Tries: Aaron Quick (1), Brandon Kent (1), Rob Nash (1), Kristian Smith (1), Marc Thorley (1)
Conversions: Kieran Meek (3), Tom Hancock (1)
Penalties: Anthony Buselli (1)
Pooler secure bonus-point win over stubborn Skewen
Pontypool extended their lead to ten points at the top of the WRU National Championship table with a bonus-point win over Championship newcomers Skewen, in the first-ever match between the two clubs, writes Ray Ruddick. Pooler’s nearest rivals both lost – Tata Steel were defeated 22-10 at Bedlinog while Narberth were beaten 26-11 at home by Beddau.
Skewen kicked off attacking the scoreboard end of the ground at picturesque Pontypool Park in all its autumnal beauty, with the different coloured trees in the background looking down on the famous ground. The weather was fine at the start of the match but it went overcast and gloomy, then at half time the floodlights came on and the rain started which became heavier as the match went on. In the 8th minute Pooler were on the attack and was awarded a scrum five. Home No 8 Ben Sparks picked up from the base and drove. The ball was recycled and scrum half Aaron Quick pirouetted over the line near the posts for the first try of the game. This was converted by full back Kieran Meek (7-0). Five minutes later a lovely break by outside half Tom Hancock split the Skewen defence, offloaded to Brandon Kent and the young centre powered his way over for a try on Pooler’s right. Kieran Meek added the extras (14-0).
Just after the half-hour mark the Pontypool front row was penalised at a scrum, 30 metres from their line to the right of the posts and visiting outside half Anthony Buselli slotted the goal (14-3). However, back came the home side and with 2 minutes to go before the interval Pooler had a lineout 5 metres from the Skewen goal line. The ball was won and the Pontypool pack drove their opponents over the line for experienced open side flanker Rob Nash to score an unconverted try. In injury time Pontypool again infringed at a scrum 35 metres from their line on Skewen’s left but the attempt at goal failed. Half time score Pontypool 19 Skewen 3.
Fifteen minutes into the second period Pooler won their lineout 15 metres from the Skewen line. The Pooler pack did the hard work and, once again, produced another powerful drove for second row Kristian Smith to score Pontypool’s bonus-point try, converted by Kieran Meek (26-3). Just before the hour mark Pontypool made a couple of changes with Dan Brooks replacing Aaron Quick and Marc Thorley coming on for Kieran Meek. There was a reshuffle in the home back line with Brandon Kent moving out to the left wing, Josh Hurley from left wing to full back and Marc Thorley slotted in at centre. 10 minutes later Pooler made two more substitutions with hooker and captain Ben Parry making way for Alex Watkins and Matthew Thomas replacing Kristian Smith.
In the 74th minute the ball went loose in Pooler’s half after home centre Sione Tu’ipulotu tackled one of the Skewen players. Marc Thorley gathered the ball and sprinted fully 50 metres to score near the posts. Tom Hancock kicked the easy conversion (33-3). Towards the end of the game, loose head prop Aaron Coundley, who had an excellent game was replaced by Ryan Harford with Ollie Drake moving from tight head to loose head for the final few minutes. Final score Pontypool 33 Skewen 3.
This was another sound performance by Pontypool but Skewen made it very difficult as they never game up. Pooler’s defence was good and, despite their sterling efforts, the visitors could not cross the home line. Next Saturday Pontypool have another home game, against another new team to the Championship as Bedliong make the relatively short trip to Pontypool Park. As in the case against Skewen, the game versus Bedlinog will be the first between the two clubs. Pooler’s next away game will be on Saturday 29 October when they make the long journey west to Dol Wiber to take on Newcastle Emlyn. Both matches kick-off at 2.30pm.
There will be a special match at Pontypool Park on Friday 4 November when Pontypool take on a Torfaen XV with every club represented in the Borough. The match kicks-off at 7.15pm and is in memory of Roger Addison, the former Welsh Youth international prop who tragically broke his neck when a scrum collapsed playing for Pontypool at Rugby in November 1966. He died in March 2010 aged 65. This is an all pay game with tickets £5 available on the night. All proceeds from the match will go to Rookwood Hospital in Cardiff and Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury – the two hospitals where Roger was cared for, for most of his life.
Pontypool: Kieran Meek (replaced by Marc Thorley), Nathan Brooks, Brandon Kent, Sione Tu’ipulotu, Josh Hurley, Tom Hancock, Aaron Quick (replaced by Dan Brooks), Aaron Coundley (replaced by Ryan Harford), Ben Parry (captain) (replaced by Alex Watkins), Max Williams, Kristian Smith (replaced by Matthew Thomas), Gareth Rusby-Davies, Rob Nash, Ben Sparks.
|5||Max Williams (A)|