Tries by Pat Lewis, Kieran Meek and Rhys Clarke.
Conversion by Kieran Meek.
Tries by Lewys Millin and Jake Newman.
Conversion by Steffan Marshall.
Penalties by Steffan Marshall (3).
Late try agony as brave Pooler suffer first defeat of the season
It was top of the Championship hosting second in the Premiership in the quarter-final of the Specsavers WRU National Cup as Pontypool welcomed Carmarthen Quins to Pontypool Park in what turned out to be a pulsating cup tie in front of the live S4C cameras, writes Ray Ruddick.Pooler took a commanding lead into half time but Quins came more and more into the game throughout the second period.It was heartbreak for the home side in the end with Quins’ winning try coming in the 5th minute of injury time and despite Pooler outscoring their visitors by 3 tries to 2.
Pontypool kicked off, playing in their changed strip of predominantly light blue shirts, attacking the scoreboard end of the ground on a wet and foggy evening.There was drizzle falling throughout the game and the fog got thicker as the game wore on.Pooler struck the first blow as early as the first minute.Pooler won a lineout on their left close to Quins’ 22.The ball went right along the back line from Aaron Quick to Richard Powell to Kieran Meek who fed Jordan Thomas, coming in off his left wing, to Geraint Walsh to Lloyd Lewis.The young winger did well to get his pass, whilst off-balance, to Pat Lewis and the centre scored a try, 5 metres in from the right corner.The conversion went wide (5-0).Five minutes later Pooler’s full back Geraint Walsh put in a high up-and-under and Jordan Thomas, who was making his 50th league and WRU Cup appearance for Pooler, fielded the kick between the visitors’ 10-metre line and 22.He made ground and as he got tackled he fed the supporting Kieran Meek and the centre dived over for an unconverted try in the left corner (10-0).
Midway through the first half Pooler were penalised for not releasing in the tackle on their 22 in front of the posts and visiting outside half Steffan Marshall reduced the deficit with a successful shot at goal (10-3).Three minutes later Pooler were guilty of holding on near their 10-metre line to the left of the posts and Marshall slotted the goal (10-6).On the half hour home outside half Richard Powell kicked the ball deep into Quins’ 22 and Rhys Clarke, who did well to chase the kick, charged down the attempted relieving kick.The ball stopped just short of the visitors’ goal line near the touchline and Clarke picked up and dived over to score a try in the right corner.This score was converted by Kieran Meek.Half time score – Pontypool 17 Carmarthen Quins 6.
Carmarthen Quins started the second half well and in the 46th minute were on the attack in the home 22.The ball went right and Quins created an overlap for number eight Lewys Millin to score a try to the right of the posts.Steffan Marshall converted (17-13).In the 58th minute Pooler conceded a penalty for tackling a player without the ball inside their 22 and 15 metres in from their left touchline.Steffan Marshall kicked the penalty bring his side to within one point of their hosts (17-16).Pooler then made changes with hooker Darren Hughes, second row Curtis Gregory and flanker Adam Stratton making way for Lewis Ball, Ben Sparks and Mike Herbert respectively.Carmarthen Quins’ hooker Torin Myhill was injured in a tackle and was replaced by Shaun Evans.A short time later Quins made a couple more changes when tight head prop Ben Leung made way for Connor Allen and flanker Shaun Jones was replaced by Lawrence Reynolds.
In the 77th minute Quins were guilty of holding on near their 10-metre line to the left of the posts but the shot at goal struck the outside of the left post.Then Rhys Clarke, who had taken a knock a little earlier, left the field and he was replaced by Scott Evans.James Newnian took over from Ollie Evans at loose head for the visitors.On 80 minutes Quins were again penalised inside their 22 on Pooler’s right but the attempt at goal was off target.In the 82nd minute Pooler made a couple more changes - Owain Leonard replaced Aaron Quick at scrum half and Richard Powell was replaced by Amosa Nove.
Then in the 85th minute, Carmarthen Quins struck the hammer blow when left wing Jake Newman scored the all-important try, following a kick to the left corner as Quins went into the lead for the first time in the match.The try went unconverted (17-21).There were still about three minutes left for Pooler to try to come back but it wasn’t to be, so congratulations to Carmarthen Quins who progress to the semi-finals where they join Aberavon, Cardiff and Merthyr.
This was a good cup tie played in difficult conditions with two evenly matched teams going toe-to-toe.It was a brave performance by Pooler against the form team in Wales at the moment, but perhaps they need to look at their discipline as, with the penalty count 14-6 against them, they gave away many penalties, particularly in the first half, which kept Quins in the game.All the Pomtypool players should be very proud of this wholehearted and totally committed showing.They were ably supported by the Pooler contingent in the sizeable crowd, who were in fine voice.
However, Pontypool can now concentrate on their main aim, and that is to gain promotion from the Championship to the Premiership at the end of this season. With that in mind, then Friday’s re-arranged game against Bedwas at Pontypool Park, kick-off 7.15pm, is vital in Pooler’s quest for a fourth successive Championship title.
Pontypool: Geraint Walsh, Lloyd Lewis, Pat Lewis, Kieran Meek, Jordan Thomas, Richard Powell (replaced by Amosa Nove), Aaron Quick (replaced by Owain Leonard), Aaron Coundley, Darren Hughes (replaced by Lewis Ball), Craig Price, Curtis Gregory (replaced by Ben Sparks), Rhys Clarke (replaced by Scott Evans), Scott Matthews (captain), Adam Stratton (replaced by Mike Herbert) and Ieuan Jones. Unused replacements: Sam Cochrane and Lewis Barnett.
Carmarthen Quins: Leon Randell, Dale Ford, Nic Reynolds, Josh Batcup, Jake Newman, Steffan Marshall, Declan Smith, Ollie Evans (replaced by James Newnian), Torin Myhill (replaced by Shaun Evans), Ben Leung (replaced by Connor Allen), Lee Taylor, Haydn Pugh (captain), Shaun Jones (replaced by Lawrence Reynolds), Ed Siggery and Lewys Millin. Unused replacements: Ryan Bean, Aron Hemmings, Jac Wilson and Geraint Llewellyn.
Assistant Referees: Mr Ben Whitehouse (Gorseinon) and Mr Stuart Kibble (Cardiff)
Television Match Official: Mr Tim Hayes