U11 Cup.
In the main competition, arguably the two strongest teams on display met in the opening encounter as Penarth faced off against old rivals Whitchurch. Typically, the game proved to be a very tight affair, with quality hockey being played thoughout. However, despite the Cubs’ best efforts, Whitchurch held on to snatch a 1-0 win that would give them the edge for the rest of the afternoon.
Undeterred, Penarth moved on to what was, effectively, a ‘must-win’ game against a talented Bridgend team. Rising to the challenge, the boys produced their best performance of the season, running out 3-0 winners to put one hand on a play-off place before taking on a hapless Fishguard side in their final group game. The West Wales side came to the competition with a distinct lack of competitive games under their belt, and that showed as Penarth won 7-0 in an extremely one-sided game.
The victory ensured that Penarth progressed to the play-off to determine the last qualifier for the South Wales finals later in the month. Finding themselves ranged against a Llanishen & Caerphilly side coming from the other side of the draw, the Cubs showed that their level of intensity had no been dimmed by the easy pickings against Fishguard and effectively sealed the game by scoring twice with less than two minutes on the clock. Two more strikes followed before the final whistle to complete a comfortable 4-0 win and guarantee that they moved through to the next round.
Penarth also fielded a team in the reserve competition, and acquitted themselves well despite having to play two back-to-back games with a bare seven players and a couple of eight-year olds making their competitive debuts. Indeed, the side were unfortunate to only draw 0-0 with Gwent in their opening game, having created the better chances and defended strongly throughout, but their efforts ultimately counted against them as they moved onto a tougher game with Whitchurch. Again, the young squad aquitted themselves brilliantly in the first half, remaining on level terms with their more experienced opposition, but a fourth consecutive half of hockey proved a bridge too far, as Whitchurch's freshness - and substitutes – ensured that they ran out 2-0 winners.
The South Wales finals take place in Swansea on Saturday 22 April, with Penarth joining the hosts, Whitchurch and Gwent in the line-up.
Updated 11:14 - 4 Apr 2017 by Craig Llewellyn