Try by Gareth Smith.
Tries by Lewis Prothero, Joel Mahoney, Martin Luckwell, Matthew Lewis, Lewis Ball and Jordan Thomas.
Conversions by Matthew Lewis (2) and Alex Gwatkin.
Pooler on top in Torfaen derby
Cwmbran hosted near neighbours Pontypool in a hastily arranged friendly fixture at the King’s Head Ground on a wet and windy Friday evening, writes Ray Ruddick. The pitch was heavy and difficult to play on due to the rainfall of the previous few days.
This was a pleasant change from the pressures of league rugby and Pooler gave game time to the fringe players of the squad as well as a few local players.
Cwmbran kicked off defending the clubhouse end of the ground. Pontypool opened the scoring after six minutes with a try by wing Lewis Prothero in the right corner after a flowing move with the ball going through several pairs of hands. The conversion attempt failed (5-0).
Seven minutes later Pooler scored again when centre Joel Mahoney crossed for a try to the left of the posts which outside half Matthew Lewis converted (12-0).
In the 23rd minute the visitors had a scrum near the Crows’ goal line. All Pooler’s backs were lined up on the right but play went left and scrum half Martin Luckwell scored an unconverted try in the left corner. Half time score - Cwmbran 0 Pontypool 17.
Early in the second half Cwmbran were reduced to 14 men due to a yellow card. In the 48th minute play went left from a scrum inside the home side’s 22 and Matthew Lewis glided over for a try near the posts which he duly converted (24-0).
Pooler then made some changes – flanker and captain Rob Nash was replaced by Llewi McLean, Rhodri Usher made way for George Collins on the left wing, Kyan Best took over from Lewis Rosser at loose head prop and Matthew Lewis was replaced by Alex Gwatkin.
In the 62nd minute Pooler made several drives towards the Cwmbran goal line and eventually hooker Lewis Ball got over for a try near the posts. Replacement Alex Gwatkin slotted the conversion (31-0).
The visitors then made more changes when Lewis Ball made way for Ben Parry, Danny Hodge took over from Gareth Rusby-Davies in the second row and Craig Price was replaced by Saul Morris at tight head prop.
In the 72nd minute Cwmbran were applying pressure inside the Pontypool 22 and testing the Championship side’s defence. The defence eventually cracked when Gareth Smith scored a thoroughly deserved try in the left corner. The conversion failed (31-5).
However, with just over 3 minutes to go Pooler responded with a try by full back Jordan Thomas who dived over in the right corner for an unconverted try. Final score – Cwmbran 5 Pontypool 36.
This was a good workout for both teams in testing conditions. Cwmbran’s next game is on Saturday when they make the short trip to Caerleon in Division One East while Championship leaders Pontypool welcome Beddau to Pontypool Park on the same day. Both games kick off at 2.30pm.
Pontypool: Jordan Thomas, Lewis Prothero, James Hussey, Joel Mahoney, Rhodri Usher (replaced by George Collins), Matthew Lewis (replaced by Alex Gwatkin), Martin Luckwell, Lewis Rosser (replaced by Kyan Best), Lewis Ball (replaced by Ben Parry), Craig Price (replaced by Saul Morris), Gareth Rusby-Davies (replaced by Danny Hodge), Curtis Gregory, Caelan May, Rob Nash (captain, replaced by Llewi McLean), Cameron Watson-Boycott.